Introducing John Wenskovitch

John Wenskovitch (@wenskovitch) is a PhD student in the Computer Science Department at Virginia Tech.  His research falls in a zone combining aspects of data visualization, human-computer interaction, and machine learning.  As a part of the Discovery Analytics Center, he works to develop intelligent and interactive techniques for the visualization and exploration of high-dimensional datasets.  His past work in collaboration with astronomers involved visualizing and interactively exploring spectral flux density data from stellar merger simulations.
John is also an amateur astronomer, volunteering his free time at observatories and with his own telescopes to share the otherwise-invisible wonders that can be found telescopically to all who are interested.  He is passionate about astronomical outreach, particularly regarding light pollution and basic science education.  He currently serves as Vice-President of the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society, and is actively involved in outreach with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.
During those unfortunate nights when the moon is full or the weather is sub-par, John is also an avid science fiction reader, mediocre marathoner, accidental artist, nature enthusiast, and traveler (having set foot in 43 US states and 25 countries over the past five years).
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Introducing Mario Jurić

Mario Jurić (@mjuric) is a professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington (@uwastronomy) & eScience Institute Fellow (at @uwescience). He’s interested in astronomical ‘Big Data’: developing and applying data science methods that let astrophysicists use large data sets to answer research questions. Two experiments he’s involved with are the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Loves Python, prefers tabs, and thinks bash scripting is fun

Introducing Ana Weigel

Anna Weigel (@annakweigel) is a third year Ph.D. student at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Her research focuses on the connection between galaxies and their black holes. Specifically she studies if and how active black holes might be shutting down star formation in their host galaxies. Instead of closely examining single objects, Anna is combining phenomenological and statistical approaches. This means looking for trends and correlations in the local galaxy population as a whole.

Anna received her B.S. in physics from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and then moved to Switzerland for her M.Sc. in physics at ETH. Before starting her Ph.D., she spent three months at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in beautiful Melbourne. Anna enjoys teaching, which is part of her Ph.D. student duties, and doing outreach. For example, building galaxies with kids has taught her that 7-year olds and glitter glue do not mix well. From time to time Anna also likes to visualise science in the form of delicious cakes.

Introducing Demitri Muna

I am excited to be hosting week two (19-25 Jan 2014) of Astrotweeps! I am an astrophysicist who works on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) at Ohio State University. SDSS was responsible for producing the largest color image of the sky ever made – a trillion pixels that would require half a million HDTVs to display. But that’s old news – the current phase of the survey has collected over a million spectra of stars and galaxies. A spectrum is a measurement where the light is split into different wavelengths, like that you would see through a prism. My current research interest is using this data to learn how galaxies evolve over time and even the histories of individual galaxies. I am also interested in the data science aspect of research; how we as astronomers can analyze and do science with far more data than we’ve ever had access to. It’s a good problem to have, but not a solved one. I’m also a contributor to the Astropy project. I am also interested in public outreach and run a chapter of Astronomy On Tap. In a prior life, I worked on a dark matter experiment called DRIFT, located 1.1km underground in a working mine that is a stone’s throw from where Dracula landed in England. I also curl.

I look forward to your questions on galaxy evolution, dark matter, curling, or anything else you’d like to hear about! Send questions to @astrotweeps or as a comment on this blog post. After this week, you can follow me on Twitter at @demitrimuna and @scicoder.