By Patricia Daukantas
Last month, OSA’s 93rd annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO), featured more social networking than any of its predecessors. This week, however, a group of astronomers is holding a meeting devoted just to social networking and “Web 2.0” activities within that branch of science.
The second-ever .Astronomy (pronounced “dot-astronomy”) conference started today at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Building on last year’s gathering in Cardiff, Wales, the participants are talking about new ways of communicating astronomical science to the public, ranging from online robotic telescopes to the large image collections of Google Sky and Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope to the communications media of blogging, podcasting and the Twitterverse. Morning conference sessions are even being streamed on live video (European time).
(Incidentally, one Twitter member, @ninajansen, posted that she had just bought a Galileoscope as her first-ever telescope, even though her Ph.D. is in astronomy.)
After I read over the .Astronomy 2009 press release this morning, I was wondering what form a “.Optics” conference would take. How excited are you and your colleagues over the new social media? Do you blog, tweet or post on Facebook? Do you follow any optics- or photonics-related blogs, and if so, which ones? I know that OSA Fellow Pablo Artal blogs in both English and Spanish. The Florida Photonics Cluster, mentioned in my November 2009 Optics Innovations column, also has a blog.
What kinds of social media assist you in your optical science or engineering career? Please comment on this blog or on OPN’s “fan” page on Facebook.