I think I’ve heard every single one of these quotes at some point during my astro career. Great job, .astronomy 4 Hackers!
“S*** Astronomers Say” by the “.astronomy 4 Hack Day” group.
I know these kinds of videos are rather overdone, but for those interested in an career in Astronomy, you’d be wise to pay attention to what you’ll be hearing day in, day out!
- IDL is a coding language used by astronomers (and climate scientists). More astronomers are moving onto another language called Python nowadays. FORTRAN 77 is an old version of the coding language FORTRAN; many people still know these old versions because they had to run and edit codes their supervisors edited that their supervisors edited written by their supervisors… and so on and so forth.
- Many (but by no means all!) astronomers use UNIX based operating systems like LINUX and Mac OS’s instead of Windows because they find them easier to code with, leading to distaste for Microsoft products. Apart from Powerpoint it seems.
- A common thing to hear is that ‘50% of all results in Nature [a top scientific journal] are sensationalist/wrong’. Is it true? I’m not sure yet, but usually whoever says it is trying to be witty so maybe they’re exaggerating to make themselves feel better about not getting their paper in the journal ;).
- MCMC, or the Markov Chain Monte Carlo method, is a way to solve a system of equations to find the best solution. It’s a bit complicated but what this video is getting at is that it’s treated like a magic solution at times and is really popular to use at the moment.
- “What time is it in Chile?” Many astronomers have collaborators all around the world, so they will have teleconferences and email each other all the time. If you want and answer from someone today, you better find out what time it is in whatever country they are first!
- “Has anyone got a dongle?” A LOT of astronomers have macbooks (and other Apple products) and have to give presentations. With that comes the issue of needing a dongle to connect to a projector and no one ever brings their dongle to conferences!
- “Hawai’i/Australia/Chile/South Africa again?” These are where all the big telescopes are, and astronomers get a lot of travelling done covering observing shifts. So much so the travelling can seem like a chore at times for some people!
- “Rumormill” is where people post up information regarding jobs in astronomy and who got what offer. Postdocs and graduating PhDs especially are attached to the site.
- Astronomers are astronomers, not business people, and are on the whole only okay at writing and performing presentations! Someone invariably falls asleep, and common and soul/research-destroying questions get asked at the end.
- “Segmentation faults” are computational errors that are notoriously difficult to debug.
- Bayesian/frequentist are two different ways of understanding statistics (you probably learnt frequentist stats in school).
- Astro-ph is a site where all new papers in astronomy (and physics) are posted as a free alternative to journals. Usually people wait until their paper is accepted into a journal before posting to astro-ph.
I hope that helps people!