The week of February 15-21 saw Real Scientists curated by astronomy communicator Mathieu Isidro (@matisidro). Mathieu took us through from the birth of modern astronomy with Copernicus and Galileo to the immense international collaborative effort that is the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Mathieu was also in attendance at the AAAS Meeting in San José while tweeting for Real Scientists, bringing us some of the live happenings from this prestigous multidisciplinary meeting of scientists. Telescopes were a continuing theme through the week, with snaps and stories from some of the world’s largest and most famous astronomical observing sites. But the star of the week was of course the SKA, and Mathieu did an incredible job of sharing almost every aspect of it; from the difficulties of working with colleagues spread across 20 time zones to the artworks created by indigenous peoples local to some of the SKA sites.
*ssssh we’re hunting wadio waves…*
MWA is located on the same site as ASKAP, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in outback Western Australia pic.twitter.com/Rzpfju8qx5
— realscientists (@realscientists) February 19, 2015
Mathieu kindly obliged in filling out our post-curation survey, so go ahead and have a gander at how he felt his time at Real Scientists went.
How did you find your week as a curator?
I had a fantastic time. It was definitely a challenge to explain radio-astronomy 140 characters at a time! But I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. It’s a good exercise to make sure I myself know what I’m talking about, which is crucial in my outreach job!
There was high interest, people seemed genuinely interested and asked really good questions.
I was also very pleased with the level of enthusiasm around other non-traditional topics like art (when I introduced our art/astronomy exhibition #SharedSky).
Were there any lowlights?
It can be a shock talking to 16,000. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?
It was a bit hard to keep up at the beginning but got better throughout the week. It was very interesting to see which tweets worked and which didn’t.
Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?
Schedule, schedule, schedule! If you’re going to talk about things that take a lot of time (and tweets) use an app like TweetDeck to schedule tweets. However make sure to spend some time every day to interact with people, reply to questions, etc. It’s a two-way thing!
Have a look at where your followers are from in the Twitter Analytics section and make sure you tweet at the right time for them when they’re online!
We really want RS curators to show people a rounded view of life as a scientist. Other than yourself of course, are there any other people/accounts that people should follow if they liked you and what you covered?
Apart from the obvious “stars” like Brian Cox and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, there are many astronomers and people involved in the astronomy world tweeting nowadays.
There are what I call “the 3 Brians”:
Brian Schmidt (Nobel Laureate in Physics) @cosmicpinot.
Brian Boyle (Director of SKA in Australia until recently) @brianboyleSKA
Bryan Gaensler (Director of CAASTRO until recently and now Director of the Dunlap Insitute in Canada, and Canadian board member for SKA) @scibry
In Australia, there’s also @lisaharveysmith, Project scientist for ASKAP.
In the UK there’s @Tim_O_Brien, associate director of @jodrellbank where the SKA HQ is based, and also @jr_pritchard.
In astro PR, education and outreach circles, @astropixie is a fantastic astro-science communicator based at AAO in Australia, @samremzy works on astronomy education in South Africa for SKA. There’s also the IAU’s Office of Astronomy for Development based in Cape Town, @Astro4dev.
And if you’d like to know more about light pollution, follow @IDADarkSky!
What TV show do you think everyone should go watch right now?
I’m a space geek so Battlestar Galactica is a must! Otherwise, Game of Thrones season 5 is about to start, go watch that too!
The 2nd largest is the Effelsberg Telescope near Bonn in Germany, also 100m in diameter, here's me there last year! pic.twitter.com/PDbE2sMY05
— realscientists (@realscientists) February 16, 2015
Thank you Mathieu for a stellar week tweeting for Real Scientists. To catch up on any SKA action you may have missed, check out the whole week’s worth of all of Mathieu’s tweets here and don’t forget you can follow his regular account too, @matisidro.