Steinn Sigurðsson

Professor of Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University, Science Editor at Astrophysical Journal. Icelandic. Herder of Cats.

Why Fortran Lives

Julia is a nifty new language being developed at MIT I stole this plot from github, it shows Julia’s current performance on some standard benchmarks compared to a number of favourite tools like Python, Java and R. Normalized to optimized C code. And, there, in a single plot, is why Real Programmers still use Fortran…!

Distant Cousins: Kepler-186f

Big Eyed Beans from Venus – Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band! Cool. Literally Comparable to Mars in effective temperature, bit larger than Earth, probably slightly more massive than Earth (mean density could be lower), atmosphere unknown. Might well have extensive surface regions with persistent liquid water.

Purty Vacant

It goes like this… The Kingswoods Best Punkabilly ever finally on youtube! The Original “Pretty Vacant” for reference, for you young ‘uns…


A frightening fraction of my open tabs are some of Bee’s posts at Backreaction – so to save my browsers, I dump them here for further future perusal: Are irreproducible scientific results okay and just business as usual? Shut up and let me think Should the Nobel Prize be given to collaborations and institution? Women…

Hubble Plateaus

In times past we have lovingly tracked the proposal frenzy as the near annual Hubble Space Telescope proposal deadline approaches. As was noted by Julianne several years ago, and confirmed over the last half dozen cycles, the shape of the curve of number of submitted proposals as a function of time until the deadline is…

meta blogging

Notes on Academic Blogging – Crooked Timber pines for the Good Old days Old School Blogging – seeing a pattern here… Want an Academic job? Hold your tongue Is it Journalism or just a prepackage press release – Sunlight Foundation’s Churnalism tool.

Rocks falling from the sky

In the great tradition of tracking Amazing Norwegian Meteorite Stories, we bring you: Meteorite almost hits Norwegian skydiver h/t Stjörnufræðivefurinn Short Norwegian version…

The Curl of Space

Imagine you were a very clever ant, living on a large log, floating in a big lake… …a very large, deep, cold lake. Being a not incurious, clever ant, you contemplate the lake in its infinite and insurmountable vastness. Surely knowing what lies on the lake, or even beyond the lake (if such can be…

Winter is Here

Sparkling, stinging, cold Fine microcrystals of snow Dance of the sunrise

You are at university. Do you like stars, and stuff? We revisit old ruminations on career paths ’cause it is topical… Another rehashed blast from the past. Should you do astronomy as an undergrad? (the following is in part shamelessly cribbed from a colleague’s previous freshman seminar for our majors): Do you like stars and…