dotastronomy, day 3

The day started with the reporting back of results from the Hack Day. There were many extremely impressive hacks. The stand-outs for me—and this is a very incomplete list—were the following: Angus and Foreman-Mackey delivered two Kepler sonification hacks. In the first, they put Kepler lightcurves into an online sequencer so the user can build rhythms out of noises made by the stars. In the second, they reconstructed a pop song (Rick Astley, of course) using lightcurves as fundamental basis vectors. This just absolutely rocked. Along similar lines, Sascha Ishikawa (Adler) made a rockin' club hit out of Kepler lightcurves. Iva Momcheva did a very nice analysis of NASA ADS to learn things about who drops out of astronomy post-PhD, and when. This was a serious piece of stats and visualization work, executed in one day. Jonathan Fay (Microsoft) implemented the Astrometry.net API to get amateur photographs incorporated into World-Wide Telescope. Jonathan Sick (Queens) and Adam Becker (freelance) built tools to make context-rich bibliographic and citation information that could be used to build better network analysis of the literature. Stuart Lynn (Adler) augmented HTML with tags that are appropriate for fine-grained markup for scientific publications, with the goal of making responsive design for the scientific literature while preserving scholarly information and referencing. Hanno Rein (Toronto) built a realistic three-dimensional mobile-platform fly-through system for the HST 3D survey.

After these hacks, there were some great talks. The highlights for me included Laura Whyte (Adler) talking about their incredibly rich and deep programs for getting girls and under-represented groups to come in and engage deeply at Adler. Amazingly well thought out and executed. Stefano Meschiari (UT) blew us away with a discussion of astronomy games, including especially "minimum viable games" like Super Planet Crash, which is just very addictive. He has many new projects and funding to boot. He had thoughtful things to say about how games interact with educational goals.

Unconference proceeded in the afternoon, but I spent time recuperating, and discussing data analysis with Kelle Cruz (CUNY) and Foreman-Mackey.

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