Thursday 16 June 2011

IAS2011 — Day #4

Fourth day of the 'I'm a Scientist – Get me out of here!' event.

There was only one 'live chat' today, but it was the best one we've had so far. There weren't quite as many students as usual, and I think that they (like the scientists) have calmed down a bit and are now starting to get more out of the sessions.

For instance, instead of a random barrage of questions, that are completely unrelated to each other, the themes tended to follow topics and explore them more fully. For example, one line of questioning was about how near and far a radio receiver can see, then they started asking about why was there a lower limit and what do you actually see at those heights. That led on to radars and how you can use them study the atmosphere and the to aurorae and so on.

Furthermore, we (the scientists) were able to then pass questions on to each other, letting a biologist pick up the thread when a 'So, what would be the impact on a person?' and vice versa when something more 'physics-related' came the other way.

After the session, one of the moderators, a couple of the other scientists and myself talked things through and we all agreed that the it had been a good day and that after the initial excitement, it had now turned into a genuinely productive learning environment (both for the students and for us!). We also noted how a degree of camaraderie was building up in the 'sci-team' and a great rapport with the moderators who are keeping things running smoothly. It is a good feeling.

Of course we are still ploughing through the questions. One thing I'd like would be a word-count done on the answers!

But of course, we are almost through the first week. Students will start voting soon. I perused some of their profiles to see if any were on my side yet.

So far?

Just the one (well, at least that I could find). Obviously, they are biding their time, or holding back so as not to discourage the other scientists? Or maybe I've got a LOT of catching up to do? No surprise there. The others on Team-Chromium are definitely inspirational.

The web site is and @imascientist on Twitter (search for #ias2011).

And my top question for Day #4 (posted by "hassan") was: 'i can see you don't get very much free time at all during the day, what is it about your work that keeps you working at the pace you do?'

Well, I did post an answer. But I forgot the mention the coffee... with just a reaaaallly teeny amount of sugar! ;-)

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