Archive for the Uncategorized Category

The Mother of Civilisation Library Project

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2018 by telescoper

When I was packing books at my Cardiff residence last week I set aside a few I no longer needed. This morning I put them in a parcel which I took to the post office and sent to the Mother of Civilisation Library Project in Sindh (Pakistan).

In case you weren’t aware, the Mother of Civilization Library is a volunteer organisation in the Indus Valley around Sindh, in the southern part of Pakistan. Their project is to help and facilitate a libraries program in Sindh by collecting books. They contacted me a while ago about making a donation, and I’ve finally done it!

If you have any spare new or used books that you would like to send to the Library program, I’m sure they’d be thrilled to receive them! Your donation could do much to stimulate and encourage the growth of learning, especially among the young generation of students.

Please send books to:

Rashid Anees Magsi, Project Manager, Mother of Civilization Library

Street: Sobho Khan Magsi,

City: Radhan Station Dadu,

Province: Sindh,

Postal Code: 76310,

Country: Pakistan

P. S. If you send a donation from the UK be sure to say that you are sending books – the cost is much lower if your parcel contains only books than if it contains other items of the same weight.


Royal Society University – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowships

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2018 by telescoper

It is now time for a quick public information broadcast.

Did you know that the Royal Society has teamed up with Science Foundation Ireland to enable early career researchers in Ireland access to the University Research Fellowship (URF) scheme?

This scheme provides five years of research funding (with the possibility of renewal) and has proved to be a stepping stone to their first permanent academic position for a great many scientists.

This scheme covers, but is not limited to, physics and astronomy. For full details of the scheme, see here.

The deadline if you want to apply to hold a URF in Ireland is 12th September 2018, which is just a month away so get cracking!

You could go a lot worse than applying to hold your URF in Maynooth!

Oh, and five years residency in Ireland qualifies you for citizenship. Just saying…

A Message for your Resit

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2018 by telescoper

It’s the time if the year for repeat examinations at Maynooth University and resit examinations at Cardiff University (note the slightly different nomenclature).

There’s only a couple of students taking my own papers but I will be marking a few other papers in Maynooth so here’s a message for all students taking resits or repeats over the next couple of weeks:

Summer Repeats, Removals and Research

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2018 by telescoper

For those people who think the summer is one long holiday for academics, I’m using a narrow window in my calendar to pack, and supervise the removal from Cardiff to Ireland of, some of these:

There will be about 30 boxes of books to ship. I have more than that, but I’m only moving my technical books for now; the novels, poetry, dictionaries, and other stuff will stay until I buy a house in Ireland.

I also have three or four boxes of old lecture notes. I almost threw these out when I left Sussex two years ago ago. I. thought I wouldn’t need them again because I was planning to take early retirement. Now things have changed and they might prove very useful.

In September I start to teach two new courses at Maynooth, one of which (Vector Calculus and Fourier Series) has similar content to modules I’ve previously taught in Sussex and Cardiff so hopefully I can use some of the notes and examples instead of starting entirely from scratch. That’s for students in their second year at Maynooth. The other new module is on Astrophysics and Cosmology for final-year students and I also have material for that. I’m looking forward to that as it is closest to my own research interests.

Anyway before I can start preparing for the new academic year there is the end of the old one to take care of. Coming up next week are the repeat (resit) examinations which have to be marked pronto so the relevant students know if they can continue in September.

And then there’s the small matter of research. I have two papers to write up {and one project which I’m stuck with) that I wanted to finish this summer .

Oh, and the new edition of my book Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction needs finishing off. And a publication for next year’s centenary of the famous Eddington Eclipse expedition. And getting the Open Journal of Astrophysics fully operational.

But, yes, it’s the summer holiday.

Now I’d better get back to work.

Setting it Straight

Posted in Uncategorized on August 6, 2018 by telescoper

I’m just posting this clipping I found on the interwebs here because (a) it’s funny and (b) I want to test the connection with the new page I’ve had to make on Facebook.

UPDATE: (a) it’s still funny and (b) the connection works.

From the Spam Folder..

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2018 by telescoper

Being a bit under the weather today, and not feeling feeling any inspiration to write an actual blog post, I thought I’d do a bit of tidying up, including emptying the spam comments folder, which had over a thousand items in it. Several of the comments that didn’t make it through the filter were from the chap who wrote this one, which features an impressive segue from the condemnation of gay sex to the value of the Hubble constant.

I haven’t read the “book” mentioned at the end of this comment. I wonder if it gives the units in which the Hubble constant is 70.98047? I ask because as far as I know neither the kilometre nor the Megaparsec were used in the New Testament.

P. S. My spam filter has now blogged over 2,000,000 comments on this blog; just over 30,000 have been published.

Hurling Today

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2018 by telescoper

This afternoon I had my first experience of watching hurling. I have seen clips of action before, but never a whole game. What a game to start with!

I didn’t actually get to Croke Park to see Galway versus Clare in the All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final but I did the next best thing, which is to watch it in a pub with a few pints of Guinness and a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd.

If you’ve never seen hurling before then the first thing that strikes you is the phenomenal speed at which the game is played. The sliotar (ball) can travel from one end of the pitch to the other in a second and the players have to be extremely fit. Brave too. This is definitely not a game for faint hearts!

Anyway, the game started at 5pm and for the first 15 minutes or so Galway were all over Clare, scoring a goal and 7 points to Clare’s solitary point. It looked like being a very one-sided game, but gradually Clare clawed their way back, so that at half time it was Galway 1-10 to Clare 0-9, a lead of 4 (a goal is worth three points).

The second half saw the Clare fightback continue, and at full time it was level scoring, 1-23 to 0-26. Extra time followed, during which Clare scored a goal, but it ended 1-30 versus 1-30. There will be a replay.

It was raining heavily at the end and both teams looked exhausted but it was immensely exciting to watch, even if it did make me late getting home for dinner.

UPDATE: The second semi-final (on Sunday) was also a cracker that also went to extra time. It finished Limerick 3-32 Cork 2-31. Limerick will play whoever wins the replay of the above match.