About the Dark Matter Sheep

My name is Edward Gomez and I’m an astronomer.

The name Dark Matter Sheep came from a podcast that I was writing about cosmology and the scary things in the Universe. The name of the episode was going to be – ‘Do comologists dream of dark matter sheep?’ to parody the Philip K. Dick novel, Do androids dream of electric sheep? (which was made into the, in some ways disappointing, film Blade Runner).

I have many opinions and I have divulged them on the internet since I could first beg, borrow and steal webspace in about 1997. I have a degree in astrophysics and a PhD in theoretical fluid dynamics of the outflow from young, hot (but not nubile) stars – don’t snigger when I tell you we call it ‘wind’.

I found elements of the research community I belonged to, small as it was, to be bitchy, and quite unfriendly to outsiders and people who are not willing to be deferential to the ‘revered’ fat cats at the top. I left research and have been very happy in the field of public outreach since 2005.

What I do during the day

I am the education director for Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network who are building the largest network of robotically controlled telescope the world has ever seen! Its a massive undertaking, but is very exciting and has really great prospects for anyone who is interested in astronomy – because the network will be open for anyone to use. Thats right anyone, you, your family, the baker down the street, people in the Australian outback, maybe even the odd politician!

I am part of .astronomy (or dot astronomy) a group of young astronomers who are interested in doing research and outreach in interesting ways. These interesting ways usually involve the internet (like podcasting, blogging and cloud-computing) and new technologies.

I appear regularly on the BBC Radio Wales science programme, Science Cafe. Give it a shot Sunday of a Sunday evening and you might hear me talking about the similarity between exoplanets and Goldilocks, dropping asteroids on the Big Brother house or NASA’s 7 minutes of terror.

I have appeared on the judging panel for the regional heats of the Debating Matters competition, run by the Institute of Ideas. I really enjoy a good argument and was very keen on debating at school, so I fully support young people who want to use their minds to tease out different ideas, instead of taking the obvious line.

Outside work

You might have realised that I love singing (from all the recordings on the website). I am a proud member of Welsh Camerata who enjoy singing Early Music in South Wales, under the effervescant direction of Andrew Wilson-Dickson. I also play the oboe, piano and try very hard not to make the lute sound too awful.

My beautiful wife is an astronomer too (she’s a proper one – goes to Hawaii and everything). Have a look at her website.

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