AAS, Day 1

Posted by barb on Jan 5, 2004 in Random Thoughts |

Today was the first “real” day of the conference (yesterday they had registration and a reception in the evening). I got to the booth around 8:30 AM, though things didn’t really pick up until the first morning break at 9:20 AM. There was a lot of activity at that point.

One guy came by asking about the GRB catalog I’ve worked on — sent to me by JD from the Swift GRB mission booth. He had apparently worked with a group that had worked to compile a small GRB catalog covering the time of operation of one of the neutrino detectors. They had concentrated on the BATSE bursts, since the information available was fairly uniform for all of those bursts. I confirmed what they found when they started looking at other catalogs — it’s hard. Converting the various fluxes and fluences from one mission to another requires different equations/methods from instrument to instrument (and may depend on model, in the case of flux).

While doing my own circuit of the booths, I found some information on Project-ASTRO. I had volunteered with PA when they started it up in New Mexico. I’d been hoping to find a PA in the DC area, but there isn’t one. I asked her about this, and part of the challenge is that they no longer have funding to start new locations. So, to get PA started in DC there would have to be someone interested who could ferret out funding from somewhere (NASA IDEAS proposal was one of her suggestions). This is something I’d love to get involved in, but it’s just not the right time. As a half-time grad student, it would be difficult for me to give PA the attention it would require, especially in the start-up phase. Maybe in a few years, after I graduate. I, unfortunately, can’t remember the woman’s name, but hopefully she will e-mail me, becuase she was also interested in the state of Con-X’s EPO program (which will hopefully get started in a year or so, and hopefully I’ll be involved with it). She also offered to be an EPO resource.

There were lots of undergrads meandering about. I talked with a few of them about the work I’ve been doing, and asking about what they might be interested in as far as research. A couple mentioned that they had been thinking about UMD, and even though I’m not the world’s happiest camper at UMD, I did talk the place up, especially considering what their interests were.

I also found a woman who was in much the same school boat as I was in. She had started as a music theory major, and wound up in astrophysics. We comiserated a bit about how none of the credits overlapped, and how far behind it put us. She’s just at the point of considering grad school, but it sounded like she was going to take some time off. I told her about my experience, and applauded her foresight.

I released Contact in the ladies bathroom, and it had disappeared by the time I returned. Now to see if the person who picked it up registers the book.

Called Jim and Maggie — we’re going to try to get together Wednesday evening, unless there is a play at the Shakespeare tavern Thursday night.

I miss Andrew. And I miss our cats. And I miss our bed and our house.

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