Skip to main content

NASA on Reddit. Join in!

NASA is inviting the general public to participate in a question and answer session with women working on the agency’s next generation of a space-based telescope as part of a event on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. EDT.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Webb telescope will provide images of the first galaxies ever formed, and explore planets around distant stars. It is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Reddit, a popular on-line community where users vote on content they find interesting, has many sub-forums. This particular Q&A session will be take place on the TwoXChromosomes subreddit, which is intended for "thoughtful content - serious or silly - related to gender, and intended for women's perspectives."

The Webb telescope project has gathered women with diverse and interesting jobs to answer questions about their experiences working on a NASA flagship mission. The following women will participate:
  • Allison Barto: Program Manager, previously Webb optical systems engineer
  • Christine Chen: Associate Astronomer, Webb MIRI Instrument Scientist
  • Pam Harris: Senior Resource Analyst
  • Stephanie Hopkins: Project Support Specialist
  • Amy Lo: Webb Alignments Thread Lead
  • Maggie Masetti: Webb Social Media/Website Lead
  • Stefanie Milam: Planetary Scientist
  • Nikki Rawlings: Senior Resources Analyst
  • Marcia Rieke: Professor of Astronomy & NIRCam Principal Investigator
  • Desiree Stover: Photographer
  • Amber Straughn: Astrophysicist
  • Shannon Valley: Legislative Affairs Specialist
  • Julie Van Campen: Webb ISIM Deputy Systems Engineer
  • Tracy Vogel: Editor/Writer
Those interested in asking these women questions about their experiences working on the Webb telescope will be able to do so starting at approximately 1 p.m. EDT, when the Q&A thread will be posted. They will answer questions for approximately 2 hours, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT on the Reddit "TwoXChromosomes" subreddit:

Once created, the Q&A thread will be posted to Webb telescope’s various social media presences; follow here for more information:


Popular posts from this blog

An annual note to all the (NSF) haters

It's that time of year again: students have recently been notified about whether they received the prestigious NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Known in the STEM community as "The NSF," the fellowship provides a student with three years of graduate school tuition and stipend, with the latter typically 5-10% above the standard institutional support for first- and second-year students. It's a sweet deal, and a real accellerant for young students to get their research career humming along smoothly because they don't need to restrict themselves to only advisors who have funding: the students fund themselves!
This is also the time of year that many a white dude executes what I call the "academic soccer flop." It looks kinda like this:

It typically sounds like this: "Congrats! Of course it's easier for you to win the NSF because you're, you know, the right demographic." Or worse: "She only won because she's Hispanic."…

Culture: Made Fresh Daily

There are two inspirations for this essay worth noting. The first is an impromptu talk I gave to the board of trustees at Thatcher School while I was visiting in October as an Anacapa Fellow. Spending time on this remarkable campus interacting with the students, faculty and staff helped solidify my notions about how culture can be intentionally created. The second source is Beam Times and Lifetimes by Sharon Tarweek, an in-depth exploration of the culture of particle physics told by an anthropologist embedded at SLAC for two decades. It's a fascinating look at the strange practices and norms that scientists take for granted.
One of the stories that scientists tell themselves, whether implicitly or explicitly, is that science exists outside of and independent of society. A corollary of this notion is that if a scientific subfield has a culture, e.g. the culture of astronomy vs. the culture of chemistry, that culture is essential rather than constructed. That is to say, scientific c…

The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…