The rise of Big Data has shifted the focus of astrophysics from being object-driven to a data-driven science leading to the emergence of astrostatistics. Our new speciality section on Astrostatistics in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences aims to provide an interdisciplinary platform to this rapidly developing field of research that only started in the 1990s.
“Astronomers are experiencing the revolution of Big Data, with tools such as machine learning, but they are unfamiliar with modern statistics and Big surveys are feeding huge databases at an ever increasing pace making it harder to manage and analyse data,” says Dr Didier Fraix-Burnet, Chief Editor of the new section.
A new way to do science
The term Astrostatistics was coined in 1996 in the book of the same name by astronomy professor Eric Feigelson, and statistician Jogesh Babu and it took thirty years for astrostatistics to be officially recognized as a discipline.
“Twenty year ago when I started galaxies were still classified by eye and I realized that biologists faced a similar challenge two centuries earlier and came up with distance analysis and bioinformatics.
“This is the start of a new way to do science. Instead of using telescopes to look at the Universe, we now use algorithms to explore the data space made from the astronomical observations”, Dr Fraix-Burnet explained.
An open access section for interdisciplinary exchange
Dr Fraix-Burnet’s new open access section aims to increase the visibility of this new discipline within the astronomical and statistical communities and in other related fields.
Astronomical data are certainly specific and challenging, fostering interest in the statisticians, but it is always surprising to see how other disciplines sometimes have developed solutions for problems more similar that one could think of”, said Dr Fraix-Burnet explained.
The Astrostatistics Specialty Section is now open for high-quality article submissions and encourages Research Topic proposals.
The first collection for this section The Physical Challenges of Astrostatistics is already welcoming submissions!
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