Categories: Competition , Guest posts |  Comments
In this first of a series of guest posts, Elizabeth Tasker writes about the how and why of her piece on cosmic chemistry, which was shortlisted in the 2013 Chemistry World science communication competition.
There are some stories that beg to be written. When you find an experimental astrophysicist building a star-forming cloud in his laboratory, there is practically a moral obligation to remind the world that there are no boxes for ideas.
Astrophysicists usually come in three flavours: observers (telescope kids), theorists (‘The Matrix’ universes) and instrument builders (hand me a hammer). We cannot typically perform laboratory experiments since putting a star (or planet or black hole) on a workbench is distinctly problematic. The closest we come to hands-on experiments is through computer models, which is the toolkit I use when studying the formation of star-forming clouds. However, Naoki Watanabe had gone ahead and built his own cloud in a super-cooled vacuum chamber. (more…)