After telling everyone I’d be at the media/music/explosion that is South by SouthWest (SXSW) for several days, I got this phone call today asking if I’d like to be in Chile that week for the inauguration of the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, or ALMA. So even though my brain was yelling YES, I sadly declined since I had other responsibilities. I was promptly chastised by my boss, Pamela, who then yelled YES along with my brain and said GO TO CHILE.
So, I’m going to Texas. For two days. AND THEN I’m going to Chile. And I am so freaking excited like you have no idea.
It is news to no one that I love radio astronomy and radio telescopes. I love them so so much that one powerful little array in West Virginia and South Africa was the focus of my dissertation work. Ever since my internships as an undergraduate, first at MIT Haystack and then at the Very Large Array in New Mexico, I was fascinated with the completely unintuitive way that radio telescopes can be used to study the universe. Also, to see and visit those monstrous dishes, to walk around in them in some cases, to see the wires and receivers and literal nuts and bolts that make them work… is an amazing experience.
So Pamela was right to yell at me. How could I pass up a chance to visit the mountain vistas of the Atacama Desert and the world’s most advanced millimeter telescope perched high above the world at 16,500 feet? I’ll be one of a dozen or so members of the press along with National Radio Astronomy Observatory staff and various dignitaries from every organization involved. It’ll all be tweeted and Google Plussed as internet is available, blogged for Discovery News Space, and videoed and recorded for your viewing and listening pleasure later through our various CosmoQuest feeds.
So thanks to John Stoke and everyone at NRAO for this amazing opportunity. Everyone else, please join in for the ride, March 10-14th!
Also be sure to say hi to me on March 8th at the big NASA tent at SXSW if you are going to be in Austin. Scott, Pamela, Fraser, and the rest of the NASA extravaganza will be there all weekend! One of us will be sure to blog abut that on CosmoQuest when it gets closer.