On Wednesday afternoon, Eunkyu and I presented our poster on the Exoplanet Orbit Database at the undergraduate exhibition, an event Penn State holds annually to showcase students' involvement with research. Poster categories include physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, arts and humanities, and health and life sciences. We present our posters to the judges, and prizes are awarded to the top posters.
The exhibition began at 9:30AM, but our judging session was between 12:30PM and 2:00PM. I went at 12:30 to our booth, where Eunkyu was already waiting. Because the criteria asked us to prepare a 5-minute presentation, we had printed out our scripts. I looked over my words and questioned how I'd be able to say all of it and incorporate a lot of eye contact. When the first judge came to us, it turned out that the presentation did not have to be so formal. The judge studies chemistry and naturally had many questions for us.
Presenting the research was easy and comfortable. After all, we spend hours each week with the material. We explained what exoplanets were and our work with the database. I addressed the EOD while Eunkyu discussed TERMS. Impressed, the judge wanted us to notify her if our transit timing prediction is correct. It felt great to let other become aware of exoplanets.
Once the first judge left, we began waiting for the second one. I had a class at 1:25PM and had to leave early. Eunkyu presented to the second judge around 2 o'clock.
What was most memorable about this poster experience occurred while we were making it. We looked at our first poster, presented at LPSC last year, for a rough guideline. In both posters, we include a screenshot of a planet on exoplanets.org. The contrast between the 2011 screenshot and the 2012 one was huge. Seeing the growth of our database and the changes Dr. Onsi Fakhouri, our webmaster, implemented made me feel so proud.
Other than the fact that they are different planets, the most noticeable difference came about when I added reference and URL fields for almost every parameter. In the 2011 picture, you can see the star mass reference and transit reference fields for example. In the 2012 picture, those links are clickable from the actual parameters. Radius of the star was also a new field I added. We can also show asymmetric uncertainties for fields that have them.
In less than a year, the EOD and exoplanets.org have seen a lot of improvement, and we didn't notice until then. More is still to come, with fields for secondary eclipse in line hopefully soon.
This is Planetesimal's 20th post, and only two more are left until the end of the semester!