- Richard Feynman
I just read a neat HST result on dark matter on slashdot.org. I also enjoy peeking at Astronomy Picture of the Day to find out about stuff I don't know. Basically, I get my fix from the same sites I recommend to others curious about astronomy. So I'm not just a professional astronomer. I'm an astronomer fan when it comes to fields other than what I work on.
Rest assured, there is still a benefit to having a professional background. All ignorance is not equal. As a trained space head, I have the basis and context to rapidly get up to speed on topics within my field(s). Being an astronomer is akin to being a juggler... most days I juggle the same stuff I've practiced with.
Giving me a new astro topic to learn is like handling a juggler a banana, or a sponge, or a bowling ball. It takes us a bit to get a feel for its weight, balance, utility. But soon enough, we'll have it worked into our routine-- and a lot quicker than it takes a newcomer to learn from scratch.
Alex, the daytime astronomer