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The poster set-up lurks behind Dan Stinebring (in baseball cap) and the students: Joaquin Espinoza Goodman, Mark Kramer, Kate Becker, and Jim Sheckard. Terry Flores, former benefits technician in the Department of Human Resources, designed the T-shirts. The fronts say Oberlin Pulsar Team: American Astronomical Society Centennial Meeting Chicago IL May 30 to June 3, 1999.

4 Oberlin Students Give Flashy Presentation at American Astronomical Society Annual Meeting

By Betty Gabrielli


JUNE 9, 1999--Four Oberlin physics majors gave a poster presentation at the 194th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Chicago May 30-June 3.

The students--Kate Becker, Mark Kramer, Joaquin Espinoza Goodman (rising juniors from, respectively, Huntington Woods, Michigan; Gates Mills, Ohio; and Eugene, Oregon) and Jim Sheckard (a rising senior from Media, Pennsylvania)--attended the meeting with their mentor Dan Stinebring, associate professor of physics.

The presentation made use of new data they and Stinebring collected with remote-sensing instruments at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico during 1999 Winter Term. The team processed the information--on spectra observations of nearby pulsars--during spring semester.

Poster presentations are steppingstones to publishing, Stinebring says: Meeting a deadline focuses thinking and forces synthesis and visual presentation of the raw data.

On hand to answer questions and explain their findings at the meeting, the students also interacted professionally with astronomers from all over the country.

"I put a gag on myself so that they could get the experience," says Dan.

Stinebring's instructions to the students about the presentation were "Make it visually interesting," he says.

"They took the hint and came up with all sorts of creative ideas--a flashing pulsar in the display, colored yarn, cotton balls, and other do-dads to indicate clumps of stuff in the interstellar gas--that were visually interesting and informative. It worked! We had a lot of visitors during the day, and the students did an excellent job explaining the work to them."





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