Public lectures

Willi Benz talks about extra-solar planets at ESO
Published 2/26/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Every week, on Thursday afternoons, ESO hosts the Munich Joint Astronomy Colloquium. This is organized by all the astronomical institutes in the Munich area (there are quite a few). The idea is to invite leading scientists to give an overview on a specific field of astrophysics. Yesterday it was the turn of Willy Benz, professor at the University of Bern. Willy is an expert in numerical simulations. I remember the first time I met him, at a NATO school in Spain, back in 1995. At that time he was doing Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics... read more ❯

Catastrophic Explosions seen through Interstellar Clouds
Published 11/26/2009 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
I realized that I never wrote about my scientific research (which actually is one of the two sides of my professional life, the other being my functional duties for the European Organization for Astronomical Research). As you may have noticed from my short resumee in the CosmicDiary, I mainly work on Supernovae. Soon there will be a Feature Article on this, so I will not insist too much on this here. Supernovae are the dramatic fate of some stars and are amongst the most energetic phenomena we know. The bottom line is that they eject all (or a large... read more ❯

Galilean Nights @ Home
Published 11/23/2009 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
This has been an "all-astronomy" week-end. It started when I got back from the office. I had promised my kids we would have watched Jupiter and its satellites early in the evening. And so we did. In the days before we had done some preliminary attempt, using my old, beloved f/10 MTO Maksutov. Jupiter was around the meridian, just above the big, bright glow cast by the town of Munich (there will be a post on light pollution soon...). As a side effect, the kids experienced how disturbing street lights are. So,... read more ❯

Bringing the enthusiasm for astronomy to kids
Published 11/16/2009 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Although not among the core activities of a professional astronomer, popularizing science to the public is a fundamental task. Since a researcher is not necessarily a good communicator (you can be an excellent piano player, but you might be absolutely dull in teaching it to a kid), I believe this job is better done by a professional, who devotes all her/his efforts trying to find the right compromise between scientific rigor and making the topic appealing to the targeted public. However, an active scientist can convey... read more ❯