Archive for August 12, 2011

DEUS

Posted in Cosmic Anomalies, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on August 12, 2011 by telescoper

Well, I’m back home from Copenhagen after a very interesting and stimulating workshop called “DEUS” (subtitled “Current and Future Challenges of the Dark and Early Universes”). I just thought I’d post a brief message to thank the organizers for inviting me and for arranging such an interesting and varied programme, and especially for giving so many young researchers the chance to give talks (as well as some old farts like me).

Although I’d originally planned to talk about something else, I evenually decided to do a variation on the theme of cosmic anomalies, a topic I’ve blogged about at various times over the past couple of years. In a nutshell this was a quick overview of various features of the observed universe that seem to suggest departures from the standard “Lambda-CDM”  (or LCDM, for short) cosmological model, including the famous WMAP Cold Spot, the Axis of Evil, and various other statistical hints of anomalous behaviour in present-day observations.

To add a bit of audience participation I gave those attending my talk the chance to vote on what they thought about these – I was genuinely interested to see what this particular audience felt about whether the standard model is threatened or not.  I asked specifically about these in order to exclude other niggling worries people might have about LCDM from other astrophysical arguments, such as galaxy formation. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to repeat the poll here, so feel free to add your vote here:

As for the results of the vote during my presentation, I was somewhat surprised to see a roughly equal division between A and B, but there were even a few in C. I had assumed the vast majority would vote “A”….

Anyway, thanks again to the organizers of a fun meeting. That’s three trips to Copenhagen in as many months. I guess it will be a while before I go back again. 😦

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There is a pleasure in the pathless woods

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on August 12, 2011 by telescoper

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)