Dr. Ragozzine’s Discipline and Research. The Astronomy Essay Example

Dr. Darin Ragozzine is an assistant professor in physics, astronomy, and astrophysics. He is an exoplanet hunter, since he tries to use his research and studies to find planets similar to Earth, and study them. He has also been an investigator on several projects funded and led by NASA, including the New Horizons Kuiper Belt Extended Mission and the ground-based Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

A Great Question in astronomy is, “Are we alone in the universe?” Dr. Ragozzine centers his work around finding a path of reasoning, and connecting these questions to key ideas. He broke down another Great Question in astronomy, “Where do I fit in my place in the universe?” He mentioned how we can use the Gospel and relate its concepts and teachings to astronomy and physics by looking at evidence in the Pearl of Great Price about other planets and proof that we are not alone in the universe. He quoted several scriptures and general authorities to talk about the connection between space and spirituality.

Within Ragozzine’s primary Great Question, “Are we alone in the universe?” is his purpose, using astronomy to explain our place in our world and help us understand what is around us. His research question, “How many Earth-like planets are there?” helps him on his quest to describe how the world works, and why it should matter to us. He specifically works on identifying, classifying, and finding the similarities and differences between planets in and out of our solar system.

Dr. Ragozzine described his research in astronomy as pure science, which doesn’t have practical value in everyday life. However, these questions seek to help us seek a bigger force than ourselves. Ragozzine combines several different methods to deconstruct his research. One of these is using advanced computational analysis to compare existing data about Earth-like planets and compare it to potential data of other planets with similar characteristics. Another method is mind mapping — he takes concepts and connects them to ways he can collect information about different planets. This can help us push the limits of our current knowledge and possibly develop unprecedented discoveries. 

Analysis of Dr. Ragozzine’s Thinking Patterns

The primary thinking pattern in Dr. Ragozzine’s process is convergent thinking. Convergent thinking consists of using logic to narrow down ideas. It is analytical and “realistic,” which would explain why Ragozzine tended to expand on each subject he talked about in his presentation. Convergent patterns require employing speed and accuracy to find solutions. People who use convergent thinking opt for recognizing previously tried out techniques and applying them along with collected data. 

When we look at the way Dr. Ragozzine chooses which questions to research, we can see a clear convergent standard. He doesn’t choose just any research question to investigate. Ragozzine’s purpose is to find questions that connect to each other. His goal is to use research papers and studies to help other researchers and professors find answers to their own Great Questions. By using one question to find a variety of results, he is narrowing down his focus with convergent thinking. One way he does this is by using current knowledge on the planets in our solar system and exoplanets to find more answers. Ragozzine improvises to find several solutions or create his own depending on the stated facts and information on the given problem. 

Dr. Ragozzine’s approach is unique because in astronomy, there are more questions than there is data. In convergent thinking, there are usually concrete answers, and only one or two possibilities. However, astronomy does not have one right answer, there is a range of possible answers that could take years to find, since our technology doesn’t allow us to travel to space to find those answers immediately. This is why he focuses on finding questions that can give us the most information.

The reason Dr. Ragozzine uses convergent thinking because it helps him organize his ideas and sort them, evaluating the pros and cons between methods of researching, and collecting information. Ragozzine has experience working on projects with other professors and research groups, which means he is familiar with using a budget and time restraints to come up with a desired result. Using convergent thinking allows him to act quickly and use his judgment to find attainable ideas. This way, Ragozzine can filter through ways of collecting information (like using statistical tables, computer simulations, or probabilistic distributions) that will yield the best value for his project.

Through looking at Dr. Ragozzine’s works, I also noticed more of his convergent patterns. He collaborated with 41 authors to write “Transits of Known Planets Orbiting a Naked-eye Star,” for The American Astronomical Society journal. Through working with other professionals in the same discipline, Ragozzine was able to take all of their questions and put together their respective research to solve Great Questions. Even with all the skills he has gained from years of education in astronomy, physics, and astrophysics, he involves other professors because they can come up with unique questions to merge with others, and crowdsource to focus on collective endeavors. 

Convergent Thinking in My Personal Life

Through analyzing Dr. Ragozzine’s convergent thinking patterns, I was able to find out that there are definitely ways for me to incorporate this thinking pattern into my own life. I was able to recognize that beauty can be found in the data, as Ragozzine said. One way I can incorporate this in my career path is to consider working with corpus linguistics. Much like Ragozzine used computational analysis to find the similarities and differences in data, collaborating with professors and other students on a corpus will help me know how to apply data collection into editing and linguistics. I can analyze words, their occurrences, and the similarities or differences between them. 

Usually in my own thinking, I am divergent. I take ideas and expand them, finding new problems and solutions to try and experiment with. Since my thinking pattern is opposite to Dr. Ragozzine’s, this is how I was able to identify his convergent thinking style. I can benefit from using convergent thinking to help me narrow my focus. For example, when I’m working on homework, instead of multitasking on several projects, I can choose one to work on first. I can also enhance my critical thinking by using convergent patterns, since I will be pushing the boundaries of my current thinking. 

As we learned from Ragozzine’s presentation and research, by seeing the world intuitively, and introspectively perceiving data, we can accomplish even the impossible through uncovering the mysteries of the universe.



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