So much activity!

So many new people and so many new posts and I think it’s awesome. That is all.

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Agreed. Amazing to see (says someone who’s been here for only a month and a half :slight_smile:).

Seriously though, it is amazing to see people getting engaged in astronomy. That post from the student who had made his own ML algorithm to find lens was so lovely to see. I say this because it’s amazing to have more people interested in astronomy and physics in general but also because it’s amazing to find a passion and amazing to see people find a passion. I am 16 so I still have a fair bit of time to go before university but finding an area you are passionate about is just amazing. For me, astronomy represents the beauty on the largest orders of magnitude and condmat/materials represents beauty on a much smaller scale. The more people you can draw into physics and astronomy the better; not only is it heartening to see people find a passion but it helps to fuel research and understanding.

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For me personally it is the best position to NOT be an astronomer, I can search for whatever I like whenever I like, shoot in outrageous directions with possiblities & conclusions etc. But I don’t have do anything besides that, no funding, meanwhile slowly learning things perhaps slightly above my level and just enjoying it all with an open mind. Pros and cons to everything I guess :slight_smile: But yeah it’s good to see so much passion and activity

True, but an interest and learning to make these outrageous guesses is the fun.

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I follow Mike Brown on Twitter and I enjoy watching his talks on YT. In one of his videos he described how he “had to” focus on planetary astronomy with a specific focus on the Milky Way. I suppose like any scientific pursuit, specialization is the name of the game but that seems so limiting when one considers how vast the array of possible astronomical pursuits is.

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True. I think that cooperation and a broader knowledge of science is always advantageous. I feel that science should be taught holistically rather than these strict specialisation routes.

For example, weirdly no-one knows the mechanism of action of anaesthesia. Yes, you go unconscious but no one knows what is happening. You would assume that this is some usual biological “lock and key” thing where the molecule goes into a receptor and then you go to sleep but it can’t be. Your anaesthetic ranges from 1 atom (xenon) to molecules with hundreds of atoms.

However recently, people have begun to realise that a lot of biology isn’t chemistry or biology but physics, including quantum physics. A recent study shed light on how anaesthetics might work by analysing the spin of electrons in a key part of the Krebs cycle (how respiration works). At one stage in this cycle, a reaction takes place that shouldn’t due to spin conservation but does as the spins of the electrons are polarised. However, with an anaesthetic in there, these spin polarised electrons get depolarised by the anaesthetic leading to a marked decrease in rate of respiration. So one of the weirdest biology problems ever was solved by a quantum physicist, an electrochemist, a biochemist and a quantum biologist.

Every time disciplines work together and a wider knowledge of a field is had, you get better results. Off the top of my head an AI programmer proved some set theory conjecture recently by realising he could use an information theory technique he learnt. Novel approaches always inspire novel solutions.

Essay over. Sorry - just a belief of mine :slight_smile:

You seem like you are 16 going on 35! Very interesting post and thanks for the links.

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Only-child syndrome I believe - being mature becomes a given when you mostly interact with adults outside school :slight_smile:

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