Monday, June 19, 2017

TAURUS @ Python 101

Jackie Champagne leads the TAURUS python workshop.
Week one is now in the history books!  Last week, our TAURUS scholars saw an intense week of orientation, logistics, meeting with their supervisors, launching their projects, and possibly most important of all, they started to learn python.  Python is now one of the most useful programming languages for astronomers with the dawn of astropy a few years ago.  Because it's free, fairly user friendly and used by many professions, many young astronomers are choosing python over other programming languages that have been favored in the past.

Learning a new language is always hard.  Especially if it's your first programming language, python can feel overwhelming!  Definitely when you're installing it off the bat and asking the python path to just work without any headaches.  With the help of our graduate student experts -- Jackie Champagne and Sam Factor -- python was successfully installed on the TAURUS workbooks and we were ready to go for python 101!

Jackie Champagne, our local python champion, led three independent tutorial sessions on python in the first week of TAURUS to make sure the students were off to a good start.  She designed the material especially for folks just starting out in astronomy research with important tasks like reading in data files and plotting data points and histograms.  Our sessions were filled with great questions and were also well attended by other UT astronomers who might've wanted to learn python themselves.  Dare I say there were a few faculty members in attendance?

Well done TAURUS scholars on a fantastic first week and onward to eight more weeks of glorious science with your newfound programming skills!

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