Highlights from the Past Year in Astronomicca

It has been a bit more than a year since the summer of 2017 when I went full time in my company, Astronomicca. Since 2015 Astronomicca has been a part-time project but in 2017 I had the opportunity to make it full-time.

In this post I look back on the year that has passed and show you a selection of projects I have been working on. I hope it will give you an insight to my job as science communicator or even inspire you to engage as well.

….Or maybe just say ‘Oh, that’s what the job is…’

Writings – Blogs and Articles

I wrote articles and blog posts about astronomy and science communication. Besides the posts you find on this website, I also wrote two pieces for my blog on The Science Basement: one about my life as full-time science communicator and one about how science outreach can be inspired by the experience from the game industry.

For the major science magazines I did an article for Science Illustrated about how observations have changed the way astronomers view the Universe, one about Betelgeuse and one about Tycho Brahe for Videnskab.dk.

During Spring I was subject matter expert on an astronomy encyclopedia from Bonnier Publications. It will be released sometime within the next few months, I think.

Talks – Teaching and Outreach

I did more than 20 public talks and they were all about astronomy, primarily star formation as this is my field of expertise. I did my master thesis on star formation back in 2010-11, where I also went to Chile to work on the APEX telescope. I like to include practical experience in my talks and the photos from the Atacama desert are fantastic.

I visited two libraries, in Silkeborg and Herning. In Silkeborg I gave a sold out talk about the history of our Universe. It was mostly for children and young people, but I love how parents also ‘sneak in’ at these talks because they, too, are curious about space.

I also did talks for the Danish universities in Aarhus, Copenhagen and Esbjerg and visited local astronomy associations around Denmark.

The busiest season for talks in Denmark is between summer and winter. All future talks are booked via my booking agency.

Consultancy – Individual and Institutions

I did a some consultancies during the past year. Over the fall and winter I had an outreach project about Tycho Brahe at the Research Library at University of Southern Denmark in collaboration with their staff. The project was about their old books from Tycho Brahe himself and I help decipher the more than 1,000 pages of Latin and put it online. We also scanned the book covers for poison and found mercury. The project got public attention in the media, see here and here (both articles/videos in Danish).

I helped out individual scientists improving their online presence with new or updated websites, advice on how to create public attention on their work and how to present their research so their audience understand it (better).

Volunteering – In The Name Of Science

I engage in voluntary work in several Danish physics and astronomy initiatives.

For Danish Astronomical Society, where I am president and board member, I wrote a piece on Dark Sky Week and co-authored a Danish article about Dr. Sarah Pearson’s work.

In Danish Women in Physics (KIF – Kvinder i Fysik) I am board member and communication responsible. I made a new website for KIF and created an Instagram account, where I invite women in physics to share their daily life and work under the hashtag #KIFtakeover.

I became board member for Nordic Network for Diversity in Physics (NORNDiP), which is a Nordic collaboration. I also created a website for them.

Finally, I am responsible for Danish Astronomical Youth – and yes, I also built that website and manage the associating social media accounts, set up events, etc.

Media and Collaborations

Besides the DR interviews (radio, TV and article) mentioned earlier in this post, I also did a few interviews in other media:

  • TV2 News, Aug. 21, 2017, on the solar eclipse (45 min live interview + 5 minute news interview).
  • TV2 News, Sept. 4, 2017, on the Voyager satellite (7 min news interview).
  • Weekendavisen, July 27, 2018, on the bloodmoon (printed article only).

I had new collaborations within science communication, particularly I want to highlight the Alan Alda Center for Communication Science in New York. More on that later.

What’s Up Next?

Currently, I have talks booked until summer next year, so I will be focusing on those. I also am in the middle of setting up a new collaboration, which you can read about on social media in the nearest future (uhh, cliffhanger!).

Additionally, I am getting more frequent requests from researchers, who want help on their personal websites, improving their presentation skills and/or social media management.

It has been a great year! If you want to learn more or just say hi, you can drop me a message.

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