Archive for the Talks and Reviews Category

The Road to Armagh for INAM 2019

Posted in Biographical, Talks and Reviews with tags , , on September 4, 2019 by telescoper

In a week of firsts I now find myself for the first time in Armagh for my first ever Irish National Astronomy Meeting, INAM 2019. Unfortunately I can’t stay for the whole meeting as I have things to do in Maynooth on Friday, but I’m looking forward to the next day and a half.

By the way, I got here from Maynooth by bus, via Dublin. There is a direct service from Busáras in central Dublin to Armagh, which takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. The bus carries on from there to Derry.

I may post a few updates from the meeting about the science talks. Mine is not until tomorrow afternoon so I can relax and enjoy the presentations before then.

Here’s a picture of the auditorium. Garret Cotter from Oxford is talking about Gamma Ray Astronomy..


The Road to Galway

Posted in Maynooth, Talks and Reviews with tags , on September 2, 2019 by telescoper

Well, today is my first working day in the office of Head of the Department of Theoretical Physics at Maynooth University so I’m going to start as I mean to continue… er … by leaving around lunchtime.

Actually, no. I’m leaving after lunch for a very special reason: I’m getting the bus to Galway to give a talk at Galway Astronomy Club which is in the Harbour Hotel in Galway this evening.

It’s a three-hour trip on the bus (each way), so I’m leaving in time hopefully to have a look around Galway, which I’ve never visited before. Hopefully I’ll get time to upload a few pictures later on. Although I have plenty of work to do on the journey, I’m looking forward to travelling through such exotic locations as Enfield, Kilbeggan, and Athlone on the way.

Oh, and the talk is open to the public so if you’re in or around Galway this evening do come along!

Update: 14.15 I’m on the bus, en route and it’s raining.

Update: I made it to Galway a little bit late but still in time for a quick look around.

A bit of a rainbow..

The Harbour

The Venue.

Update: I’m back in the B&B on Nun’s Island. The talk seems to have gone down quite well. Thanks to Galway Astronomy Club for the invitation, for the very warm reception, and for the very interesting questions afterwards!

Lights all askew in the Heavens – the 1919 Eclipse Expeditions (Updated)

Posted in History, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on June 3, 2019 by telescoper

Here is a video of my talk at the Open Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society on April 12 2019. Was it really so long ago?

You can find the slides here:

Lights all askew in the Heavens – the 1919 Eclipse Expeditions

Posted in History, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on April 23, 2019 by telescoper

I completely forgot to upload the slides from my talk at the Open Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society on April 12 2019 so here they are now!

Just a reminder that the centenary of the famous 1919 Eclipse Expeditions is on 29 May 2019.

Loughborough Pride in STEM Research Showcase

Posted in Biographical, LGBT, Talks and Reviews on February 13, 2019 by telescoper

So here I am then, in Burleigh Court (a hotel on the campus of Loughborough University), having just had a fine breakfast, preparing for the start of today’s Pride in STEM Research Showcase, which I am very much looking forward to. I’m giving the keynote talk at the end of the day’s events and will be here for the whole day. I’m very grateful to the organizers for inviting me and especially to Claudia Eberlein, Dean of Science at Loughborough University for greeting me when I arrived at Burleigh Court.

Some readers may recall that I worked with Claudia Eberlein at the University of Sussex a few years ago – she was Head of the Department of Physics & Astronomy for a time, but last year she moved to her new role at Loughborough. It was nice to have a beer and share some gossip about goings-on at the old place. It seems quite a few of the people I worked with at Sussex until 2016 have moved on to pastures new. Perhaps I’d better not comment further.

Anyway, I travelled yesterday evening from Dublin via the dreaded Ryanair who operate the only direct flights from Dublin to East Midlands Airport. In fairness, though, it was a very pleasant experience: we departed and arrived on time, where I was met on arrival by a driver who took me to Burleigh Court by taxi.

Well, I had better get my act together for the start of the meeting. Toodle-pip!

Not to Belfast and Back

Posted in Biographical, Talks and Reviews with tags , , , on January 23, 2019 by telescoper

Well, today I was supposed to give a seminar at the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.

I was actually quite looking forward to visiting Belfast and to my first go on the Enterprise train service between Dublin Connolly and Belfast.

Unfortunately, although the train left Dublin on schedule at 9.30am (due into Belfast at 11.45), after about half an hour we came to a stop near Balbriggan and remained motionless for over an hour owing to a `mechanical fault’. The train eventually limped into Drogheda station after 2 hours and 15 minutes. Passengers were then obliged to get off at board the following service (departing Connolly at 11.20) which was due to arrive at Belfast station at 13.32. Since my talk was due to start at 1pm and finish at 2pm I asked the organizers what to do and, following their advice, am now on the 12.08 service from Drogheda to Dublin.

The defective train was shunted out of the way, but by the time I left the 11.20 from Connolly due into Drogheda at 11.56 had not arrived, so the onward train would also have been late.

Queen’s University Belfast, which I didn’t visit today.

Mechanical faults do happen, of course, but was reprehensible was the complete lack of communication between the crew and passengers. The decision to terminate the train at Drogheda was announced on Twitter over an hour before the train manager bothered to tell the passengers.

Apologies to everyone at QUB for having to cancel, but I really had no choice. I’ll try to reschedule it, and next time I’ll take the bus.

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).