Yesterday in Parliament

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in a rather muggy Westminster to attend a reception at the Houses of Parliament associated with an exhibition called Unveiling the Universe in all its Light which is currently set up inside the Palace of Westminster but will later go on tour around the UK.


It took me a while to find the way in. I lived in London for the best part of 9 years but never bothered to visit the Houses of Parliament (at least not the interior), so I was quite excited as, clutching my invitation in a rather sweaty hand, I eventually joined the queue to go through the security checks. That didn’t take very long, so despite getting lost in the corridors of power en route – it’s a bit of a maze inside – I had plenty of time to see the exhibition before joining the assembled throng in the Strangers’ Dining Room. There, surrounded by walls covered in expensive but tasteless flock wallpaper, I had a couple of couples of glasses of wine and ate some posh sandwiches while chatting to various astronomers, particle physicists and others, including a contingent of familiar faces from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

It was a coincidence, of course, that this event took place on the day that the Nobel Prize for Physics was announced; it was impressive that posters were already there celebrating the award to Peter Higgs. General opinion was delight that Higgs had won a share of the prize, but sadness that Tom Kibble had been left out.

There were upbeat speeches by Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts (who isn’t as tall as he looks on telly), Andrew Miller (Chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology), John Womersley (Chief Executive of STFC) and Lord Rees (Astronomer Royal). I think everyone present came away with a strong sense that astronomy and particle physics had strong political backing. Martin Rees in particular said that he thought we were living in a “golden age” for fundamental science, involving an exciting interplay between the inner space of subatomic particles and the outer space of cosmology. I couldn’t agree more.

9 Responses to “Yesterday in Parliament”

  1. Modern cosmology is forcing us to change our views on inner space of subatomic particles. Even the ideas of Einstein on outer space as well as the structure of atoms by Bohr and others in inner space are in serious contradiction questioning our methods of calculation in standard model which can not justify the CERN finding of Higgs Boson as that is different from standard model. We should have given thought to it. Standard Model may be defective with many assumptions.

  2. It can’t have been any good because Brian Cox wasn’t there! If he had been there would have been TV cameras following him around filming “Being Brian,” the BBC’s new science-reality series set for Spring 2014.

  3. Coincidence? I think not šŸ™‚

  4. Einstein mislead modern science by wrong assumptions and application of Lorentz transform and to day we are afraid that Nobel prize on Higgs can mislead the revision of science we are so much in need of.

  5. …its like having a mad old relative in the corner of the room – who randomly sounds-off every so often.

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