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Magnetic Fields in the Universe - Aug 19, 2009 at 3:58PM
50 Posts

Sadly, the IAU conference in Rio de Janeiro is now over.  I'm about to head home to Wisconsin and start my second year of graduate school.  In addition to learning all kinda of cool science, I realized how lucky we are as astronomers to be part of such an international community.  We get to travel all over the world to meet new people, make new friends, and learn about the universe in a beautiful international city.  These conferences are certainly just as important for networking as they are for attending talks and looking at posters.  

The joint discussion on magnetic fields that I was apart of was extremely interesting.  It was composed of observers and theorist all working on studying the role magnetic fields play in molecular clouds and galaxies as well as  studying the magnetic fields that penetrate the inter cluster medium to even more exotic phenomena such as magnetic reconnection.  I presented two posters on statistical studies of finding characterizing parameters of magnetohydrodyanmic turbulence in the interstellar medium.  I apply these statistics on simulated data and then on observational data and compare to estimate sonic and Alfven (magnetic field parameter)  Mach numbers.  So for me, interactions with both theorist and observers are critical since my research connects both.  

Astronomy is a very small community with less then 10,000 astronomers world wide.  Physics is much larger, but subfields can be even smaller.  If you get a chance to go to one of these international conferences ...go!  The NSF and other funding agencies in your subfield may provide very generous funding to attend these conferences.   My plane ticket was paid for by the American Astronomical Society and the IAU gave me money on top of that.  I highly encourage everyone to attend conferences to make more connections in your field and meet future collaborators.  It is a really valuable career experience an also a hell of a lot of fun!


In front of one of my posters at IAU in Rio de Janeiro

Post edited August 19, 2009 at 4:00 PM EST.

Post edited August 19, 2009 at 4:01 PM EST.

Replies to Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Re: Magnetic Fields in the Universe - Aug 24 2009 4:54PM
Society of Physics...
293 Posts

Wow that was interesting reading...thanks for submitting...did you get to go hang-gliding?

Was it tough at Lousiville being one of only a few females in physics? I've often been struck how much more gender-balanced astronomy meetings are than physics meetings, so I was a little surprised by your comments about the international meeting...I have appreciated reading Meg Urry's take on some of these things... http://www.scientificblogging.com/scientific_notation/women_in_science_professor_meg_urry_on_why_there_are_so_few_women_in_physics

Adjunct Professor of Physics, Editor of The Physics Teacher, and GWU SPS Chapter Advisor

Re: Re: Magnetic Fields in the Universe - Aug 24 2009 5:08PM
Alan Brown
1 Posts

The link helps really.. Let us know more when u come across....

Finding the Perfect Glass Coffee Tables

Re: Re: Magnetic Fields in the Universe - Sep 03 2009 6:36PM
50 Posts

That was a great article!  Thanks for sharing... I will pass it on.

It was a bit tough being one of the only girls at Louisville....but I had  overall a very positive experience there.  It was a great place to do undergraduate physics!

I was also surprised to learn all this about astronomy...but I'm confident that over time things will improve.  I think Meg Urry really hit home one of the biggest issues for women doing phyiscs....the issue of when to have a family.  Most men don't ever worry about this...they expect it to happen if they want it.  But women know that most of the burdens will fall on them.  How to make physics more 'family friendly' should be a main topic of discussion when it comes to gender issues in the field.


I totally got to go hangliding!  It was amazing!

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