|Philip Cary Plait|
Phil Plait at The Amaz!ng Meeting on January 20, 2007.
September 30, 1964 |
|Citizenship||United States of America|
|Fields||Physics, astronomy, science communication|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan, University of Virginia|
|Thesis||Hubble space telescope observations of the circumstellar ring around of supernova 1987A (1995)|
|Bad Astronomy blog|
Philip Cary Plait (born September 30, 1964), also known as The Bad Astronomer, is an American astronomer, skeptic, writer and popular science blogger. Plait has worked as part of the Hubble Space Telescope team, images and spectra of astronomical objects, as well as engaging in public outreach advocacy for NASA missions. He has written two books, Bad Astronomy and Death from the Skies. He has also appeared in several science documentaries, including Phil Plait's Bad Universe on the Discovery Channel. From August 2008 through 2009, he served as President of the James Randi Educational Foundation.
Plait has said he became interested in astronomy when his father brought home a telescope when Plait was 5 years old or so. According to Plait: "He aimed it at Saturn that night. One look, and that was it. I was hooked."
During the 1990s, Plait worked with the COBE satellite and later was part of the Hubble Space Telescope team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, working largely on the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. In 1995, he published observations of a ring of circumstellar material around a supernova (SN 1987A), which led to further study of explosion mechanisms in core-collapse supernovae. Plait's work with Grady, et al. resulted in the presentation of high-resolution images of isolated stellar objects (including AB Aurigae and HD 163296) from the Hubble Space Telescope, among the first of those recorded. These results have been used in further studies into the properties and structure of Herbig Ae/Be stars, which also confirmed results observed by Grady, et al.
After his research contributions, Plait shifted focus to concentrate on educational outreach. He went on to perform web-based public outreach for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other NASA-funded missions while at Sonoma State University from 2000 to 2007. In 2001, he coauthored a paper on increasing accessibility of astronomy education resources and programs.
His first book, Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" deals with much the same subject matter as his website. His second book, Death from the Skies, describes ways astronomical events could wipe out life on Earth and was released in October 2008.
Plait's work has also appeared in the Encyclopædia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future and Astronomy magazine. He is also a frequent guest on the SETI Institute's weekly science radio show Big Picture Science.
Plait left the James Randi Educational Foundation as President to focus on a television project, "Phil Plait's Bad Universe" on the Discovery Channel. The three-part documentary series first aired in the United States August 29, 2010 but was not picked up as a series. He has appeared in numerous science documentaries and programs including How the Universe Works.
In 1998 Plait established Badastronomy.com with the goal of clearing up what he perceived to be widespread public misconceptions about astronomy and space science in movies, the news, print, and on the Internet, also providing critical analysis of several pseudoscientific theories related to space and astronomy, such as the "Planet X" cataclysm, Richard Hoagland's theories, and the Moon landing "hoax". The original website is now archived and can still be viewed.
In 2005, Plait started the Bad Astronomy blog. In July 2008, it moved to a new host, Discover Magazine. While it is primarily an astronomy blog, Plait also posts about skepticism, pseudoscience, antiscience topics, with occasional personal and political posts. On November 12, 2012, the Bad Astronomy blog moved to Slate magazine. Plait told Richard Saunders in an interview that "they [Slate] are very supportive... a new community." Revisiting old posts, Plait stated, "I've written about everything, when you've written 7,000 blog posts you've pretty much written about every topic in astronomy."
Scientific skeptical advocacy
In addition to serving as the President of the JREF, which promotes scientific skepticism (2008-2009), Plait has been a regular speaker at widely-attended science and skepticism events and conferences, such as The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM), Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS), and DragonCon. Plait writes and speaks on topics related to scientific skepticism, such as advocating in favor of widespread immunization.
- Plait, Philip (2008). Death from the Skies!: These are the Ways the World Will End. Viking Press. ISBN 978-0-670-01997-7.
- Plait, Philip (2002). Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax". John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-40976-6.
Awards and honors
- The 2007 Weblog Awards - Bad Astronomy was awarded "Best Science Blog," having tied with Climate Audit.
- In March 2008, Plait had an asteroid named after him by the late astronomer Jeff Medkeff. Asteroid 2000 WG11 was renamed 165347 Philplait.
- In 2009, Bad Astronomy was named among Time.com's 25 Best Blogs.
- 2013 National Capital Area Skeptics Philip J. Klass Award
Plait grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He attended the University of Michigan and received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1994 with a thesis on SN 1987A, which he studied with the Supernova Intensive Study (SINS).
|2012||Curiosity||Episode #2.12 - "Sun Storms"||TV series documentary|
|2012||The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson||Episode #8.184||TV series|
|2010-12||How the Universe Works||"Extreme Planets"
"Planets from Hell"
"Birth of the Earth"
|TV series documentary|
|2011||Captain Disillusion: Fame Curve Collection||Video short|
|2010||Bad Universe||"Death Stars"
|TV series documentary|
|Known Universe||"Stellar Storms"
|TV series documentary|
|2008||Naked Science||"Hubble's Amazing Universe"||TV series documentary|
|2007||Is It Real?||"Life on Mars"||TV series documentary|
|The Zula Patrol||"Larva or Leave Me/Egg Hunt"
"There Goes the Neighborhood"
|2006||Nova||"Monster of the Milky Way"||TV series documentary|
|2005, 2009||Penn & Teller: Bullshit!||"Conspiracy Theories"
|2002||Die Akte Apollo||TV movie documentary|
- "Plait, Philip Cary (born 1964-09-30)". OCLC. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
- Plait, Phil (2008-0-04). "Randi's big shoes to Phil". Bad Astronomy (blog). Discover.com. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- "James Randi Educational Foundation Names New President" (Press release). James Randi Educational Foundation. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- "Phil Plait". Samara Lectures. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Plait, Philip C; Peter Lundqvist, Roger A Chevalier, Robert P Kirshner (1995). "HST observations of the ring around SN 1987A". The Astrophysical Journal 439: 730–751.
- Kotake, Kei; Katsuhiko Sato, Keitaro Takahashi (2006-04-01). "Explosion mechanism, neutrino burst and gravitational wave in core-collapse supernovae". Reports on Progress in Physics 69 (4): 971. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/69/4/R03. ISSN 0034-4885. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Grady, CA; B Woodgate, FC Bruhweiler, A Boggess, Philip Plait, Don J Lindler, M Clampin, P Kalas (August 30, 1999). "Hubble Space Telescope space telescope imaging spectrograph coronagraphic imaging of the Herbig AE star AB Aurigae". The Astrophysical Journal Letters 523 (2): L151. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Grady, CA; David Devine, B Woodgate, R Kimble, FC Bruhweiler, A Boggess, JL Linsky, Philip Plait, M Clampin, P Kalas (2000). "STIS coronagraphic imaging of the Herbig AE Star: HD 163296". The Astrophysical Journal 544 (2): 895.
- Millan-Gabet, Rafael; F. Peter Schloerb, Wesley A. Traub (2001-01-01). "Spatially Resolved Circumstellar Structure of Herbig Ae/Be Stars in the Near-Infrared". The Astrophysical Journal 546 (1): 358. doi:10.1086/318239. ISSN 0004-637X. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Natta, A; Prusti, T, Neri, R, Wooden, D, Grinin, VP, Mannings, V (2001-03-05). "A reconsideration of disk properties in Herbig Ae stars". Astronomy and Astrophysics 371 (1): 186–197. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20010334. ISSN 0004-6361. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Dr. Philip Plait: Biography". Bad Astronomy. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- "Phil Plait". Sonoma State University. Archived from the original on 2013-08-26.
- Plait, P., Tim, G., Cominsky, L. (Dec 2001). "Space Mysteries: Making Science and Astronomy Learning Fun". AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts: A2. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- Big Announcement Part 1: My next book! from BadAstronomy.com
- "My Sooper Sekrit Project: REVEALED!". Bad Astronomy, Discover Magazine.
- Plait, Phil. "Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy: Home Page". Retrieved 2014-01-11.
- Big news: Bad Astronomy is moving to Slate magazine
- "24.Nov.2012". The Skeptic Zone. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Phil Plait at TAM 8: Don't be a Dick". James Randi Educational Foundation. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
- "Phil Plait - The Final Epsilon". NECSS. November 27, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
- "DragonCon - Phil Plait". Retrieved 2014-01-11.
- Plait, Phil (October 8, 2009). "Why I'm pro-vax". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
- "Best Science Blog — The 2007 Weblog Awards". Weblog Awards. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, and (165347) Philplait from Blue Collar Scientist
- JPL Small-Body Database Browser from 165347 Philplait from NASA
- McNichol, Tom (2009). "25 Best Blogs 2009". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-08-26.
- "Shadow of a Doubt". NCAS. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Sonneborn, G.; Pun, C.S.J.; Kimble, R.A.; Gull, T.R. et al. (1998-01-10). "Spatially resolved STIS spectroscopy of SN 1987A: Evidence for shock interaction with circumstellar gas". The Astrophysical Journal Letters 492 (2): L139. doi:10.1086/311106. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- "About Science Getaways". Science Getaways. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
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