Philip Cary Plait, Ph.D.

Phil plait
has written two books, Bad Astronomy and Death from the Skies. He has also appeared in several science documentaries, including Phil Plait's Bad Universe on the Discovery Channel.

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BadAstronomer311 karma

Yes. He is exactly equal to 1000 milliPlaits.

BadAstronomer303 karma

In your case? Hopeless.

BadAstronomer233 karma

Gamma-ray bursts, no question. The sheer power of those beams of energy marching across the Universe, the lifetime supply of a star's energy packed into a blowtorch; that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I'm glad they're so far away.

BadAstronomer206 karma

Heh. Good questions.

There is no craziest misconception, I'd say. People believed Nancy Lieder when she said you could see a giant planet everywhere in the sky (which turned out to be lens flares in pictures) but not the big bright comet Hale-Bopp. One guy claims comets are hot and bigger than planets, and he has followers. There's no idea so ridiculous you can't find people to believe it.

Greatest achievement (mushy, but true): I have a good marriage and a good kid.

BadAstronomer194 karma

All of it.

Seriously, all of it. Seeing Venus shining in the west, the crescent Moon with the dark side softly lit by reflected Earthlight, a nebula through a telescope, Cassini pix of Saturn, Hubble shots of supernovae... it all still gets to me. The day it doesn't is they day you can bury me.

BadAstronomer105 karma

I have heard from lots of folks who agreed with me, and lots who didn't. I got great feedback from people who reconsidered how to argue critical thinking topics, and that makes me happy. Of course, some of the others doubled down and dug in. That's to be expected. I don't have objective evidence of the outcome, but studies have shown not attacking your opponent tends to get better results. So I still think I'm right. :)

BadAstronomer72 karma

I've thought about that, and decided just to join the crowd. I bet brains taste GREAT!

BadAstronomer69 karma

My thoughts are here. I'll have more soon; the press conference starts in a few minutes!

BadAstronomer64 karma

Good question, and I'm not really sure past saying: go out there and do it. Writer a blog, hep out the local astronomy societies, find out what your department does for EPO. I got a huge start in face-to-face PO by doing the bi-annual star party at the University of Virginia, and I loved it. It taught me a lot on how to relate to the public and explain complicated topics.

I hope you can make it happen! We need lots more folks like you who want to show the public how awesome astronomy is.

BadAstronomer61 karma

Thanks! I love Hardwick and w00tstock. So much fun!

I got into all this when I was a wee lad, and my folks bought a cheap telescope. My dad pointed it at Saturn, and that was that. The lesson: always expose kids to science. You never know how far it will take them.