Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowships

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 3, 2019 by telescoper

Before I go home to shelter from Storm Lorenzo I thought I’d use the medium of this blog to advertise the Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowships which have just been announced by the Irish Research Council.

These positions are of one or two years’ duration starting from 1st October 2020. The research relating to the fellowship can be in any discipline (including Astrophysics and Cosmology, hint hint….) and can be held in any University in the Irish Republic (including Maynooth, hint hint..). These positions are intended for early career researchers; applicants are required to have a PhD by May 2020 but not have been awarded it before May 2015.

The deadline for completed applications is 20th November 2019.

For further information, see here.

Anyone interested in applying to hold one of these positions in Maynooth is welcome to contact me privately for advice and/or assistance!

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More on Comments

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 29, 2019 by telescoper

At the end of the month I usually give the blog a bit of a clean out, especially the blocked comments that have accumulated in my filter. Here’s just a sample of the contributions from my admirer, Mr Hine. These are just a few of the dozens of comments he’s failed to post here. No doubt he’ll try to post some more gibberish when he sees this but although I know it makes me a bad person, I just can’t resist winding him up.

Research Evaluation

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27, 2019 by telescoper

I get quite a few of these spam invitations to fake academic conferences, but I have never had one before with such an obviously back-handed compliment about the quality of my research!

Eleven Years a-Blogging

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 16, 2019 by telescoper

I received the little graphic above from WordPress yesterday to remind me that today is the 11th Anniversary of my first blog post, on September 16th 2008. If this were a wedding it would be a steel anniversary…

To be precise, the graphic reminded me that that I registered with WordPress on 15th September 2008. I actually wrote my first post on the day I registered but unfortunately I didn’t really know what I was doing on my first day at blogging and I didn’t actually manage to figure out how to publish this earth-shattering piece. It was only after I’d written my second post that I realized that the first one wasn’t actually visible to the general public because I hadn’t pressed the right buttons, so the two appear in the wrong order in my archive. Anyway, that confusion is the reason why I usually take 16th September as this blog’s real anniversary.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes, and to thank, everyone who reads this blog, however occasionally. According to the WordPress stats, I’ve got readers from all round the world, including the Vatican!

To Edinburgh and Back

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2019 by telescoper

So here I am at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh waiting for a taxi to the airport. It was just a flying visit from Dublin to do a PhD Examination (for which I had to get up at 5am to catch the plane).

The viva lasted about three and a half hours but went very well and the candidate has only some minor corrections to make. I did, however, miss lunch so now I’m going to have to find something decent to eat in the airport. I may also have a drink!

The gate for my flight back to Dublin is 1K, which is pretty cold.

Update: somewhat to my surprise I got back to Dublin in time to catch the last hopper bus back to Maynooth. Which was nice.

September 1st, 1939

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 1, 2019 by telescoper

Today, September 1st 2019, is the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland that led to the outbreak of World War 2. Although I have posted it before, this poem by W.H. Auden seems a good wsy to mark the event.

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
‘I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,’
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Back to School!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2019 by telescoper

My calendar informs me that today, 29th August 2019, is the start of the school year in Maynooth. The local supermarkets are preparing in an appropriate manner: