Wednesday, November 25, 2009

astronomy is messy

So says Elizabeth "Libby" Harper-Clark.

The young doctoral student of the department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto presented at the RASC Toronto Centre meeting tonight. She talked about her fascination with star formation out of gas clouds, losing herself in HST images of the Carina Nebula (see the 2007 panorama on APOD), and her on-going efforts to simulate this on a bladed supercomputer.

Fantastic presentation. Clearly dealing with complex things, advanced computer programming (using adaptive meshes), cutting-edge physics, she explained it all in a way that was palatable for everyone in the audience. Like Roberto Abraham, she makes science fun.

And her British roots showed, with references to bits, bobs, naughts, long e sound with ligatures in nebulae and supernovae, etc.

She was animated, passionate, funny. In a word: ebullient.

I wish I had known people like her when I was at university.

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