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!

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