exploration vs exploitation

I met with Lauren Anderson (Flatiron) first-thing to figure out how we can munge our hacky #GaiaSprint projects into real and cutting-edge measurements of the Milky Way. We looked at the VVV infrared survey because it ought to be better than 2MASS for mapping the inner disk and bulge. We looked at using SDSS photometry to map the halo. On the latter, the dust modeling is far simpler, because for distant stars, the dust is just a screen, not an interspersed three-dimensional field. We also discussed the ever-present issue for a postdoc (or any scientist): How much time should you spend exploiting things you already know, and how much exploring new things you want to learn?

In the morning I also discussed the construction of (sparse) interpolation operators and their derivatives with Megan Bedell (Flatiron).

At lunch, Yacine Ali-Haimoud (NYU) gave a great brown-bag talk on the possibility that black holes make up the dark matter. He showed that there are various different bounds, all of which depend on rich astrophysical models. In the end, constraints from small-scale clustering rule it out (he thinks). Matt Kleban (NYU) and I argued that the primordial black holes could easily be formed in some kind of glass that has way sub-Poisson local power. Not sure if that's true!

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