July 2013

Options for Saving in Python

by Jessica Lu July 29, 2013

Question:  What is the best way to store data that is easily readable and writable in Python? Answer: There isn’t a single correct answer as it will largely depend on how large your data set is, how fast you have to read/write it, and whether it needs to be readable by other applications or languages. […]


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Grad School Blues

by Jess K July 26, 2013

A few years back UC Berkeley did a study of the mental health of graduate students. The results were quite astounding. The study found that 67% of graduate students said they had felt hopeless at least once in the last year; 54% felt so depressed they had a hard time functioning; and nearly 10% said […]


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What was your REU experience?

by Guest July 24, 2013

This is a joint post between Astrobetter and Astrobites.  Nathan Sanders is a graduate student in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, and an author for Astrobites.  If I walk up and down the hallway of graduate student offices in my building and ask a dozen of my classmates to tell me how they […]


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ADS: How to find author names and affiliations

by Guest July 22, 2013

This is a guest post by Alessondra Springmann. The original article can be found here. The astronomy and planetary science communities have a fantastic tool for finding scientific papers previously published: the Astrophysics Data System, or ADS, supported by NASA and run out of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  The main feature I use is […]


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Better diagrams for your presentations

by Chris Crockett July 17, 2013

Sick of dull, uninformative diagrams on your slides? We’ve added a link to our Presentations Wiki on how to make your diagrams more understandable, efficient, and pleasant. If you remember nothing else, keep this in mind: simplify! Already taken a stab at simplifying? Do it again! And don’t forget, if you have any presentation resources that […]

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Ureka! – A new easy-to-install IRAF + PyRAF distribution from STScI and Gemini

by Guest July 15, 2013

This is a guest post by Christine Slocum, a software engineer at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), on behalf of the Ureka team. Last month, STScI and Gemini announced the first public beta release of the Ureka binary installer for common astronomical software (primarily for the UV/Optical/IR community). The goals of the Ureka installer are […]


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A call for open access to all data used in AJ and ApJ articles

by Kelle July 10, 2013

I don’t fully understand it, but I know the Astronomical Journal (AJ) and Astrophysical Journal (ApJ) are different than many other journals: They are run by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and not by a for-profit publisher. That means that the AAS Council and the members (the people actually producing and reading the science) have […]


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The Inside Scoop on NSF Review Panels

by Guest July 8, 2013

This is a guest post by an anonymous contributor. There has been a lot of talk recently about the effect that sequester cuts have had on the funding situation in astronomy (and science in general).  Our field depends greatly on federal grant money (jobs! job! jobs!) and the pot is shrinking.  This means that every […]


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How and when to say “no”

by Chris Crockett July 5, 2013

Struggling with too many commitments? You might want to try a powerful and simple time management technique: saying “no”. In this post at GradHacker, Stephanie Hedge offers a list of questions you should ask yourself before before jumping into that next committee:  When someone comes to me asking for a favor, or looking for help […]


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Strategies for improving diversity in the physical sciences

by Chris Crockett July 3, 2013

Despite a variety of efforts at all levels, minority representation in the sciences remains stagnant.  This was one of the take-home-messages at the (relatively) recent American Institute of Physics (AIP) annual Assembly of Society Officers. The assembly is an opportunity for member organizations (e.g., AAS) to come together and discuss common issues of concern. The […]


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