Well, .Astronomy, after all those months of preparation, you sure went by quickly. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, our 50-odd participants made for yet another super conference. It was just as much fun and just as exciting as previous years, but also very different. It’s interesting how the setting and venue of a conference really affects the vibe, and I think this was a particular plus in Heidelberg. Star of the show was the Haus der Astronomie, where we spent our daytime sessions – our local brand new galaxy-shaped building housing a full fledged planetarium, good wifi, and great spaces for unconferences and hacking.
For me what stood out further was the technical competence of the participants. The outcomes of the hack day were truly amazing, considering it only lasts one day. I wish I had this brilliant mixture of ideas and technical skills around me on a daily basis. I’m pleased about my recent progress in Python, but I’m still a coding zygote compared with most of the .Astro community.
A big theme this year was visualisation, and we’d invited two visualisation professionals to give a keynote talk: Julie Steele of O’Reilly Media, and Noah Iliinsky, visualisation consultant and author. Their talk was fab, and their presence meant that everyone ws giving a lot of thought to interfaces and visual appearance of their hacks.
Several participants have written about the conference and the hacks so I will just point to their sites:
Stuart Lowe (astronomyblog) – a great summary of the conference.
Fellow organisers Rob and Chris did an episode of their regular podcast Recycled Electrons (mp3) from the conference.
Pictures in the Flickr group.
I’ll add links or more comments as they appear…..
Finally, thanks to all our participants for coming along and making it a fab conference. I look forward to seeing some of you at .Astronomy 5!