The Durham YETI

On Wednesday afternoon, after an important meeting that took up most of the morning, I headed off my train to Durham. Unusually by the standards of my recent experiences of railways, the trip went smoothly and I arrived on time. The cathedral was looking rather spectral when I arrived:

Durham

The occasion of my vist was the Young Experimentalists and Theorists Institute (YETI for short), a gathering of early career particle physicists, mainly graduate students. I was scheduled to give a 90-minute lecture on Cosmic Microwave Background Theory to the 40-50 folks attending the workshop. It was nice to get the chance to get away from budgets and spreadsheets for a time and talk about cosmology, and it was an interesting audience different from the usual more specialist crowd I get to talk to at graduate workshops. It’s good, especially for beginning research students, to find out about subjects outside their immediate research topic and I’m glad the YETI organizers appreciate that. On the other hand, CMB theory is a huge topic so it was difficult to decide what to put in and what to leave out.

Incidentally, 2015 sees the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background, and with yet more exciting results due out soon I’m sure the CMB will be in the news a lot this year.

I spent Wednesday night at Collingwood College, where the conference delegates were accommodated, and gave my 90-minute talk, starting at 9am yesterday morning, paused for quick cup of coffee and then legged it back to Durham station for the return journey back to Brighton. It’s a pity I didn’t get the chance to stay longer, especially because the second speaker of the morning, on CMB Observations, was Jo Dunkley of Oxford University who this afternoon is giving a talk at the Royal Astronomical Society because she has just been awarded the Society’s Fowler Prize. I can’t attend that meeting because of work commitments either. Sigh.

The train journey back to Brighton went smoothly and on time too. Wonders never cease!

Anyway, thanks to the organizers of YETI for inviting me. I hope the talk was reasonably comprehensible. Apologies to my other friends at Durham for not hanging around, but I really didn’t have time to stop for a natter or, more importantly, a beer or several.

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