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Paper: Death to IRAF
Volume: 527, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXIX
Page: 501
Authors: Ispas, V.; Noel–Storr, J.
Abstract: The core of any research is the question ”why”. Why is the night sky dark? Why do most of the galaxies move away from ours? Why do we see so few baryons? But this curiosity shall be encouraged by our professors in every step of our careers' formation. One particular example is the usage of software like IRAF that eases our lives: put in the data, type in some commands and get the final data out. It seems that knowing the basic working principles of such a program are thought to be enough in order to satisfy the curiosity of a student. Why? Jupyter Notebooks offer a better alternative: they are a platform that enables the students to not only get the results out of their data, but to construct their own programs and thus to get a better insight of what their final data consists of. Since they support programming languages such as Python or HTML, their flexibility also allows the students to be creative in their work and to resolve their data in new ways - in their ways. This whole process of replacing consecrated programs with those made for or even by students themselves at times even on the spot, while time consuming, is also a direct improvement of their personal skills such as programming, team work (for bigger projects), data science and data analytics. Sure, IRAF may give some practical results, but that's not why we, the students, use it.
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