coffee, objectives in calibration

At MPIA Galaxy Coffee, Schmidt (UCSB) showed resolved spectroscopy of some highly magnified high-redshift galaxies to look for spatial variations of metallicity. Beautiful data! He also talked about the photon density at high redshift and the implications for reionization. McConnell (Hawaii) spoke about the need for more good black-hole mass determinations. He (inadvertently perhaps) showed that the BH-sigma (velocity dispersion) relation could easily have zero scatter, when you consider the uncertainties in both directions and the possibility that the sigma uncertainties are under-estimated. In general it is very hard to get a sigma on a sigma! Filed away for future thinking.

In the afternoon, I spoke with Wang, Schölkopf, Foreman-Mackey about Kepler calibration. We tentatively decided to make exoplanet discovery our primary objective. An objective is required, because we can set our "hyper-parameters" (our choices about model and model complexity) to optimize anything from exoplanet discovery to exoplanet characterization to stellar rotation determination. I am still worried about the flexibility of our models.

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