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Posts Tagged ‘hangout’

My Week as a Real Scientist

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

For a week at the end of January, I was a real scientist. Actually, I’m always a real scientist, but only for that week was I tweeting from the @realscientists Twitter account, which has a new scientist each week typing about his or her life and work. I tweeted a lot. I tweeted about the conference I was at. I tweeted about the philosophy of science and religion. I tweeted about how my wife, @CuratorPolly, wasn’t a big fan of me being called the “curator” of the account for the week. I tweeted about airplanes and very possibly bagels. But most of all I tweeted the answers to questions about particle physics and the LHC.

Real Scientists wrote posts for the start and end of my week, and all my tweets for the week are at this Storify page. My regular twitter account, by the way, is @sethzenz.

I was surprised by how many questions people had when I they were told that a real physicist at a relatively high-profile Twitter account was open for questions. A lot of the questions had answers that can already be found, often right here on Quantum Diaries! It got me thinking a bit about different ways to communicate to the public about physics. People really seem to value personal interaction, rather than just looking things up, and they interact a lot with an account that they know is tweeting in “real time.” (I almost never do a tweet per minute with my regular account, because I assume it will annoy people, but it’s what people expect stylistically from the @realscientists account.) So maybe we should do special tweet sessions from one of the CERN-related accounts, like @CMSexperiment, where we get four physicists around one computer for an hour and answer questions. (A lot of museums did a similar thing with #AskACurator day last September.) We’ve also discussed the possibility of doing a AMA on Reddit. And the Hangout with CERN series will be starting again soon!

But while you’re waiting for all that, let me tell you a secret: there are lots of physicists on Twitter. (Lists here and here and here, four-part Symmetry Magazine series here and here and here and here.) And I can’t speak for everyone, but an awful lot of us would answer questions if you had any. Anytime. No special events. Just because we like talking about our work. So leave us comments. Tweet at us. Your odds of getting an answer are pretty good.

In other news, Real Scientists is a finalist for the Shorty Award for social media’s best science. We’ll have to wait and see how they — we? — do in a head-to-head matchup with giants like NASA and Neil deGrasse Tyson. But I think it’s clear that people value hearing directly from researchers, and social media seems to give us more and more ways to communicate every year.

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Hangout with CERN, anyone?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I’m helping organize the ongoing Hangout with CERN series of events, and this Thursday I get to host. To make the event a success, I need your help! Interested? Read on…

Hangout with CERN happens each week at 17:00 CET, 11 AM EST, or whatever you want to call that time. It’s an informal Google+ hangout in which physicists, engineers, IT experts, and other folks from CERN connect to tell you about what we do here. In our latest format, we devote two weeks to each topic. The first week introduces the topic and lets you hear experts describe their work, along with a quiz and a few questions from the public. (We monitor comments on Twitter and YouTube the whole time.) The second week – which is the part I work on – is even more informal: we try to have a few guest members of the public, get to more questions, and so on.

Here’s last week’s video, entitled “LHC and the Grid – The world is our calculator,” which discusses the worldwide computing system we use to analyze all the data from the LHC:

Next week’s event on Google+ is here. We’ll be discussing the same topic, and we want to hear your questions about it. Do you have a question? Might you want to participate live in the hangout and ask your question directly? Let me know in the comments!

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