Thursday, January 8, 2009

Preparing Talks and Conferences

These first days of January are pretty busy for me. Next Monday, Jan 12, I have to give a pair of talks at the Escola Andorra de Segona Ensenyança de Santa Coloma, in what will be the first of a series that I will be doing during this year. These talks are for 2nd year students (13-14 years old), therefore I need to prepare them quite carefully to be able to reach them.

I feel it is more difficult to prepare a talk for kids or for the general public than a professional talk. You can assume, when you are among pairs, that they know as much as you about the subject, you can then concentrate on delivering exactly what you have been working on without caring much about what's beside. But for non-specialists, it becomes hard to feel at which level you should put the content of your talk, and it is hard to evaluate where that level is.

I go then through several drafts of the presentation and I try it on people around me (especially my wife) to see if they are able to understand at least part of what I am talking about. The subject of next week's talk is going to be "Research in Astronomy". I am going to talk about how astronomy has evolved in time, together with the observational and computational tools that we have been developping. I will try also to give the students a glimpse on how astronomers work nowadays and the challenges that we are facing at present times.

Keep tuned for more.

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