Archive for December 1, 2020

Arecibo Collapse

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 1, 2020 by telescoper

I posted recently about the decision to close the iconic radio telescope at Arecibo. Well it seems the end has come more quickly than anticipated.

The instrument platform (which weighed 820 tonnes), normally suspended at a height of 150m, has crashed down into the dish causing catastrophic destruction.

Fortunately nobody was hurt. The telescope is however a goner.

P. S. For bonus marks, calculate the energy released by the collapse.

Three Years in Maynooth

Posted in Biographical with tags , , on December 1, 2020 by telescoper

It’s 1st December 2020 which means that it’s now been three whole years since I started my job as Professor of Theoretical Physics in the Department of Theoretical Physics at Maynooth University, in County Kildare in the Irish Republic.

Until the Summer of 2018 I was working part-time at Cardiff and part-time in Maynooth, which required a lot of flying to and from between Wales and Ireland.  That situation would have been impossible to sustain during the pandemic for reasons of quarantine and also because FlyBe went bust. The timing of my move to Maynooth was providential in many ways apart from that.

I didn’t think it would take me the best part of three years to buy a house in Ireland, but owing to a combination of circumstances it took until the end of this summer to do that. Still, all’s well that ends well and I’m very happy with my home.

When I first arrived in Maynooth I stayed in St Patrick’s House (above), part of the Roman Catholic seminary on Maynooth University’s South Campus. I took this picture of the corridor I was on the night I arrived because it reminded me of  The Shining:

The arrival of the Covid-19 Pandemic earlier this year has been another completely unexpected development. I wonder what fate has next in store?