Archive for January 11, 2012

Away to Swansea

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on January 11, 2012 by telescoper

Just time for a quick post this evening, primarily to make a note of an enjoyable event that took place this afternoon. I long since gave up keeping a proper journal so the old blog will have to play that role.

Today a small group of cosmologists from the School of Physics & Astronomy at Cardiff University made the short trip to Swansea to meet with members of the Physics department there. The idea of the meeting was to explore the possibilites of future research collaboration. For historical reasons there is a pretty strong separation in Wales between research in Particle Physics and Astronomy/Astrophysics; Swansea does the former and Cardiff does the latter. However, cosmology is an area in which there are possible overlaps between some of the – primarily theoretical – research going on at Swansea into, e.g., Quantum Gravity and what we do in Cardiff, e.g. inflationary cosmology.

Anyway we decided to get together for an afternoon of talks by members of both departments to see if anything emerged as potential research topics. In fact, a couple of interesting ideas were discussed and although the main focus of research differs substantially in the two institutions we’re definitely going to get together again to follow up these ideas.

Although I’ve been in Cardiff since 2007, I’d never visited Swansea University before which, considering that it’s only an hour away by train, is admittedly a bit pathetic. In fact I think it’s quite weird the two departments don’t collaborate more in other areas too. I’m certainly very keen to see more joint activities than we have now, so hopefully this is a move in that direction.

Anyway, I’d like to thank Graham Shore at Swansea for hosting us this afternoon and I very much look forward to the planned return leg which will be held in Cardiff in a couple of months.

The Messenger

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on January 11, 2012 by telescoper

The thing, he said, would come in the night at three
From the old churchyard on the hill below;
But crouching by an oak fire’s wholesome glow,
I tried to tell myself it could not be.

Surely, I mused, it was pleasantry
Devised by one who did not truly know
The Elder Sign, bequeathed from long ago,
That sets the fumbling forms of darkness free.

He had not meant it – no – but still I lit
Another lamp as starry Leo climbed
Out of the Seekonk, and a steeple chimed
Three – and the firelight faded, bit by bit.

Then at the door that cautious rattling came –
And the mad truth devoured me like a flame!

by Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937).