lecture4 - Careers in Astronomy Juhan Frank PhD 1978 At LSU...

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Unformatted text preview: Careers in Astronomy Juhan Frank PhD 1978 At LSU since 1990 What skills do astronomers need? Astronomers need to be good at physics and math; that's what they do! Don't fall into the trap of thinking that astronomy is one of the "easier" sciences! Astronomers work a lot with computers so good computer and programming skills are helpful. Some astronomers build their own instruments, so they learn about electronics, materials fabrication,and machining, and other skills. Astronomers need good teaching skills as well, since they teach as much as they learn. They also need good writing skills so they can write grant proposals to get money and telescope time for their projects, and they share their research by writing articles for journals. They must have good communications skills as well. Very few papers in journals have just one author, since astronomers generally work in teams with various colleagues, so they need to be able to share information and get along with different people. http://curious.astro.cornell.edu / What are the different kinds of astronomers and what do they do? There are a couple different ways to classify astronomy jobs. The simplest is "observationalist" or "theorist". Observationalists take data with telescopes or spacecraft and then explain what it means. Theorists use physics to make computer models or simulations of things in the universe. However, many times this isn't a clear distinction since observationalists use physics theories to explain their data, and theorist models have to match observations. Another way to classify astronomers is by subject specialty. For example, I'm a planetary scientist; I study planets and moons. Other astronomers include stellar astronomers (study stars), solar astronomers (the sun), galactic astronomers (study the galaxy), extragalactic astronomers (who study all different galaxies and the structure of the universe) or cosmologists (study the origin and evolution of the universe). Your specialty can also be in the use of a specific telescope type, for example, there are radio astronomers who study many different objects with radio telescopes. There are also instrumentationalists who specialize in building new equipment. Sometimes you'll be multiple things, like an extragalactic astronomer and cosmologist, or a planetary scientist who builds new instruments. There aren't really clear-cut distinctions here either, but these kinds of classifications are generally what astronomers will respond with when you ask them "What kind of astronomer are you?" If I became an astronomer, what kind of a job would I get? After getting their doctoral degree, most astronomers take a number of short term jobs called "postdocs" which last a two years or so each. During this time, they're doing research and publishing papers to establish themselves....
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lecture4 - Careers in Astronomy Juhan Frank PhD 1978 At LSU...

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