AAS meeting, now with more astronauts!

Despite having a hour and 20 minute car and Metro commute for a 9am meeting, I had a great day at the American Astronomical Society meeting in DC today!

My 9am meeting was 2 hours long, which wasn’t as horrible as it could have been. Then I went down to find the Fermi booth to drop some stuff off for a friend, and did a little bit of reporting for the podcast. Next it was up to the James Webb Space Telescope town hall meeting, which was pretty interesting. Lots of good status updates on all the parts of the satellite – it’s really fun to see it all coming together.
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Then I headed back down to the Fermi booth and John, Don and I went to lunch.
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One of my BFF’s from college, Eric, was able to join us!
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After lunch I didn’t have any more commitments, so I hung out with Don, John, and a different Eric at the Fermi booth, I went around with the other Eric doing some stuff for the podcast, and walking around with Don to look at some of the posters and booths.

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This is a piece of what JWST’s sunshield will be made from!
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I was fortunately at the booth when JOHN GRUNSFELD, the astronaut stopped by. He’s one of the two astronauts who repaired the ACS instrument on the Hubble. My friend/bass player Kevin worked closely with John and Drew. Drew is the one who played with my band, though I have a pic of John wearing my guitar! Drew is the one I was able to stalk through Janine, who spotted him getting into his T-38 in some airfield in Virginia. So of course I told John to tell Drew hi for me. And I basically geeked out, telling him congrats on his new job as deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute. And I named dropped our podcast, which he did an interview for. It was so cool! Even if I was a total idiot!

Earlier than morning, the new NASA administrator, who is also an astronaut, Charlie Bolden, came by the table and John got his picture taken meeting him.

I also managed to see a whole slew of people I knew from college, and a ton of people I work with.

We thought this session was funny since cosmology (studying the universe) often gets confused with cosmetology (makeup). It’s nice to see them embracing the misnomer. My fingers are kind of covering them, but the talk titles are funny.
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After the exhibit hall shut down, Don and I grabbed dinner, and then metroed back to our cars. We only rode 3 stops together and then it was a race to see whether the orange line or green line would be faster since we both had to transfer. He won by one stop.

I’m so tired now!

Also, I wore my xkcd shirt. Under a sweater. :-) Bonus points if you actually get it and know what the graph on the back is. :-)

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(Answer? To steal the words of the cartoonist, “The graph on the back of the shirt is data from the COBE mission, which looked at the background microwave glow of the universe and found that it fit perfectly with the idea that the universe used to be really hot everywhere. This strongly reinforced the Big Bang theory and was one of the most dramatic examples of an experiment agreeing with a theory in history — the data points fit perfectly, with error bars too small to draw on the graph. It’s one of the most triumphant scientific results in history.”)

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