#9: Daniela Huppenkothen – Astronomy, Cosmology, & The Study of Space

Episode 9 – Daniela Huppenkothen

“[Standardized testing] looks deceptively useful because it compresses a person to a single number where they can say everyone above is useful and everyone below should be cut… I almost failed my undergraduate statistics class – and I now basically do statistics for astronomy… the big difference [in research] is there’s not a test where someone knows the right answer”. – Daniela Huppenkothen

Daniela Huppenkothen is the Associate Director at the DIRAC Institute of University of Washington, home to a diverse team of researchers in astrophysics and cosmology.

Before arriving at DIRAC, she has studied space & data science as a:

  • Moore-Sloan Data Science Fellow of NYU – a multi-dimensional and independent research programs with impact in several scientific domains
  • PhD recipient at University of Amsterdam – where she researched high & low energy astrophysics and the relationship between the two communities, namely “magnetar bursts”.
  • Blogger of Hackathons, Data Science, and Academia – Daniela takes on a number of issues and shares her wise life lessons along the way.

In this conversation, we cover a wide-range of topics, including:

  • The all-too-common (but remarkably important) mix up between astrology and astronomy
  • How data science has a place in astronomy, with telescopes more powerful than several hundred iphones
  • Frustrations with academia, a lack of validity when it comes to standardized testing, and how one learns to love getting harsh criticism
  • How astronomy is an exciting opportunity to build teams who collaborate in unexpected ways, and tie together multiple backgrounds
  • How Daniela’s academic outlook developed from open source – without necessarily realizing it in the moment

Enjoy the show!

Show Notes: https://ajgoldstein.com/podcast/ep9/

Daniela’s Website: http://huppenkothen.org/

Daniela’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniela-huppenkothen-0b44a97b/

AJ’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/ajgoldstein393/

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Enjoy!