The Epoch of Galaxy Formation, Durham 1988.

The previous old conference photograph I posted seemed to be quite popular, so I thought I’d try an even older vintage. This was also taken at Durham, but at a meeting entitled The Epoch of Galaxy Formation, which took place between July 18th and 22nd 1988. Appropriately enough, this one is in glorious monochrome. Spot any familiar faces?

30 Responses to “The Epoch of Galaxy Formation, Durham 1988.”

  1. Richard Ellis, Carlos Frenk, Martin Rees, Peter Coles, Howard Yee(?), Tom Shanks, Simon White, Jim Peebles, Bernard Carr/Paddy Leahy/Roy Harper (have you ever seen them together?), Maarten Schmidt, Bernard Jones.

    I know I’ve seen the chap between Richard Ellis and Carlos Frenk but one row back (with the thick-frame glasses and Bill Haley forehead curl) but the name escapes me now.

    Do we have the famous writer John D. Barrow to our right of Peter Coles?

    Who’s the new-wave singer with big hair and pentagonal sunglasses?

    Who are the two men with glasses to our right of Maarten Schmidt and the woman to the right of them?

    • Oh, and John Peacock of course.

      • John Peacock Says:


      • Almost 6 years ago. Tempus fugit. Better late than never. šŸ™‚

      • John Peacock Says:

        Phillip: Peter re-posted this on FB, hence the revived interest. It was a great meeting. The subject was so small in those days, and so youth-dominated: I’m not sure anyone in that picture was over 60, whereas most of those faces are now in that age bin, and they’re all still showing up to conferences.

      • telescoper Says:

        Yes, I posted it because I realised the near-anniversary. Lots of people must have shared it as it has had hundreds of views in the last 24 hours.

        What you say about the meeting is all true, but the awful gender balance is all too obvious.

        I think I gave a (short) talk at this meeting but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was about! I was still a graduate student then…

      • telescoper Says:

        The thing I do remember is at the end of the meeting there were various votes about galaxy formation, the results of which made no sense whatsoever.

      • “Peter re-posted this on FB, hence the revived interest.”

        That explains it. (I didn’t mean to imply that you search the web for yourself every morning in order to stroke your ego. šŸ™‚ ) Alas, I have no time for Twitter, FB, etc (and am not sure that I would spend time there even if I had it; especially FB has some priorities wrong, though astronomy is probably unaffected by that).

  2. Steve Warren Says:

    Wake up Phillip:
    Neil Tanvir, Neal Katz, Jim Gunn, Tod Lauer, Garth Illingworth, Josh Barnes, Paul Shapiro, David Vals-Gabaud, John Norris, Dave Spergel, Ken Freeman, Alan Heavens, Wal Sargent, Dick Bond, Hy Spinrad, Joe Silk, Carolin Crawford, Hugh Couchman, Peter Thomas, David Weinberg, Simon Lilly, Cedric Lacey, Gus Evrard, Jeremy Allington-Smith, Roderick Johnstone, Mike Fall, Max Pettini, Richard Green, Doug Scott, Ray Carlberg, Art Wolfe, Ken Kellerman, John Lucey, Laurence Jones and ….. the one and only Dick Fong

    But the tricky ones are the ones you question: the Bill Haley look-alike is Renzo Sancisi. The lady could be Anneila Sargent (I seem to remember she was there), but the others I dunno.

    • Right, Renzo. He was in Groningen when I was there. Favourite quote: “Sometimes, I doubt even the optical.”

    • I recognize most of the names and have probably seen all of these people at some time or another, but even with the names, at a quick glance I recognize only a few for sure (Tanvir, Weinberg, Spergel). Must have a closer look.

      We really should have a website with photos like this complete with captions, probably with an outline sketch with numbers and a key.

      At the Liege gravitational-lens conference in 1993, there was a group photo and just a few weeks after the conference emails were sent out to confirm the names. Most were clear, but there was one person in the photo whom two people were absolutely sure was their image. I don’t remember if it was ever resolved. At a gravltational-lens conference, two images of one person would be OK, but not vice-versa. šŸ™‚

  3. Russell Smith Says:

    Who’s the guy with the beard behind and to our left of Peebles in this one? (He’s in the “tests of inflation” picture too.) Sure I recognise him but can’t quite place it.

  4. George Efstathiiou
    Richard Griffiths

  5. Greg Wilson Says:

    Ken Freeman and is that John Norris two from Ken’s right

  6. Steve Warren Says:

    The new-wave singer with big hair and pentagonal sunglasses is, I think, the legendary poker player Keith Ashman. And a few more: Pat McCarthy, Adrian Melott, Will Sutherland, Silvio Bonometto, and I think that’s Raja GuhaThakurta at the front.

  7. Rob Ivison Says:

    indeed – the legendary bass and poker player, Keith Ashman, with Douglas Scott not far from him.

    • telescoper Says:

      Keith Ashman was Bernard Carr’s student. He went to work at the University of Kansas and I met him there on several visits, including once in 1997 when he had a party to watch the general election results come in. Midnight in the UK being early evening Kansas time, it was ideal. I was so excited that Labour had won that I went and got a tattoo of a red rose right then. Of course the euphoria evaporated when we discovered the true nature of Blair, but it was great while it lasted.

  8. Mark McCaughrean Says:

    A bit late to this and out of my personal scientific domain, but the woman to the right (as we look) of Keith Ashman looks very much like Cathie Clarke to me. I think she was working in this field in those days, in addition to star formation.

    And at the back, framed in a window on the middle left, is Jon Gardner.

    But I don’t think the woman to the right of the two spectacled men to the right of Maarten Schmidt is Anneila Sargent; doesn’t look like her at all.

    Then again, the compression used on the big version of the image is so strong, it borders on the impressionistic … šŸ™‚

    • telescoper Says:

      Yes, that’s definitely Cathie Clarke. I hadn’t realised she was interested in Galaxy Formation though!

      • Mark McCaughrean Says:

        Well, I had to do a quick ADS search to be sure, but yes, Cathie worked on galaxy formation back then. She was working on disks in various contexts and scales …

    • John Peacock Says:

      Mark: The non-Sargent person is Esther Zirbel.

  9. Who is at the far left (from our point of view), second row from the back?

    • John Peacock Says:

      The row assignment seems a bit ambiguous to me. Towards the back, on the far L, I see Lars Hernquist next to Douglas Scott. Behind him is Gus Evrard next to Maarten Schmidt. Behind them is Bian Yulin, who was visiting Edinburgh from China at the time.

      • No, even farther to the left. There is someone (who?) at the far left at the back with his head at the cross of the window beams. I mean the chap, dressed in white, between him and the one farther to the front with the full beard and glasses (and who is that, by the way?). He appears relatively young. I’m not sure if that’s a Zappa-patch beard or an artifact of the photo. šŸ˜

  10. Nobody seems to have mentioned Barbara Ryden, in front of and to the right of Bernard Jones.

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