Do the astronomers have this problem?

I gave a talk last week where I got to talk about educational goals and learning theory.

At the end, a few people came up and thanked me. And then, inevitably at the end of a talk about education and some of my own research, someone comes up and says something like, “How do we deal with the students/situation/problem _____?” Because they think I know. As I drifted off to sleep that night, I was thinking about how the astronomers never have this question: “So, I’m designing this solar system and my earthlike planet’s orbit has an eccentricity of 0.870 and an albedo of .420; what do I do about that?”

Or maybe the astronomers have exactly the same problem.

At any rate, I’m glad I work in a field where there are practical questions. I wish I had practical answers.

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One thought on “Do the astronomers have this problem?

  1. No, we astronomers get questions like, ‘So this one day, I saw this thing, and it was really bright, and flashing and changing colors. What was that?’

    or

    ‘Can I send you my video of an alien spacecraft that I made?’ (inevitably an hour long, fuzzy, wobbly, and an airplane)

    or

    ‘I was reading this thing, in my email, and it was about Venus. Or maybe Mars. Or it could have been Saturn, but anyway, it’s supposed to be as big as the full moon on August 8. Can you tell me about that?’

    or

    ‘Do you seriously believe in the Big Bang? What about the Word Of God As Written In The Bible? What are you—some kind of heretic?’

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