Podcast: On Being and Artist and an Astronomer

Nia Imara, postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astronphysics, talks with Nancy Alima Ali about the intersections of astronomy and art. Topics discussed include using light to see star-forming regions in giant molecular clouds, how being an artist influences … Continue reading

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Resource Guide: Mauna Kea & TMT

As someone who lived in Hawaii for over a decade, working with both the Native Hawaiian and astronomy communities, as someone who specializes in cultural astronomy (including teaching a credit class to Windward Community College students in Hawaii), as someone … Continue reading

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Podcast: Science for Monks

Vivian White from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific talks with Nancy Ali from UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab about her experience teaching astronomy to Tibetan Buddhist monks in India as part of the Exploratorium’s Science for Monks project. Topics … Continue reading

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Podcast: Native Skywatchers

In this conversation with Annette Lee, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, we will explore how astronomical and cultural knowledge is embedded in sky stories. An artist-scientist of Native American ancestry, Lee’s interdisciplinary … Continue reading

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Pipeline Parallels – Science & Religion

The Facebook post, “This is one of those events you probably don’t want to miss,” caught my attention. This notice on the East Bay Meditation Center’s Facebook page let people know that Larry Yang, Buddhist meditation teacher, would be speaking about the Development of Spiritual Leadership at the weekly People of Color (POC) meditation sitting group. What surprised me the most about Larry’s talk is how his perspective about increasing diversity in Buddhist leadership paralleled the challenges of increasing diversity in scientific fields such as physics.

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The Sky: Our Local Space Representative

“Whatever we do, wherever we go, whatever happens on this crowded surface of interactions constituting our world, there is also the sky. The sky is a familiar – we might even say ‘local’ – representative of space.”

I love this quote from Tarthang Tulku (a Tibetan Buddhist teacher) because it simultaneously puts things in perspective and makes me chuckle. The perspective comes from the reminder that there are things, such as the sky, that are much greater than my personal problems. The chuckle comes from a visual image that popped into my head the first time I read these words. For some reason, my brain zeroed in on the phrase “local representative” and I immediately got a picture of The Sky running for a seat on the U.S. Congress. Just imagine The Sky on the campaign trail…

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Kepler: Mystic Astronomer

I had the good fortune of seeing “The Kepler Story” yesterday at the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences. I was impressed with how the use of full-dome visuals complemented the live performance, and also how history of science was interwoven with scientific information via storytelling. But this show is notable not only for the venue and special effects, but also because it tackles the subject of integration of scientific knowledge and spiritual beliefs.

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Why is it Dark at Night?

My astronomer friend in Brazil posted this video to his Facebook page recently and I liked it so much I thought I’d share. It was created by Minute Physics. This video explores the question, “Why is the sky dark?” It kind of messes with your mind a bit because it starts off with an obvious answer that turns out to be surprisingly wrong.

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