The Second Symposium on the Nature of Science
ASTRONOMERS OBSERVEChris Stoughton
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(running time 50:20)
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Observation is a crucial element of the scientific method. I will describe several observations in astronomy and discuss the significance of these observations. Although many of our observations are indirect, and evidence is circumstantial, we draw conclusions with certainty. The science of studying the night sky has evolved from "astronomy" to "astrophysics" because of these observations. I will conclude by describing the "industrial observations" of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), and how you can tap into the product of our factories.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Dr. Stoughton received his B.S. in physics at Notre Dame, and his Ph.D. in particle physics at Columbia University in 1987. The title of his thesis, "A Search for Neutrino Oscillations in the Narrow-Band Beam at the AGS" implies that his experiment did not observe the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations. His post-doctoral experiment at Fermilab, on the Hadroproduction of Charm, observed thousands of charmed particle decays. In 1991, he joined the newly minted Experimental Astrophysics Group at Fermilab, working on the SDSS. He is currently in charge of data processing and distribution for SDSS, which is systematically mapping the night sky by observing one million spectra and hundreds of millions of images.
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