It’s Thursday afternoon and the hangover is finally subsiding. This morning wasn’t a nice experience, having stumbled back to the hotel at 2am, knowing very well I had to get up at 7am for the final round of sessions at the AAS conference, I knew the lack of sleep might be a problem.
After all, there would be no presentations in the afternoon and I was very motivated to get the scoop on some more breaking astro news. Unfortunately, 7am turned into 10:30am, and although I tried, I couldn’t make it past the hotel lobby. For me, Thursday was cancelled. Oh well, at least the previous night was awesome…
As promised, the Astronomy Cast LIVE meet-up started at 6pm on Wednesday night in the Rock Bottom pub where the hosts of Astronomy Cast, writers of the Universe Today, Slacker Astronomers and Galaxy Zookeepers could meet up with delegates from the conference and fans who made the trip to Long Beach. It was great to see everyone in the same place, after all, it’s not often some of the most influential space bloggers, researchers, reporters, educators and podcasters can all meet for a big party. And big it was.
Invading the bar, we probably attracted over 40 people (although this number could be disputed, I’m not known for my beer-drinking mathematical skills) and we were able to connect over a few drinks. Fun was had by all. Then we all moved on to the AAS after-party party down the road at the Rhythm Lounge where there was a huge turnout. It was a great night.
The biggest thing both Fraser and I realised when listening to the music thumping out, drinking yet more beer, trying to chat to the scientists letting their hair down, was that New Media has a very important job to do for the science community. There is an ocean of cutting-edge science research out there, but we only get to hear about a fraction of it on the mainstream. Thousands of research papers and projects get overlooked (as they have either been unpublished, from a small institution or promoted to the wrong audience), and it is fast becoming the New Media’s job to give a voice to this science. Whether we blog about it, tweet it, podcast it or simply link to it, New Media will always be ahead of the curve, and new modes of communication are springing up all the time.
So a huge thank you goes to Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain, plus all the New Media team (including Scott Miller, who seems to find a solution to any technical issue) and of course the organizers of the AAS conference and social for making this happen. Also, the IYA gave out a huge number of free bottles of special-Galileo beer. So, cheers to the International Year of Astronomy 2009!
Besides, New Media knows how to party, so I’ll hopefully experience many more AAS, Astronomy Cast and Universe Today meet-ups in the not-too-distant future. Check out the small selection of photos below to have an idea of how Wednesday night went (more AAS pictures are on their way)…