ESO 50th anniversary web-stream live now!
Published 10/5/2012 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
A Day in the Life of ESO is live now! Watch it at: I will be giving a talk at 14:17 CEST. See you there.     read more ❯

Stephane Udry gives a talk at ESO on exo-planets
Published 2/10/2012 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Long time no see... Many things happened in between. For instance, my boss Bruno Leibundgut joined the team led by Brian Schmidt in Stockholm, for the Nobel Prize ceremony. I already expressed my feeling related to Brian's visit to ESO before the Nobel Prize was announced. The account Bruno gave on the Nobel Ceremony was equally stunning. I rejoice for them, and for astrophysics in general. But I cannot hide, at least not to myself, that I envy them... all the more because I happen to be so close to these people ;-) Speaking of great deeds, yesterday Stephane Udry gave a great... read more ❯

A completely new experience
Published 5/25/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Many things happened since my last post here. One of them is that I got a new job. Well, yes, I'm still an astronomer, but after ten years of work as support astronomer in the Users Support Dept., I now moved to the Observing Programmes Office of ESO, which I am now leading. What? Those of you who know me might indeed wonder how this can possibly be. Well, not sure... As a consequence, I changed office, building, collaborators and so on. But I'm still at the European Southern Observatory, my alma mater. [caption id="attachment_1284" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Panel Scientific Assistants (a.k.a.... read more ❯

Early Saturday's thoughts of a [mature] astronomer
Published 2/19/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Every year here in Garching there is a workshop organized by the International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics (IMPRS for short). The purpose is to give the chance to brilliant undergraduate students to participate to the IMPRS programme and get a PhD in Astrophysics in one of the most active campuses in Europe and in the world. This year the IMPRS received almost 140 applications, out of which about 50 candidates were invited to a 3-day workshop, where they could give a presentation on their scientific interests, meet other students and potential supervisors for their PhD Thesis. As I am... read more ❯

The aftermath of the Great Debate
Published 12/9/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
After the Great Debate, I had a chat with Pavel Kroupa. Here follow some quotes from one of his emails: "The Event was interesting, but it is clear that rational argumentation will not bring L-CDM followers into thinking otherwise. It is like with the searches for DM: if you do not find it then it obviously has other properties. And so our Local Volume (8 Mpc) and Local Group (about 2Mpc) cannot be used to test LCDM.   Well, if you subscribe to this, then we can just as well stop arguing and do more sensible things.... read more ❯

We do not understand nature, we measure it
Published 11/18/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
The Great Debate is over. In the next days you will be able to see it here. Although I had plenty of urgent things to do, I could not resist to follow the live blog by Marcel Pawlowski and Andreas Küpper, who kept reporting and answering questions for the whole duration of the debate. It was an interesting experience. From what I can judge, the presentation by Simon White was very relaxed, and did not touch upon possible alternative scenarios. After a general introduction on Dark Matter, White went through all evidences, including the famous Bullet Cluster. One of the... read more ❯

The Great Debate is Now!!
Published 11/18/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
The Kroupa/White Debate on Dark Matter just started! See the live blog here. read more ❯

The Great Debate is tomorrow!
Published 11/17/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Tomorrow Pavel Kroupa and Simon White will publicly debate on Dark Matter. The Colloquium is going to be held at the University of Bonn, in the context of the Bethe Lectures. As far as I understand from Pavel, it will be videotaped, but there will be no live broadcast. For your convenience, here is a summary of the event: The subject of this months Bethe Colloquium concerns a question at the interface of cosmology, astrophysics and elementary particle physics: the possible existence of Dark Matter. The existence of Dark Matter is the most prominent proposal to account for the discrepancy between measurements... read more ❯

Shaking the tree pretty hard
Published 10/20/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Before I start getting done with the re-submission of a paper on the atmospheric transparency above Cerro Paranal, let me share with you the following, which you might find interesting. You certainly know that one of the key constituents in current cosmology is dark matter, first postulated in 1934 by one of the most prominent astronomers of last century, Fritz Zwicky (this reminds me that my master thesis advisor, prof. Roberto Barbon, was a post-doc of Zwicky, at Caltec). As the name says, this material is, well, dark. So that it cant' be seen directly. What you can see is its... read more ❯