Guidelines for astro-ph paper presentation


Interesting, important, and fun papers from all of astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology are published everyday in a variety of venues. As enthusiastic scientists, we like to hear about work from outside our immediate subfield, both for our general interest and to cross-pollinate ideas. The paper discussion at KIPAC Tea lets us help each other to find noteworthy papers that we might have otherwise missed.

Here are four simple guidelines for discussing papers:

- Place the paper in its larger context, ie describe the big picture.
- Focus on the most import result. One figure usually says it all!
- Explain the paper so that a first year graduate student can follow.
- Keep it brief - 3 mins would be just fine, thank you!


Frequently Asked Questions:

What kind of papers & press releases should I post?
- Hot new results
- New insights into important problems
- An overlooked gem from the prior months
- Fun and amusing tidbits
- Well written reviews that may be of interest to newcomers to the field
- Something odd or confusing that others might help you understand
- Your new paper

What should not be posted?
- Detailed and grungy calculations, observations, or experiments that only a few specialists will understand. If you can't summarize the paper in 3 minutes, then reconsider posting it!

I can't figure out the vox charta posting system. Help!
- No problem. Just email a  tealeaks (at) a link to the paper.

- Risa does great one-on-one vox charta tutorials!

How should I present a paper?
- We have a wide range of backgrounds in the audience. Assume only a first year (American) graduate student background!
- Present the big picture: What is the question asked?
Why is this question important?
What is the context for this question?
- Hit the major points: What is the basic technique used to answer the question?
What is the most important result?
What should we all take away from the paper?
- Highlight only the major figures: Most papers can be summed up in one or two plots. Focus on them.
- Keep it brief! Aim to present in 2 minutes, and no longer than 3 minutes.
If people ask questions, great! It won't count against your 3 minutes.

What things should I not do?
- Talk about intricate, complex details
- Describe every plot and figure.
- Forget to state and explain clearly what is being plotted [axis labels, units, what different lines are, etc]
- Forget to put the work into its broader context.

What if I just want to give a shout-out?
Did you read the abstract and nothing else? Or, is it a technical paper that a few people might find interesting? That's OK! Give it a shout-out: describe the paper in 4-5 sentences, and you're done. Interested colleagues can grab you for coffee to talk about it another time, or maybe someone else in the room can add something straight away.

What if a paper deserves more than 3 minutes?
Perhaps you just finished a new paper that you want to share in detail, but no tea times are available for you to talk. Or maybe a paper is really important and everybody should understand it. Email tealeaks (at) ! They can schedule you for a 10 minute block. This way we can control the length and pacing of meetings, and everybody who is interested in your presentation can plan to attend.

I am interested in a paper but don't feel able to present it at tea - what should I do?

You should email someone in the group to do it for you!