Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Charting Astronomers


*snort* hrmph! wha? Whozzere? Oh, sorry. I was sleeping for a bit. Sorry about that. It happens from time to time. Usually during a busy/stressful period I tend to let such things as blogs fall into neglect, then drag my feet when it comes to getting them running again.

In any case, what better time to get started than during a rather well publicized space weather storm (though I will get to that eventually.)

First, a rather neat picture I found on Phil Plait's excellent blog that charts astronomers' careers based on publications and "fame" (as calculated by a Google search.)

It is remarkable that, even though he dedicated so much time to public outreach and education, Carl Sagan could still be involved in so much science. Then again, these are not first author papers (as Phil Plait admits to having only two of those), so it is likely that he was put on many either as part of a spacecraft mission PI (primary investigator) or just to beef up paper credentials.

Incidentally, and mostly to satisfy my own curiosity, I would fall in the main career sequence/dark astronomer range with about 15 papers (four first author, one single author- suck it, Plait!) but likely very low on the media impact scale. My name is more common that I would care to admit, so my Google results are quite muddy. Additionally, I am NOT an astronomer, but a space scientist/plasma physicist, so the paper scale may not be weighted equally.

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