A Buzzing Beginning
My name is Erin, and I have an irrational hate of the colour orange. Has anyone else ever noticed the abundance of orange on the internet? This is one of many excuses I’ve given in the past for not beginning a new blog, as any hint of orange or orange-related colour (e.g. red) on a website has me running for cover. Alas, the time has come where I must confront my colour neuroses; this is a commissioned blog, being written for the subject WRIT7220 (Communicating Controversial Science) at the University of Queensland this semester.
As the subject name suggests, I will be focusing on controversial topics within cosmology. There are many wonderful spacey blogs floating in the internet ether; in my experience, astronomers are incredibly down-to-Earth (ha-ha) and enthusiastic about their craft, which in my view makes them perfectly suited for science communication. Hopefully my focus, not on the bright and beautiful but on the madness behind the theories and claims, will separate my blog a tad from the others.
What’s with the name? Firstly, it’s cute. Secondly, cosmology has picked up extraordinarily in the past twenty years, thanks to precision instrumentation. As a field, it’s buzzing. With respect to the topic at hand, could we say that the cosmos is buzzing with controversy? We’ll see over the next ten weeks of blogging! Finally, if teeny vibrating strings do make up the Universe, then our Universe must be buzzing! Obviously, I don’t know the first thing about string theory… imagine the Universe buzzing like a vuvuzela, though. Madness.
Why am I choosing to explore controversial cosmology? There are much larger and closer-hitting scientific controversies to report on; climate change, anyone? Although hugely interesting and highly important, most other sciences simply don’t get me bouncing around my room the same way cosmology does. I could probably go on all day about controversy surrounding nuclear energy; I have my engineering degree to thank for that. But it wouldn’t hold me; it wouldn’t fill my life with the sweet, sugary goodness the same way space does. In fact, it’d probably just get me angry. I’m writing about cosmology because I love it, and want to learn more about it.
Finally, what makes me qualified to write about cosmology? I have a Bachelor degree in physics (besides a BE with a dual major in mechanical and space, but that doesn’t help my case much), and I’m doing a Masters in science communication. I tend to hang around the astrophysics department like a bad smell (whether in presence or spirit). Most importantly, however, I *want* to write about cosmology; I want writing to be my link to cosmology, as I don’t feel I’m quite clever enough to do a PhD (although I’ve very recently written a review article on neutrino mass estimates from particle physics and cosmology, which I thoroughly enjoyed).
Hence, I present to you a step in this direction. This is my first attempt at a structured, focussed blog. I make the promise that it will be well-researched and opinionated. I will ask people cleverer than me to comment on the controversies I cover. And I hope that I will learn much from the wonderful writers at other astrophysics blogs. Welcome to A Buzzing Universe: yet another blog discussing cosmology.
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