Jane

How does an astronomer break into data science? Interview with Dr. Andrea Leistra

by Jane January 29, 2014

Data Science is a rapidly growing field, with natural opportunities for astronomers moving to industry.  Recently, we’ve heard from  Jessica Kirkpatrick about becoming a data scientist at Microsoft: part 1 and part 2.  We’ve also heard from Stephanie Gogarten on switching to biostatistics at UW. Let’s pick up where Jess and Stephanie left off, and [...]

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How to improve the winter AAS meeting? (2014 edition)

by Jane January 15, 2014

We’ve had a week to recover from the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).  Let’s talk about what we thought worked, what didn’t and how we can improve the “Super Bowl of Astronomy”?   (Last year’s discussion got 57 comments; this is a topic our community feels strongly about.) What did our Society do [...]

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Advice for Applying to Grad School in Astronomy?

by Jane November 4, 2013

On the AstroBetter Wiki, we’ve compiled advice about grad school in astronomy. What should a student know when deciding whether to apply? Where should she apply? What should she ask when visiting? We link to several informative pages, including my “So you want to go to grad school in astronomy?” page. There is also the [...]

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Learning to Accept Rejection, the Likely Outcome for Most of our Proposals

by Jane October 28, 2013

The other day a postdoc told me that his big telescope proposal was rejected. He’d also gotten a rejection letter for a scientific fellowship he’d applied for.* He seemed really bummed out. I felt bad for him — rejection is a bummer. As a co-I on the proposal and one of his letter-writers, I was [...]

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How to improve the AAS meeting?

by Jane January 11, 2013

Two thousand astronomers are dragging themselves home from an exciting but exhausting 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Long Beach.  After we’ve gotten a good night’s sleep and some strong coffee, how about we discuss what we thought worked, what didn’t and how we can improve the “Super Bowl of Astronomy”?   [...]

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Remote display in python? [Ask Astrobetter]

by Jane December 31, 2012

The question:  “How can I remotely display python graphics windows?” The backstory:  I’m gotten used to the nifty interactive graphics of matplotlib in ipython.  But here it is New Year’s Eve and I’m working from home.  I need to ssh in to my desktop, run python, and remotely display the python graphics windows to my [...]

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Practicing for phone interviews

by Jane August 8, 2012

Let’s talk about phone interviews. Whether you’re to be interviewed by a reporter about your recent press release or by a prospective employer, you can employ the same preparation strategy. I learned this strategy in a media training class*, so I’ll talk first about media interviews, then how to adapt the method for job interviews. Here’s [...]

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What discoveries are worthy of a press release? [Ask Astrobetter]

by Jane August 1, 2012

What sorts of discoveries do y’all think are worth writing a press release? Sometimes it’s obvious — an earth-mass planet in the habitable zone with spectral signatures of water and chlorine (sorry, watching too much Olympic swimming). But what about most of the time? What rises to the level of a press release? Just pretty [...]

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Tools to write collaboratively

by Jane May 7, 2012

In a previous post, we discussed the benefits of collaboratively writing papers and proposals. Now, let’s talk tools to help you write collaboratively. This proposal season, I experimented with several different tools, and dragged my collaborators into the experiment. I tested out Google Docs (Kelle’s review),ScribTeX (Jane’s review), and Dropbox (Kelle’s review). There’s also ShareLaTeX, which I haven’t tried yet (Has anybody?  [...]

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Why write collaboratively?

by Jane April 9, 2012

Let’s talk about how we write. The primary output of astronomers are papers and proposals — we have to obtain data & money, publish results, and repeat.  Here, I’m going to argue that we should write some of those words more collaboratively. Our default method of writing was invented when colleagues communicated by postal mail with [...]

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