Archive for December 10, 2019

Wine for signing

Posted in Biographical, Education on December 10, 2019 by telescoper

I forgot to mention a nice thing that happened to me yesterday. A young man arrived at my office with a copy of my little book Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction, which he had bought as a present for his kid brother. It turns out his sibling had attended a lecture of mine a while ago and must I suppose have enjoyed the talk.

Obviously I was more than happy to sign the book and write a small dedication to the intended recipient. When I did so my visitor produced the bottle of wine pictured above as a thank-you gift. It was a very nice gesture. I look forward to trying the wine on a suitable occasion!

I did tell him that there’s a new edition coming out next year, and the one he’d bought was very out of date, but he didn’t seem to mind…

The Eddington Eclipse Expeditions and Astronomy Ireland

Posted in History, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on December 10, 2019 by telescoper

After a full shift during the day at Maynooth University, yesterday evening I made my way into Dublin to give a talk to a very large audience in the famous Schrödinger Lecture Theatre in Trinity College, Dublin, an event organized by Astronomy Ireland. I have given a number of talks on the topic of the 1919 Eclipse Expeditions during this centenary year, but I think this one had the biggest audience! We adjourned to a local pub for a drink afterwards before I dashed off to get the last train back to Maynooth.

Here are the slides I used during the talk:

This time there was an important addition to my usual talk, courtesy of Professor Peter Gallagher of DIAS. He brought along the actual 4″ object glass used in the expedition to Sobral (Brazil) in 1919. I have previously only shown a picture of it. The appearance of the actual lens drew a spontaneous round of applause from the audience, and I have to admit it was a remarkable feeling to hold a little piece of history in my hand!

Obviously I was careful not to drop this item. It is on permanent display in Dunsink Observatory, by the way, if you want to see it yourself. I hope it made its way back here safely!

After the talk was over I was chatting to a couple of members of the audience when Peter Gallagher took this nice picture actually through the lens:

Picture Credit: Peter Gallagher

I look rather old in this picture. Obviously a trick of the lens.