Monthly Archives: February 2012

  • How Science Works: Is GJ1214b a Waterworld?

    Many of you will have heard of the “waterworld” (IMO, much more interesting than this waterworld) that was confirmed with a publication earlier this week by Berta et al. What’s cool about this story to me as a scientist is what a beautiful example it is of the scientific method in action. This is far from the first publication on this planet: a quick google scholar search for “GJ1214b” in the title returns 11 results. The planet first appears in references in this Nature article, announcing its discovery as a planet with 6.55 the mass of the Earth

  • Neutrinos still superluminal

    By now, you must have heard about the “BREAKING NEWS” that neutrino velocity measurement conducted by the OPERA experiment was flawed because of a faulty cable connection.

    If you think about this, a loose/faulty connection (as mentioned in various media outlets) would result in a delay in the signal. So, one would record a greater time measurement than the actual value. If one rectifies it, the new measurement should show a shorter time measurement than the one previously recorded. As we all know that speed is distance/time, a smaller corrected time value should give a HIGHER value of the

  • There will be Exobiology.

    Before I get into the story, let me be clear: the current plan in the Astrobiology Program is to proceed with the ROSES 2011 due date of March 2, 2012 and then have the next due date be in June of 2013…. Now onto the story.

    I got a panicked message today from a colleague, wondering why the Exobiology program was suspended. After a few minutes of confusion, I figured out the issue: ROSES 2012 was just released… and in it, Exobiology is listed as “Not solicited this year.”

    However, there will be an Exobiology solicitation in calendar year 2012… and

  • Dealing With Grant Rejection

    This post is about dealing with dealing with a grant rejection. Previously, it was about the most recent PSD budget. While I got some positive feedback on that post, after thinking about it I realized that I really don’t know enough of budget negotiation details to comment intelligently on the subject… even in the vague terms I did. However, I’ve seen how a good grants program works, from the inside. So here’s some general advice on dealing with rejection*, and specifics on how it applies to dealing with getting a grant rejected.


    1.)  Don’t take this personally. This is difficult when

  • Countdown to 2/17/2012…

    I’m totally exhausted from getting 3 NAI applications in as well as a job application. But the countdown marches on!

    3… The online/YouTube prelim for FameLab Astrobiology is now live! For details, register at our website.

    2… Cool VPL research was published this week on triggering runaway greenhouses (like Venus) due to tidal heating (like the tides cause on Earth by the Moon……. but MUCH MUCH WAY SUPER LOTS stronger), and another paper about searching for Earth-like planets with observations of near-infrared light (light just outside out vision on the “red” side of the color spectrum). There was also some interesting