2008 March 27
Good day today. Felt like I got a lot done.
In the morning, a group of fifth graders came to visit the department. I had volunteered to do an activity with them, so I ended up giving a half-hour spiel about extrasolar planets to a couple of groups of kids. I had worried that I was a bit underprepared for it, but it seemed to go pretty well. You always kind of imagine students paying rapt attention and being super excited, and it wasn’t quite that, but they seemed pretty interested and I got a few encouraging comments from them. Apparently I was also able to make up a pretty good off-the-cuff explanation for why the moon is tidally locked. They actually had some really good questions — I think it’s kind of a reminder of how much we drum love of learning out of kids by the end of high school. Strangely, they seemed totally unexcited by the prospect of life on other planets. I had been banking on that being a big topic of conversation, but they hardly bit on it.
After that, I finished some reading and preparation for the next Planet Formation class. I’m pretty sure that it’s next Friday, not tomorrow, but I’m not 100% sure and it wasn’t going to take too long to finish everything, so I decided to knock it off the to-do list.
Finally I put together some plots for Geoff showing different fits to hypothetical galaxy spectra, with the intention to figure out if we could distinguish different kinds of spectra. We’ll get in touch with Eliot about this stuff to try to pick out the sources we’ll use for the next round of observations. This was mostly not-so-interesting meta-science (making supporting plots, writing emails to people) but I’ve been meaning to do it all week, so it was good to take care of that too.