Astronomers on the internet

I’m up in beautiful Edinburgh (perhaps my favorite city in the UK, even at this very dark time of year) fulfilling my duties as the chair of the Astrogrid Science Advisory group, at their latest project meeting. Astrogrid is part of the world wide effort to create a virtual observatory, a way for astronomers to access any and all data about objects in the sky.

Walking into the second day of the meeting this morning, a few minutes before it was due to start, the auditorium was filled with fifty-odd astronomers and IT specialists, almost all of them sitting silently, staring at their wifi-connected laptops, each in their own internet cocoon. Is this the modern condition, or just a lack of social skills? (Needless to say, after at least attempting some light commentary with the person next to me, I joined the sad, silent majority.)


Apparently, I wasn’t the only person blogging this meeting!