As a group of us were walking along a path at #scicommcamp, we stumbled upon a gigantic bug! At first, it almost looked like a giant ant, or maybe a bee of some kind. But on closer inspection, it didn't have any wings, and instead had a giant (and creepy-looking) set of chompers. It turns out that it was a Jerusalem cricket!Read More
A neuroscientist at #scicommcamp told us a really interesting fact about the human eye. It's apparently designed in a completely illogical way (at least, it seems so at first glance)! The photoreceptors are in the of the eyeball, with a whole network of nerves on top of them, blocking light from getting to the receptors. So our eyes aren't as sensitive as they could be.Read More
This may seem completely obvious, but I honestly believed that barnacles were just deposits left behind by little critters after they attached to rocks and boats. A marine biologist at this conference explained to me that these little critters are alive, and spend almost their whole lives attached to a surface.Read More
I should start out this post by pointing out that, at the time of writing, I am still in graduate school and have not, in fact, gotten my PhD yet. That being said, I think I can look back at the past 4 and a half years and come up with some sort of kernel of wisdom that might be useful to someone else.Read More
As an astronomer, the question people ask me most often is: “Do aliens exist?” Most people believe that astronomers possess some secret insight into this age-old question that we are simply hiding from the public. In reality, there is no consensus among scientists. Astronomers generally settle into two camps; those who believe that life is extremely rare, and we may be the only intelligent life in the universe, and those who believe that life is common, and the only reason we haven’t heard from E.T. is the vast distance between habitable worlds. Here we examine both arguments.Read More
Inspired at least in part by conversations at ComSciCon 2015, I've decided to start practicing science writing via this blog that I'm relatively certain few people will ever see. I plan to write about any topics that I find interesting, which will mainly include answers to questions 3rd graders ask me during outreach events, or topics that come up over holiday conversations with distant relatives. I hope it's useful to someone! I'll be sure to include lots of visual aids and links to articles for further reading! I'll tweet about it whenever I post something new.