Six years ago when I was a college freshman, honestly knowing nothing about serious academic research, I saw this hiring message on the department bulletin board. Then I went on to interview for this research assistant job and eventually got in to Prof Shih-Ping Lai’s interstellar magnetic field group. My job was to reduce BIMA data for a bunch of calibrators, and I remember working late in the office trying with mysterious LINUX/MIRIAD commands to image these objects now seemed to be so simple and not at all time-consuming. I left the group after a few months of struggles, and that concluded my first experience in astronomy. I have to admit that the experience wasn’t so attractive that I, who had dreamed so much about working in astronomy back in high school days as an astronomy club member, wandered away before I came back again three years after that. It is definitely rewarding that I have visited biophysics and particle physics along the way. However, looking back from here as an astronomy PhD student, I can’t help but wonder if I could persist on had I learnt more about astronomy research than radio data reduction.
This is why I decided to start this blog as a place for telling the stories about astronomy research, side discussions which might have nothing to do with the research, and most importantly, astronomy students and their lives. There will be digest of ongoing research and tips for those who are interested in starting their own projects in astronomy (and probably in science, generally), but as I would like to keep the blog under my own sovereignty and with clear difference from co-editing (and very cool) sites such as Astrobite and Astrobetter, I will focus on what I think would be interesting to physics/astronomy students outside the country(, i.e. outside the United States). By saying so, I do not mean to limit it to Taiwanese audience and that is also one of the many reasons why I’d keep the blog in English. For a similar reason, I do see this site more as a platform for international students(, again, meaning students with origins outside the States), and I plan to have invited posts from other international students as well. Nevertheless, feedbacks from the US students are more than welcome, and this blog might actually be worth exploring for you if you are intrigued by how life’s like for international astronomy students.
This is by no means a well-organized systematic project at least at the current stage, and I would be really happy to see any suggestions on what this site should look like or simply what you want to see in the blog. I hope that it will be at least more exciting than imaging radio bandpass calibrators!
P.S. This message might contain incorrect descriptions of calibrator imaging, especially on its fun level.