They say the 20th century explorers were astronauts. The 21st century explorers might be data scientists using unsupervised learning methods to explore big data. In this episode, we learn Alex and computers have a love-hate relationship with authority, Will struggles to introduce his space sound, and Malena tells us she has enough coffee tables.
Today we get to talk about everyone’s favorite problem: too much data and too little time! It’s not yet Halloween, but today’s spooky episode is full of GHOSTs and ASSASNs. Alex shares his recent work applying random forests to create a supernatural catalog and predictor of supernova types, and Will describes a tremendous classification effort to automatically sort variable stars.
This episode takes us into dark notions and oscillating questions! Malena spices rocks that orbit remote places and Will covers his dwarfs with tenderness and instability.
Okay, so none of this is true. But we used machine learning to generate this text! Episode 21 is the first in our three part series covering machine learning methods in astronomy. First up? Neural networks!
Why are power laws so ubiquitous in nature? And how can they teach us about space? In today’s episode, we dive into some classic research results to understand the properties of objects at all scales and sizes. Malena has her head in the (molecular) clouds, Will gets a little peculiar, and Alex takes pulsars for a spin.
Is there extraterrestrial life? Are they on giant glowing planets? Do they listen to Bach? We explore three papers in the field of astrobiology that take concrete, experimental steps toward an answer. "Everything not forbidden is compulsory,” so we speculate wildly about first contact.
We venture far beyond the local universe, outside our subfields, and back in time to look at galaxies when they just formed for the first time. In doing so, we learn Malena’s beagle was a good boy, Alex has a soft spot for dropouts, and Will’s doppelganger is a more prolific publisher.
What does it mean to be a successful astronomer? In our second Beyond episode, we delve into the notion of personal and professional success in the field, and revisit the constant expectation to "publish or perish".
Water, Earth, Fire, Air. Long ago, we thought these substances were the building blocks for everything except Space. Today we know better. In this episode, we scour the furthest reaches of the Cosmos for the Elementals. Will goes with the flow, Malena keeps us grounded, and NASA Intern Ashley Walker and Alex take us over the (Titan) rainbow.
Little rocks rock! We learn from Will and PhD student Tim Holt that home is where the collision is, from Alex that Pluto is cold-hearted, and from Malena that rocks that orbit together, stay together.
This Memorial Day weekend, we're dusting off the baby photos! We discuss how these snapshots of planets, galaxy clusters, and even the Universe itself can help us to understand where we came from and how the Universe evolved.