- I'm taking a 6-week graduate education course in geology. It's partially because I keep teaching courses related to it, and I've never actually had a course on it myself (though planetary astronomy's close, right?). And partially b/c another couple graduate credits gets me a pay raise. Moreover, it's an online course, which I'm really curious about, so I get to learn first-hand, and I know the profs so I expect I'll enjoy it. Win-win-win situation all around!
- Once or twice a week I'm going to get together with jethereal to read Feynman's lectures. Between us we've got four Master's degrees and three undergraduate majors all related to physics, and yet we still fully expect them to kick our butts. It'll be awesome!
- I'll be spending a couple weeks teaching observational astronomy to high school and junior high students at my Alma Mater's Astrocamp. We have each batch of 16 kids for 4 days, I think there's usually 4-ish of us instructors, I haven't done it in a couple years. Kids wake late, brunch, we have afternoon lectures and activities, they have dinner and socialize after dinner, and then the fun starts. From 8pm until midnight we have four students per domed telescope and the students themselves run the telescopes, learning to operate them from star-hopping to using RA and Dec and taking CCD images. I can't wait to see the CCD systems, when I was last there only one telescope had them.
- And throughout the summer I'll be working with a friend of mine in research astronomy on an educational outreach webpage - he's got the research expertise, I know the education, and we'll cobble together some web experience between the two of us. Unless, that is, any of you loyal readers are graphic designers / web programmers and would be interested in becoming part of the team. We are ambitious about this, or at least I am. I want something like HubbleSite or the SDSS page at the end. I fully admit that we don't have the skills to do this. :( If you think you do, drop a line in the comments with a link to your portfolio. There is NO compensation involved; this is a pro bono project unless you can find someone to fund you - my friend's doing it as part of his own work, I'm trying to get a grant for me only thru my job and will do it even if not, and we have no grants to pay others. After this summer's work is done, we may apply for actual funding, but not until then.
And speaking of that last project, I've been pondering "coming out" with this blog, that is revealing who I am. Currently I'm not ready to do that (I'd have to scour my archives!), but one thought I had was once we complete a presentable webpage I could reveal myself through launching that page and linking it. It's a scary thought; I like the idea of legitimizing blogging, but its illegitimacy makes me worry that putting my name on it will look badly to peers/employers.