September 4, 2009

Stars In My Eyes

I went to the previously mentioned Star Party, "A Full Moon for Cancer," last night and it was all that! It was an intimate gathering of skeptical and scientific folks with a common purpose: to celebrate the wonders of science and the life and legacy of astronomer Jeff Medkeff (1968-2008), also known as the Blue Collar Scientist. We raised over $2000 dollars for the American Cancer Society because, as the elegant Maria Walters so aptly put it, "Cancer sucks."

We were fortunate enough to have two powerhouse astronomer/educators speak. Dr. Pamela Gay and Dr. Phil Plait. They were, as always, funny warm and passionate--infectious in their love of science.

If anyone ever tells you that scientists or skeptics are cynical cold-hearted bastards, well then that person has never been in a room full of them. There was more love of life and humanity and the wonders of the universe in the Bradley Observatory last night then anywhere you're likely to find.

I didn't know Jeff Medkeff, but he was a scientist and, more importantly, a fellow teacher. He wanted everyone to be excited by knowledge and was willing to share. He was an asteroid hunter and Phil Plait pointed out that what Jeff did, what all astronomers--and I would say by extension what all scientists and teachers do--is try to save humanity.

That's something definitely worth living for.



Dragon*Con is going on this weekend and I'll of course be posting my experiences. I'm mostly going to get to see more of these scientists and skeptics and explainers of all things awesome. Joe Nickell, Ben Radford, Richard Saunders, Seth Shostak, Steven Novella and crew, Eugenie Scott, Kylie Sturgess, and all the wonderful people of the Atlanta Skeptics who brought together last night's star party and are doing so much for the skptical and science tracks at Dragon*Con.