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“Science” in The Astronomy Book

Monday, May 28th, 2012

My personal feeling is that religion is incompatible with science, but there have certainly been religious scientists capable of doing good science.  People compartmentalize and turn off their critical brains when it comes to certain topics.  I don’t see the difference between being critical about astrology and being critical about any supernatural claims.  Still, a […]

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We Limit Ourselves and Need to Stop

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I was watching Stephen Colbert interview Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works. He said something that was very powerful for me, that everyone is creative. It’s one of our species’ better qualities. Lehrer amplified this statement by describing how nearly all second graders describe themselves as creative, but this fraction drops dramatically with […]

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Ten Tips for Communicating Science to General Audiences

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I think about communicating science to a wide variety of audiences, both as a professor who does research and teaches, but also as a science fiction author.  Knowing your audience is key, and knowing how to reach them better helps tremendously.  A lot of what I say will apply to both non-fiction and fiction, speaking […]

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On Taking Criticism

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Scientists and writers take on a burden few others do (although a few other professions have it as bad or worse).  They accept that in order to have success in their careers, or just to maintain a longterm career, they will experience intense and frequent criticism.  That criticism, when done professionally and with insight, can […]

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Advice for High School Students Interested in Majoring in Astronomy in College

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I made some strategic errors in my career, mostly because I split my energy between engineering and astronomy double majoring when it would have been better to commit to one or the other early.   By most measures, I’ve done fine, now being a tenured professor at the University of Wyoming, with a salary, research, and […]

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Walking on the Moon? Don’t Be Stupid….

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I got an email from a professor I know. I know a lot of professors, and I won’t say who or where, but this should be more broadly known: This past week I helped grade midterm exams for Calculus I…One of the problems involved an astronaut on the lunar surface throwing a rock vertically into […]

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NASA Looking for Innovative Educational Ideas — About Video Games Among Other Things!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Here’s the letter below asking for input (until March 19th). I am particularly thrilled about NASA’s questions and especially the only about video game development (question six). This is a potentially very powerful way of getting at the younger generation before college level. I wish I’d seen this sooner and had more time to participate. […]

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Communicating Science: Know your Audience!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

All of writing hinges on knowing your audience.   This is true of fiction and non fiction, and applies not only to writing, but communication of all kinds from entertainment to education. I’ve been thinking about this a lot after reading Randy Olson’s very interesting and worthwhile book Don’t Be Such a Scientist, which is about […]

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Five Reasons Why People Think They Hate Science (and what to do about it!)

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Now, I don’t expect everyone to love everything that I love, but I do know that everyone loves the results of science even if they don’t readily acknowledge it.   I mean, people love using the internet, driving cars, being warm in the winter, getting medicine when they are sick, all that good stuff.   But even […]

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Why was Snape such a Bad Teacher?!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

WARNING: HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE Spoilers A friend of mine picked up the new Harry Potter movie on DVD and I plan to watch it this week.   I was thinking back to how much I enjoyed the book, but remembered something that nagged the hell out of me when the identity of the […]

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What Would Galileo Teach Today? from Galileo’s Classroom Now Available

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Passing on some news about an educational project I contributed to: Science educators Stephanie Slater (University of Wyoming), Janelle Bailey (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), and Michael Gibbs (Capitol College) have compiled and edited a coherent set of IYA2009 educational materials that provide both content knowledge for classroom teachers and classroom-ready materials suitable for use, […]

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What’s an Astronomy Meeting Like Anyway?

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

So I’ve been talking about being at the International Astronomical Union’s General Assembly in Rio, and mentioned a few things in a Living in Brazil post, but thought I’d say a few things more general about attending an astronomy meeting. Every one is a little different, similar to the way that every science fiction convention […]

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