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Michelle Collins
I'm a Hubble Fellow in the Yale University Astronomy department. I study nearby galaxies to learn about their evolution, and the properties of dark matter. I'm also on twitter: @michelle_lmc

A bad week for women in physics, and beyond.

Michelle CollinsOct 09, 2016Comments
It’s been a rough week for women in physics. Hell, women generally. I’ve found myself cradling my head in my hands, dejectedly looking up at information displayed on my glowing monitor at work on multiple occasions this week, as I read about yet another blow to women in physics, instead of focusing on my own work. So, why has this week been so bad for me and my ladies-of-physics? ~  read more

Boldly going to Alpha Centauri?

Michelle CollinsApr 14, 2016Comments
A theoretical physicist, the creator of Facebook, and a Russian Billionaire walk into a press conference. Next thing you know, the internet is abuzz with the talk of an interstellar mission, wherein we puny humans will attempt to fly a teeny-tiny space craft roughly 25 trillion miles to our nearest stellar neighbour, Alpha Centauri. This ambitious project is the latest to be funded by the new ~  read more

What exactly does it take to remove an academic for sexual harassment?

Michelle CollinsOct 12, 2015Comments
About midway through a long drive up North this weekend with friends, I turned to my phone for a little distraction, going through the normal cycle of checking email, Facebook and Twitter. It was in the second app that I suddenly sat bolt upright and exclaimed ‘Holy crap!’, leaning forwards to fill my two non-astronomer, non-academic friends in on the Buzzfeed article all over my ~  read more

Why we should all be excited about water on Mars!

Michelle CollinsOct 01, 2015Comments
I know, I know. You've heard it before. NASA announces water on Mars! Didn't they do that years ago? Don't we already know all about water there? What's the big deal? Well, my friends, this time things are a little different. It's true: we did already know there was water on Mars. But the water that's been discovered in the past is ancient, locked up in ice caps or in the atmosphere, and not ~  read more


Michelle CollinsJul 15, 2015Comments
Humans, rejoice! Because yesterday was an historic day! For it was at 7:49 AM EDT that we finally explored the only unexplored world* in our Solar system: PLUTO! The dwarf planet everyone loves to talk about :) NASA's New Horizons spacecraft successfully completed its flyby of the Pluto system, and now we will get the clearest, bestest images of Pluto and its 5 moons (4 of which we've never been ~  read more

The robot we landed on a comet just woke up!!!

Michelle CollinsJun 14, 2015Comments
Hello everyone, and happy Sunday! And what a Sunday it is! Everyone, get ready for more awesome science to be performed on the surface of a comet because the ESA Philae lander is AWAKE!!!! Philae touched down (3 times) last year onto the surface of comet 67P, as part of the Rosetta space mission. However, it found itself far from its intended landing position, jammed under a cliff like feature. ~  read more


Michelle CollinsMay 16, 2015Comments
This morning, NPR featured an interview with a senior astronomer from Caltech, titled "'Playing Around With Telescopes' To Explore Secrets Of The Universe". So far, so fun! The goal of the piece seems to be to communicate a little bit about the science we astronomers do, the telescopes we use, why we do astronomy, and how we're more than just scientists (for example, it points out that its ~  read more

Happy Birthday Hubble! #hubble25

Michelle CollinsApr 23, 2015Comments
April 24th marks the Hubble Space Telescopes 25th birthday! I posted a little about the lead up to this fabulous event a while back, during the Hubble Mania tournament, which pitted some of Hubble's most Iconic images against one another for the privilege of being the greatest image. The winner was the Eagle Nebula (not the Crab Nebula, as I was hoping... not bitter...). To mark this auspicious ~  read more

On the 'benefits' of Postdocs

Michelle CollinsApr 10, 2015Comments
At the present moment, I am a postdoctoral Fellow, on my second postdoctoral position, and about to segue into a faculty position in the UK. This new phase of my career is something I've been thinking a lot about, as it will result in a fundamental shift in how I do research. Presently, I am free from any and all duties that are not research. I can work as I please, on whatever I like. Which is a ~  read more

The LHC restart has commenced!

Michelle CollinsApr 05, 2015Comments
Everyone's favourite* particle collider is up and running again after a 2 year break. During it's time off, the Large Hadron Collider has undergone a revamp, so it can collide particles at almost twice the energies it was managing before. The hope is that these higher energies will allow us to glimpse some new physics. Perhaps we'll finally see a dark matter particle? Or evidence for the theory ~  read more

Hubble @ 25: HUBBLE MANIA!

Michelle CollinsMar 06, 2015Comments
This year we will celebrate 25 years of awesome science, made possible by the Hubble Space Telescope. After some initial teething problems  post-launch in 1990 (the mirror was ground to the wrong shape, meaning the telescope couldn't focus properly), the telescope hit its stride in 1993, after the first servicing mission provided Hubble with some fancy space 'spectacles', giving it precision ~  read more

Scientists find evidence for a massive ocean on Mars

Michelle CollinsMar 05, 2015Comments
The amount and longevity of water on the surface of Mars is something scientists have tried to accurately determine for decades. Today, scientists from NASA released compelling evidence that Mars once possessed a massive ocean, that covered roughly half of its northern hemisphere. This huge ocean, containing 20 million cubic kilometres of water, mean that Mars was probably water rich in its ~  read more

Colour perception is FASCINATING!

Michelle CollinsFeb 27, 2015Comments
Alright, so first off, I don't *really* care what the actual colour of that dress is (I'd describe it as pale-blue, distressed bronze if pushed), but the whole debate is fascinating to me. Ever since I was little, I have thought and worried a lot about whether people view colours the same way I do, and how can we even tell? I have a pair of shoes I am CONVINCED are green, but I'm frequently ~  read more

Astrology and healthcare? No thank you.

Michelle CollinsFeb 26, 2015Comments
According to the Conservative Member of Parliament, David Treddinick, there is a simple way to remove pressure from the National Health Service in the UK: by including/prescribing(?) astrology and more homeopathic medicine. Now, you may think this sounds ridiculous, but Mr. Treddinick would argue that this makes you "racially prejudiced". According to him, your opposition to using astrology to ~  read more

The arXiv hits 1 million papers!

Michelle CollinsDec 30, 2014Comments
In 1991, Paul Ginsparg started an online bulletin board to post papers in a subfield of theoretical high-engergy physics for himself and a few hundred friends and collegaues. Now, 23 years later, this electronic bulletin board has  blossomed into the arXiv, an online pre-print server that publishes around 8000 articles per months, and receives over 10 million download requests per month. And ~  read more