I have just returned from the four-day visit to the April meeting of the APS (American Physical Society) – a big meeting where physicists from many field come together, share the scientific news, take political stances and discuss the evolution of the profession. I was presenting our latest results on the three-dimensional Lyman-alpha forest and did so twice: on Sunday morning to the press and on Sunday afternoon to the scientists.
In the morning press conference me and two other hopefuls were showing our results to some fifteen journalists. It is an interesting exercise as you try to make your science appear as interesting and exciting as possible, while at the same time avoid making it neither too unintelligible nor overly dumbed down. Ultimately, the biggest problem is that what makes scientists tick is not what makes a good story. Although they looked suspiciously sleepy to me while I was waving my hands vigorously, we did a good job as you can read via Google News .
The afternoon talk was given to a bunch of physicists, which, however, were not astronomers. This was hard in a different way: I had to make a valid scientific argument about why what we did is interesting and important to an audience who understand physics, but are not experts in the cosmology. I had a good impression, but alas, one cannot browse the web to see what impact did I impress onto those guys and gals.
Words by Anže Slozar , lead author on the recent analysis of the lyman-alpha forest clustering seen in the quasar spectra from BOSS. Anže presented his results to both the press and fellow physicists, and the SDSS-III press release can be found on the main SDSS-III website
If you want to see more of Anže, then check out his youtube video