The ADS: ASTRONOMY’S MEMORY MACHINE
Thursday, March 28, 2019
7:00 p.m. at the Southworth Planetarium
Presenter: Michael J. Kurtz, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Darwinian evolution is not causing people to get any smarter, at least not measurably. People have been getting smarter for millennia by using machines. Pens, printing presses, computers allow individual humans to record their ideas and discoveries for other humans to use. Modern technology now allows people to “remember” the work and ideas of millions of individuals, collected over centuries. The storage facilities for these memories are normally called libraries.
Astronomy’s digital library, the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) has been providing this enhanced memory function for astronomy researchers for the last quarter of a century. Free, and available for public use worldwide the ADS has been a leader in merging machine and human thought; it is now a central component of the astrophysics research process.
In this talk I will show how to use the system, with especial emphasis on its use by students, educators, amateur astronomers, and the general public.