Archive for the Talks and Reviews Category

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:


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?

Deep in Thought

Posted in Biographical, Talks and Reviews on September 2, 2015 by telescoper

It’s very hard work attending scientific meetings. A colleague snapped this picture of me deep in thought at a fascinating talk this afternoon. It only looks like I was asleep.


Adventures with the One-Point Distribution Function

Posted in Bad Statistics, Books, Talks and Reviews, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on September 1, 2015 by telescoper

As I promised a few people, here are the slides I used for my talk earlier today at the meeting I am attending. Actually I was given only 30 minutes and used up a lot of that time on two things that haven’t got much to do with the title. One was a quiz to identify the six famous astronomers (or physicists) who had made important contributions to statistics (Slide 2) and the other was on some issues that arose during the discussion session yesterday evening. I didn’t in the end talk much about the topic given in the title, which was about how, despite learning a huge amount about certain aspects of galaxy clustering, we are still far from a good understanding of the one-point distribution of density fluctuations. I guess I’ll get the chance to talk more about that in the near future!

P.S. I think the six famous faces should be easy to identify, so there are no prizes but please feel free to guess through the comments box!

Forthcoming Attraction: Dark Energy and its Discontents

Posted in Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on March 11, 2015 by telescoper

Busy again today, so just time for a spot of gratuitous self-promotion. I shall be giving a public lecture on Friday 24th April 2015 at the very posh-sounding Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. Here is the poster, which explains all. Will I see any readers of this blog there?


The Durham YETI

Posted in Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on January 9, 2015 by telescoper

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:


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.