Studying Gender in Astronomy Conferences: #NAM2014 Edition!

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Folks: A quick shout out for some data gathering to help with...

I should have posted this earlier, but if you are at NAM (National Astronomy Meeting) 2014 in Portsmouth this week, please help collect data for their gender study!

More details here!

Boys Named Sue

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I came across a graph I made last summer while at Microsoft Research, and thought I would share it on the blog. The data comes from the very cool baby name database provided by the US Social Security administration. In the past year a lot of people have picked up on this dataset for various fun purposes. I have repeatedly used it as a simple source to assign probable genders based on given names (e.g. in my ongoing Gender in Astro Talks study).

Some fun facts about the dataset:

  • For every year the dataset includes the # of males and females born with every given (first) name. 
  • Only names with at least 5 people of a given gender are included to help preserve anonymity. 
  • There are 1758730 entries, spanning back to 1880, with 91320 unique names
  • There are 28074 male-only names
  • There are 53305 female-only names

I love me some Johnny Cash (and Shel Silverstein) and thought it would be interesting to see how frequently people named "Sue" happen to be boys. The total answer is 0.4% of all Sue's are male. Here is the chart showing number of boys named sue over time:

As a reddit user pointed out, there are many more boys named Susan than Sue. But if Shel had written the song using that name, it would have taken on a different meaning...
"My name's Susan, how YOU doin?"

Starspot Animations

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Today I gave a short talk at Cool Stars 18, detailing some of my recent research on determining starspot evolution from stars in Kepler. A few people asked to see my animations from the talk, so I thought I would include a few of them here:

Here is the "logo" I made for the talk, which outlines the geometry of the systems we're studying. This shows dark spots rotating in/out of view as the star rotates, and a transiting exoplanet that zips past more frequently than the rotation period. This does not represent an actual star/planet system, but is simply instructive: