my heroes at Cornell

I gave the MacConochie lecture at Cornell Astronomy today. I spoke about The Cannon. At the start of my talk, I thanked Tom Loredo (Cornell) for starting the consideration of principled inference in astronomy that has been so ascendent (and so influential in my own work), and Paul Ginsparg (Cornell) for starting the arXiv, which may be the most important development in physics in my lifetime! I had the pleasure of dinner with Loredo and will meet Ginsparg tomorrow.

In my day of meeting with people, the most fun was had with the graduate students, who fed me pizza and talked about their work. The range of activities is extremely wide at Cornell, with a range from the high-redshift universe to near-Earth asteroids. I raised the question: Is radar ranging of asteroids really “astronomy”? The reason I ask is: It is not a passive collection of photons (or cosmic rays or neutrinos or gravitational waves); it is an actively controlled scattering experiment!

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