Mill for Science

Today was Earth Day but also the day of many Marches for Science across the planet.

Marches for Science across the world

We did our part here in Amsterdam (see also marchforscience.nl): a group of us from the astronomy department here at University of Amsterdam set up a booth and hung out all day answering questions, showing the solar telescopes we couldn’t use because it was too cloudy (typical…) and various movies and visuals about astrophysics on a monitor to lure people in. But unlike many other events, there was no real march, it was all located on the Museumplein in Amsterdam, with a bunch of people milling around between tents and stages, so that’s why I’ve renamed it “mill for science”. It was great fun, though a bit too cold to stand outside for so long. My voice is now raspy because I ended up giving a lot of impromptu lectures using my laptop, and chatting with many interesting/interested people. I was impressed with some of the questions I got from non-scientists, ranging from the expansion of the universe to details of black hole physics. One 13 year old kid knew more about astrophysics than most of the undergrads I teach! Our minister Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Jet Bussemaker, was there, and made optimistic noises about a modest but crucial boost in funding for the sciences here (1 billion Euros sounds like a lot until you see how much we spend on other stuff), let’s hope that comes through.

Here’s a picture of me someone snapped, wearing a huge sweater over my “astrocrew” t-shirt unfortunately but I was freezing!

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