Archive for the Talks and Reviews Category

Stokes, Lonsdale and DCU

Posted in Cosmic Anomalies, Maynooth, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on November 2, 2018 by telescoper

On Wednesday I took a trip from Maynooth into Dublin to give a talk at the Centre for Astrophysics and Relativity at Dublin City University (DCU). I’ve stolen the above picture, which someone took near the start of the talk, from Twitter.

My talk was very general, as it was not a specialist cosmology audience, and was similar to the talks I was giving a few years ago about the Axle of Elvis Axis of Evil. If anyone is interested in the slides, here they are.

Confusingly, Dublin City University (DCU) consists of the same combination of quarks as University College Dublin (UCD), but I managed to find my way to the correct campus via Drumcondra Railway Station (which is next to historic Croke Park). Anyway, there was quite a big audience and not all of them fell asleep (even though I did go on too long) so by that measure at least the talk was moderately successful. Thanks to everyone there for their hospitality during the afternoon!

Incidentally, my talk was in the Lonsdale Building which is right next to the Stoke Building. Both are named in honour of famous Irish-born scientists. physicist George Stokes (who was born in Skreen, in County Sligo, but spent most of his adult life in Cambridge) and crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale (who was born in Newbridge, County Kildare, but moved to England when she was only five).

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Post-Planck Cosmology: Day 4

Posted in Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , on October 12, 2017 by telescoper

So here we are at the end of the meeting, after a fourth and final day of wide-ranging cosmology talks. I did the first presentation at 9am. I won’t summarize my own lecture because you can find the slides here:

Here are two pictures of me in action:

me_2

me_1

After that we had, amongst others, invited talks by Subhabrata Majumdar on the eROSITA all-sky X-ray survey and Somak Raychaudhury (Director of IUCAA) on large-scale structures in the local universe, Kandu Subramanian on primordial magnetic fields and Anvar Shukurov on Probabilistic Topology and Morphology (a change to the advertised title). There were also a number of shorter talks of diverse nature mainly on the subject of large-scale structure and galaxy formation.

I have known Kandu Subramanian since I was a student at Sussex and he was a postdoc there. At that time he was working mainly on gravitational lensing. I haven’t seen him for quite a long time and was surprised to see that now his hair has gone completely white. That’s what happens to you if you work on primordial magnetic fields.

The afternoon session overran and I had an appointment for Skype call so I had to leave before the closing remarks, so let me take this opportunity to thank the conference organisers for putting together such an interesting meeting and especially for inviting me back to Pune after all this time. It has been very enjoyable.

Many of the conference guests have already left and some are leaving tomorrow. I am staying in India for a few more days, however. Tomorrow morning I’m going to Mumbai to give a talk at the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research. I have to get up early tomorrow for that trip so I think I’ll take an early night.

Cosmology beyond the Centenary of Λ

Posted in Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on June 6, 2017 by telescoper

I didn’t expect to be doing anything other than listening to the talks and getting updated on the progress of the Euclid project at this meeting in London, but this morning I was roped in to introduce a public event tomorrow evening, called Cosmology beyond the Centenary of Λ:
ECSM_public_evening_event_2

 

This will take the form of a dialogue/discussion/debate between two leading cosmologists taking a `big picture’ view of the state of cosmology now and likely future developments. I’m sure it will be very friendly so I won’t use any form of language that suggests confrontation but it features, in the red corner, George Efstathiou of the University of Cambridge and, in the blue corner, Ofer Lahav of University College London.

Incidentally, I posted some months ago about the fact that this is the centenary year of Einstein’s introduction of the cosmological constant into the field equations of general relativity in this paper:

cosmo

I recommend anyone attending this Euclid meeting and indeed anyone with a passing interest in cosmology to read that paper – it’s very different from what you might probably imagine it to be!

The Cosmic Web – my Lincoln lecture slides…

Posted in Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , on February 28, 2017 by telescoper

For those of you who are interested, here are the slides I used for the 1st Annual Robert Grosseteste Lecture on Astrophysics/Cosmology, given at the University of Lincoln on Thursday 23rd February 2017.

To Lincoln via Storm Doris

Posted in Biographical, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , on February 23, 2017 by telescoper

What a day!

This morning I set out from Cardiff to travel here to Lincoln for my public lecture. I took the 9.45 train via Birmingham which, after a change of trains in Nottingham, should have got me into Lincoln at 14.23, with plenty of time to have a look around and chat to people before the scheduled start of my talk at 18.00 hours.

That was the plan, but it omitted an important factor: Storm Doris. Fallen trees, broken down trains and general disorganisation meant that it took nine hours to get to Lincoln, even including getting a taxi from Nottingham because I missed my connection.

The strangest thing was that I never actually saw any particularly bad weather. In fact there was quite a lot of sunshine en route. All the chaos was caused elsewhere, apparently.

Anyway I finally turned up almost an hour late for my talk, but thankfully the audience had waited patiently so we went ahead with the lecture. I can’t say I was entirely unflustered after the journey but I hope at least some people found something of interest. There  certainly were some very nice and interesting questions at the end.

So now after a pleasant dinner with my host Andrei, I am safely installed in a charming guest house right beside Lincoln Cathedral. I certainly think I’ll sleep well tonight! 

Let’s hope my journey back to Cardiff is a bit less eventful. 

Cosmology: A Bayesian Perspective

Posted in Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on July 14, 2016 by telescoper

For those of you who are interested, here are the slides I used in my invited talk at MaxEnt 2016 Maximum Entropy and Bayesian Methods in Science and Engineering, yesterday (13th July 2016) in Ghent (Belgium).

Cosmology at MaxEnt in Ghent

Posted in Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff on March 3, 2016 by telescoper

It seems I am an invited speaker at MaxEnt 2016, the 36th Workshop on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods:

maxent

As well as talking about some of my own research I’ve been asked to include a bit of a review in my presentation. I haven’t quite decided what background stuff to include so thought a bit of crowdsourcing was called for. Anyone got any suggestions for important Bayesian/Maximum Entropy developments in cosmology?

If so, please offer them through the comments box!

P.S. Anyone know where Ghent is?