Over the centuries, many people have asked the question "What is WOPAT?" Now is finally the time to give them an answer. WOPAT stands for Weekly Organization for the Propagation of Astrophysical Thought. And what an organization it is. But there's more...
In the astrophysics department at the University of Chicago, we hear a great many colloquia, thesis talks, and lunch talks throughout the year. However, they're all somewhat formal, and for some of us, at least in the early years of our graduate education, it seems that they're not quite informal enough for students to feel comfortable asking any question that might come to mind. Also, we found that we lacked a good forum to talk informally with other students about our work and interests, and to learn about what other students are up to, throughout the department. To solve these problems, we wanted to set up a lunch talk and discussion series of our own that would be very informal, open, but still be a great learning tool for all of us, not only in listening to talks, but in giving them, and in preparing talks in things we might be interested in, but might not otherwise make the time to dive into.
The informal, instructional student talk series that we set up is the Wopat Student Lunch Talk Series, named after Tom Wopat of "Dukes of Hazzard" fame. It's actually a somewhat fitting name; Tom Wopat played "Luke Duke", who was a smart, down-to-earth country boy who was the brains of the show, as far as we can tell. Not a bad name for a down-to-earth lunch discussion series, at any rate.
For even more details, you can take a look at our Wopat ByLaws.
The 2010 Wopat Committee members are:
Uncle Jesee: Yeunjin
Daisy Duke: Sean
Boss Hogg: Jen
Crazy Cooter: Eric
Rosco: The entire first year class except for Sean