Trapped in the Thesiverse

In March I will begin working at Oxford University, as a postdoctoral researcher in citizen science. The ‘post’-doctoral part of that title means that I must submit my PhD thesis by the end of this month. Eek! It has been on the boil for some time now, and I’m pleased to say that next week I intend to take it off the boil and begin letting it cool on the windowsill before handing it over  at the end of the month.

Whilst I have been trapped in the thesiverse, I have been diligently attempting to ignore all my other projects – but they keep moving along. Whilst Avalon sits behind me in a playpen saying “ba ba” to several bears – and offering the dog a squeeky toy – I thought I would try and write a quick update on some of the projects I intend to resume with whatever free time I find myself with after submission.


Earlier this week, we had a meeting of the .Astronomy team to discuss the third .Astronomy workshop. It was very exciting with lots of possibilities for locations and dates discussed. We also caught up on some of the projects created and advanced at the Leiden meeting.

A big question that came up – and one I am still mulling over – is that of the nature of .Astronomy. What exactly is it, and how do I know it when i see it? I tend to use it as a descriptive term now (e.g. “ah yes, that is very .astronomy”) but I think it is time to figure out why. This question being raised, and serious discussions of sponsors and venues for a 2010/2011 event leave me feeling very proud. .Astronomy has clearly demonstrated that it is worthy of continuation and expansion.

I can’t wait to get back into a more fully-engaged mode with the whole project. I am extremely glad to have the whole team working with me, and letting me focus on my thesis in recent months. Thanks guys and gals!

365 Days of Astronomy

365 (as people seem to call it) is expanding into 2010 and the days are filling up fast. More sponsorships are needed and I fully intend to dive headlong into comment moderation and posting when I finish the thesis. Another thing that I want to do – and any of you could also do this – is create some backup podcast episodes for 365. When scheduled contributors don’t appear or cancel it is useful to have a bank of backup episodes ready to go.


Exploring the universe in multiple wavelengths is a lot of fun but I’ve had so litle time to offer this project recently, I’m starting to feel very guilty. We’ve recently added Gamma Ray to the site, from Fermi, and I am slowly compiling a massive UV map, using GALEX. Stuart has been chipping away at new Chromoscope features (such as language support, and making Chromoscope embeddable) and there is talk of an iPhone app in the near future.

Everything Else

There are also my Tweprints and OverTwitter projects which both have potential, large-scale alterations to be made. I shan’t go into details here but maybe these are things I could work on at the next .Astronomy meeting. There is also a cool new project that came out of .Astronomy (I’m currently calling it Zombie) which I really want to get my hands dirty with. Like all the others though, it will have to wait.

The Thesiverse is a large and expanding, multi-dimensional reality. Time is quite variable there too. Next week I am relieved of childcare duties to make a final push at finishing the beast, so wish me luck. Hopefully I shall find my way to a singularity and pop out into your realm once more. Oh dear, Avalon is now trying to get the dog into the playpen so I must go. See you on the other side!


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