Archive for May 8, 2012

The case for JUICE

Posted in Science Politics, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on May 8, 2012 by telescoper

Here’s a nice blog peace giving the case for JUICE (The Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer recently selected by the European Space Agency for its next L-class mission).

Well-Bred Insolence

There’s been a lot of chatter in astronomy circles about the negative consequences of ESA’s latest L-class (i.e. large) space mission selection.  JUICE (The JUpiter Icy moon Explorer) was selected over two rival missions – the New Gravitational wave Observatory (NGO), and the Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics (ATHENA).  In the current age of global austerity, one group’s win is several groups’ losses, and understandably the X-Ray and gravitational wave communities are upset at the choice.  Indeed, reading the comments section on astro blogs might make planetary scientists go a little pale. Not least the fact that ATHENA supporters have already delivered a 1450 signature petition demanding a rethink.  The fact that the decision making process has been somewhat cloudy doesn’t help matters.

It does indeed suck that this is a zero-sum game (in fact, probably…

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Experiment Marathon, Reykjavik 2008

Posted in Art, Books, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on May 8, 2012 by telescoper

A while ago I blogged about an event I attended, called  Experimental Marathon, which was held in Reykjavik Art Museum in May 2008. I was reminded about this for various reasons recently and managed to dig up a couple of pictures of my presentation, which appeared in the glossy book of the event that was produced later on.

As you can probably infer, I gave a talk which was basically about the cosmic microwave background. My “experiment” was a television set that wasn’t tuned properly producing a screenful of static. I pointed out that some (actually not that much) of the buzz was coming from the beginning of the universe. Pretty unoriginal and gimmicky, I know, but it seemed to go down quite well with the audience and I had some nice questions and comments at the end of my 20 minutes.

During the three days of the event I also got to meet quite a few artists, scientists and other luminaries whose names are on the list here.:

You can find one of the numerous reviews of this event here, which also includes quite a few pictures of various experiments including one that some might consider to be NSFW …