Friday, November 20, 2015

Condensate clouds in hot Jupiter atmospheres Poster

please email me if you would like more information.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What I learnt from DPS15

DPS15 is a conference held by the Division of Planetary Science which is a group within the AAS (American Astronomical Society). This year was their 47th annual meeting, which was hosted at National Harbour, just outside of Washington DC.

This was my first DPS conference and while I intended to take many, many notes, I was swept up by the amazing community on twitter and decided to spend my week throughly tweeting the conference instead.

Here are just a few of the things that I learnt from DPS15 in the form of the tweets they sparked. As such it may be a slightly biased view, but I hope you enjoy. Each of the topics links to a Storify album of tweets so look for yours in there if you joined in with the twitter conversation.

Twitter embargo
The planetary community can get a little snarky when they are told they are not allowed to share their science.

The first session of DPS15 was a look at some of the mazing science discoveries the New Horizons team have made about the Pluto system. However, we were informed at the start of the session that all of the information we would hear for the next 2 hours was under embargo until the press conference at 12pm. Naturally the room got a little mad. This is how planetary scientists fight back.

Here are just a small selection of the tweets that were posted during the embargoed Pluto session.

NASA brought along a massive model of Saturn's 6th largest moon Enceladus to the DPS15 exhibit hall, which included live plumes of steam bursting forth from it's surface.

Naturally this got a lot of people excited and snap happy, including myself.

Dr. Paddack the P in YORP presented at #DPS15 to a packed room, and I learnt what YORP was.

There were a few excited scientists in the room tweeting, which helped spread the excitement, as I was actually in another session at the time.

Scroll through to learn what YORP is and why it matters.

Clouds are a big thing with planetary scientists. They appear everywhere a persistent atmosphere is observed. As an exoplaneteer it is time we start to use that to our advantage.

Here are a few tweets from across our solar system talking about the cloudy nature of planetary science.

I am biased toward the exoplanet community so I will start there, but never fear clouds were everywhere at this years DPS so just keep scrolling through.

and last but by no stretch of the imagination least.

Mesursky award talk on Harassment
The Mesursky award for service to the planetary science community was awarded to Dr. Christina Richey for her work in the community to combat harassment and discrimination. Normally the Mesursky winner does not get a talk, however, this year Christina asked to be able to address the whole community about an issue she is passionate about, and which needs to be spoken out loud.

Dr. Christina Richey addresses the whole conference in a magnificent show of strength about harassment in the community and how we can all become better allys. Here are just a selection of the tweets during and after her talk which show you the response from the community.

It was fantastic to meet and talk to so many people over the course of the week and make sure you look up #DPS15 for the full story.

See you next year!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What I learnt from CCTP2

At the beginning of September I attended the Comparative Climates for Terrestrial Planets II conference at NASA AMES Research Center. 

The conference aimed to foster a series of interdisciplinary conversations on a wide range of planetary climates. this years theme was "Understanding How Climate Systems Work." As an exoplanet researcher I was the outsider attending  a rocky planet conference but I learnt a lot and was hopefully also able to put the current observation capabilities of exoplanets into context.

But as I have done with previous conferences I attend I thought I would share some of the "Things I learnt from CCTP2" with you now.

Old zeppelin hangers are really really big, even without the skin on them.
 - The habitable zone is the hunting zone for planets. It is just giving you the greatest possibility of finding a planet with surface liquid water.

Come to NASA they have cookies.

 - Terrestrial planet scientists don't like the idea of their rock being molten, and especially don't like to think of it floating in the atmosphere of a giant planet.

     - Sometimes you just need to present your crazy idea on what controls global dust storms on Mars. But test it out on other planets first.

     - Weather is not the climate, but sometimes the climate can be weather.

     - New horizons got to Pluto just in time. Any later and the atmosphere might have all been condensed out for the winter.
    You also get to give from a
    fancy lectern. 

     - A planet can be considered 'occasionally habitable' if the climate has strong feedback on the atmosphere where you move from a snowball to a warm planet in a cyclical process.

     - The only way to take N2 out of the atmosphere is with biology.

     - There is the same amount of CO2 locked in rocks on Earth as there is causing the runaway greenhouse in Venus' atmosphere.

     - A dune planet could is the zombie afterlife of a habitable world.

     - Volcanoes are cool.

     - While more planets may be in the habitable zone of M-dwarfs they will be receiving much more UV flux from their star which will affect the chemistry of the atmosphere.

     - There could be more tidally locked planets than earth like planets in our galaxy because there are more small stars where the habitable zone is closer to the star so could have dynamically locking.

     - We all need to be asking the question at conferences; "what can we investigate in our field to potentially inform yours?"

     - Give a group of early career researchers some frozen yogurt then leave them with  a coloring book and pens they will really geek out on you.

     - It is a really small world, and Stargate really is the greatest show.
    The result of the early career researchers evening out, featuring MAVEN, Dr Who, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,
    Godzilla/Alien, planetary weather systems, and most importantly a Stargate mid KAWOOSH!


    And my talk on Cloud condensates in hot Jupiter atmospheres can be found at this link - 

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    HMAvl: A year on film

    As everything that happens in the university of Exeter's astrophysics group; it all started with coffee time. 
    My very good friend and colleague, Moncho Rey Raposo, had asked if I wanted to try a video series, and being like minded with regards to public engagement and the role a scientist has in passing on our knowledge, I thought; why the hell not! Even though I was then in my final year of the PhD and should really have been focusing on something else, hmmmm. Well never mind that. This is my year on film with Moncho and the Hannah & Moncho Astro video log (HMAvl). 

    A year before I had briefly entertained the idea of creating my own science show with the universities tv channel, XTV, but the vast amount of time and technical support needed for production put me off due to the time I could put towards anything (we lasted 1 episode). I needed something quick, fun, and informative. So, who better to embark on this adventure with than Moncho, and he came up with the idea so that saved time too.

    The plan was to discuss fun and interesting science each week, while sharing with the audience what PhD life was like at the University of Exeter. Over the course of our year in film we covered so many different topics.

    We covered so many random things across physics
    but it was also important to cover what it was like to be
    doing a PhD and the life that we had at the University.

    Introduction - ET - Rubik's cube - Halloween special in the Astrophysics group - Turbulence - Getting an astrophysics paper published - Exponential growth - Exeter's supercomputer - Hannah & Moncho's elevator pitch - Behind the scenes of HMAvl - Astrophysics christmas party - The Star of Bethlehem - Winter solstice - Maria's elevator pitch - Waves and interference - Weather - Why do a PhD? - a personal account - Alex's elevator pitch - A career in academia: interview with Pete V - The butterfly effect & yoga? - Exoplanets - Women in Astrophysics - Pablo's elevator pitch - Solar Eclipse 2015 - Blackbody radiation and CMB - Hannah turns in her thesis - Cryogenic dieting - Boyle's law - Alice's elevator pitch - Hannah's thesis defense - The big bang - Quantum meerkat - Conferences and posters - Tiffany's elevator pitch - Hubble deep field - Hannah's graduation

    I think my favorite episode is still probably the Behind the scenes of HMAVL. Perhaps prematurely in episode 10 we made a behind the scenes episode, and I loved it and still do because I got to pretend like I was on a real TV show. If you know me you know I love TV and especially when you get a behind the scenes look at how it is all done. I even listen to all the audio commentaries if they make them, so I reveled in the chance to make one of my own.

    Another reason why this was great is it explains everything I have been trying to put down in this blog, but with the added joy of moving pictures.

    I am going to miss being able to write of a section in my diary for filming each week. I will miss the random topic to research each week. There is always room to learn more about science and relearn things long forgottten. There was a point where we were having issue with coming up with a topic to cover in 3 or 5 minutes, and i remembered that years ago for my scuba diving instructor exam i was tasked to teach boyles law to my divers. The examiners thought that i would find it difficult to convey what can be a complex topic to scuba divers who would range fro 14 up and from all manner of backgrounds. The topic itself was perfect for a HMAvl. So on the day that Moncho was able to film we met at my apartment and filmed it in the bathroom then and there with my dive kit as the backdrop.

    But most of all I am going to miss working with Moncho on all of these crazy ideas. Anything went and we tried to not be worried about how it would look. So thank you for all the fun. Enjoy the playlist of our year on film and let us know what you thought.

    Moncho and I during the filming of episode 2

    I personally would not recommend starting such a project in your last year, while writing up and defending your thesis. But if you love doing something then go for it. If you play it right there is always time for fun.

    Monday, June 8, 2015

    My Science Hour Adventure

    Hannah at the Xmedia Awards 2015
    with The Science Hour's
    2 awards of the evening
    My adventure with The science Hour on XpressionFM has sadly come to a close. But boy did we go out on a high. At this years Xmedia Awards The Science Hour won two awards. Our 1st from XpressionFM for the stations Best Show, which was a beautiful surprise on the night and I'm so proud of the recognition within a music and sport heavy radio station that a talk show about science captured people and entertained them. Our 2nd came from the Best Innovation category, something myself and Simon entered with our Top Female Scientists card game, which we launched on the show in February this year. You can listen to the Award entry below.

    The Science Hour has developed into a fantastic entertaining and diverse radio show over the seasons. I think this year we really hit our stride with the format and content to keep a loyal and far reaching audience. Who also appreciated some of the worst music segues in history, I am talking Alan Partridge levels and worse. Over the seasons I have been joined by some amazing and thoroughly intelligent co-hosts and none of the show would have been done without their amazing support and conversation. So, thank you Gareth Jones, Alex Pettitt, and Simon Clark for taking your time and putting yourself out there with me each week. Also to all of the guests throughout the first season who gave us their time to talk about their work.

    But I thought now was as good a time as any to share how The Science Hour on XpressionFM came to be and how it has positively influenced my PhD journey here at Exeter.

    Our Xmedia Award for
    Most Innovative
    Way back in late 2012 while I was on holiday in the US with my sister I received an email from a professor in the Astrophysics group at Exeter where I was in the 2nd year of my PhD urging me to apply for a workshop being run by the BBC Academy for expert women in their fields. At the time I was just finding my stride within academia, attempting to work out if I knew anything at all, let alone calling myself an expert at something. But as with most things that have worked out in my life I went with my philosophy of "what can I loose if I apply for this?" As always the answer was nothing of significance. So, I went for it. I filmed two short pieces to camera about my work and some of the things I thought needed to be highlighted in the media, and sent it in. A few months later I found out that I was selected in the top 60 out of over 2000 applicants and that in March the following year I would be heading to the BBC Academy for 2 days of media training and advanced training with 30 other applicants.

    But why am I giving you all of this back story, what has this got to do with a student radio show?
    Well, what this experience taught me was little to do with the technical side of TV and Radio, or even the way that you need to present yourself, I had learnt most of that from watching behind the scenes documentaries growing up and seeing my father giving copious numbers of talks around Surrey where I grew up. No what these few days taught me was, it does not matter who you are or how good you might be at what you do, no one is going to out of the blue ask you to do anything. You have to go out and get it, or do it, or ask for it yourself before anyone will take notice and start asking back.

    While at the BBC Academy on these two days I did meet a number of other astronomers who were already post-docs in their fields and have kept in touch with them since. One, Emma Bradshaw, was the host of a science show on student radio at Nottingham, which is a well respected student radio station in the student radio circuit. It was later in the summer of 2013 when I met her again at a UK wide astronomy conference that she gave me the best advice. "Just go for it!"

    Launching our Top Female Scientists card game LIVE on
    By now I was starting my 3rd year of the PhD and well out of the loop of student societies at university and anywhere. Let alone putting myself out there on the radio or TV. Luckily the University of Exeter has a fantastic and diverse media team from TV (XTV Online), Journalism (Exepose), and Radio (XpressionFM). In freashers week I stood out awkwardly at the introduction weeks and group meetings  making me want to flee. But I kept chanting to myself "What have you got to lose?" "Just go for it."

    The leaders of XpressionFM at the time were Hazel Morgan, a wholly wonderful individual excited about the prospect of some BBC Radio 4 style programming, and the ever encouraging Matthew Bate who later became the VP of Activities sabbatical officer for the Guild. It was Matthew who put me in touch with some new people and I was tenacious in getting a full show on the air as soon as possible.

    The first Science Hour show was broadcast LIVE at 11pm right in the middle of a 30-hour Children in Need broadcast for the station. I was given lees then a days notice to put something dynamic and entertaining together which would involve the two champion hosts for the full broadcast. I managed to rope in the Gareth Jones a new PhD student in Physics who had previously hosted on XpressionFM and was not serving as part of the station committee. The whole launch of the show could never have happened without him, and for that I am very grateful.

    In January of 2014 we kicked off the term with our regular show and time on Tuesday evenings, and have not stopped since. By half way through the term I had been fully trained as a radio presenter and was able to run the show myself. In our first term run we welcomed 12 scientists into the XpressionFM studio, and shared the research from over 5 departments at the University of Exeter.

    The Science Hour time wheel
    Each episode of the show requires varied levels of preparation, depending on prior knowledge of the subject. At the beginning of each term I would sit down with my co-host and we would write a list of the different topics that interested us and we wanted to talk about. We would then look at the shows calendar and make a balanced and ordered timetable. As each show on its own follows the same format a time wheel of the show is simple to fill in, and is a great practice to have if you want to set up your own show of any length. For each episode we find 5 songs with a connection to the topic, though sometimes the most tenuous of links is made between the discussion and the song of choice. We will also try to find the most unsung or unheard of scientist in the field of study to place a spotlight on. The ultimate goal of the show is to provide new and interesting information in an accessible way to our audience. I think the best compliment for the show I have heard is someone coming up to me and telling me a story about a science topic and then finishing the story with, 'oh wait I think I heard that from your show'. Almost all of our listeners within XpressionFM have told us they don't like science, but love the show. That is good enough for me! They don't really hate science, they live in a world based on it (especially on the radio), they just need the best way to hear about it. I hope we were able to provide that.

    Without the science hour I am certain I would not be as confident in myself or the science I have been working on. It has not only improved my interview skills, but also the way in which I respond when being interviewed. I love communicating my science, and hope that I can continue to do so through all types of media throughout my career.

    I am also now so much more aware of how little music I know.

    You can check out our full archive on Mixcloud and please leave any comments below or on our show pages (Mixcloud, Facebook).