Science at the Bar!

Astronomy on Tap Tour in DC
Friday, April 18, 2014 

This week, DTM postdoctoral fellow Jackie Faherty kick started the popular bar “talk” series, Astronomy on Tap (AoT), in Washington D.C. at the Science Club. AoT originally began in New York City, as a brainchild of Meg Schwamb when she was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University from 2010 to 2013. After Schwamb accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in Taiwan at the Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, the reins were passed on to Faherty’s close collaborator at the American Museum of Natural History, Emily Rice.

The AoT series’ primary goal is to give people the “inside scoop” on science. By bringing the presentation out of the lecture hall and into the bar, AoT strips away all the language, slides, and content constraints of normal science presentations and opens up the conversation for four scientists to relate and interact with the crowd directly. Presenters range from scientists, educators, writers, artists and more to give a diverse look at how different people explore the universe. Attendees and presenters participate in related games, giveaways and question-and-answer sessions while they enjoy a beverage or two and learn about cutting-edge science.

The esteemed panel at the innagural D.C. AoT talk included Faherty herself, a Brown Dwarf Wrangler, NASA Goddard Space Center’s Planethunter Michael McElwain, and two of Faherty's DTM colleagues, Volcanologist Diana Roman and Dwarf Planet Expert Scott Sheppard. Over 45 people poured into the room and overtook every inch of the space, proving this series will thrive at future AoT satellite events in Washington D.C.

This event included talks on:

  • Diana Roman (DTM) – “Eyjafjalla-whaaaa??? Making People, Planes, & Volcanoes Play Nice”
  • Michael McElwain (NASA) – “Finding Earth 2.0”
  • Jackie Faherty (DTM) – “Cosmos Debunked” 
  • Scott Sheppard (DTM) – “Biden Time in the outer Solar System”

For future AoT events and locations, follow Astronomy on Tap on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Click here to view photos from D.C.’s innagural AoT bar “talk.”


The next D.C. AoT event is planned for the end of May. More details coming soon.