Archive for Bonn

Euclid2018: Highlights of Day 2

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on June 13, 2018 by telescoper

I’ve just had my breakfast so I thought I’d do a quick post before the start of play at Day 3 of the 2018 Euclid Consortium Meeting in Bonn.

Day 2 was largely devoted to updates from the various Science Working Groups, but there was also an important presentation from Jason Rhodes about WFIRST, which is in some ways a rival to Euclid, or perhaps a complementary mission depending on how you look at it.


There was dismay in the global astronomy community last year when Donald Trump proposed taking the axe to WFIRST but it was good to hear that Congress not only reversed his decision but granted it additional funds over and above the original request.

Among the SWG updates was one by Alessandra Silvestri from the Theory Working Group concentrating on how Euclid could be used to test cosmology beyond the standard model. She focussed quite a lot on Horndeski Gravity, which is the most general four-dimensional scalar-tensor theory that leads to equations of motion that have the form of second-order differential equations.

Towards the end of the day there was a session devoted to the award of the Euclid Star Prizes.

The individual awards went to Micaela Bagley, Carmelita Carbone, Teake Nutma, Bertrand Morin, and Stefanie Wachter; more details on the winners and the awards they won will be posted here. The team award was given to the Flagship simulation team. Coincidentally, I posted about the Flagship simulations last year. Much of the preparation for Euclid would be impossible without these simulations, and the award of a prize to the team is very well justified.

The day finished with short talks from each of the prizewinners. That brought to the end two days of plenary sessions in the big hall of the Stadthalle. The next two days will be the `Splinter sessions’ which are held in parallel.

Oh, and one other thing: the 2019 Euclid Consortium Meeting will be held in Helsinki from June 4-7. Looks like I’ll be spending my birthday in Finland next year!

P.S. Previous Euclid Consortium meetings were: Bologna (2011);  Copenhagen (2012); Leiden (2013); Marseille (2014);  Lausanne (2015); Lisbon (2016); and London (2017).

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Bad Godesberg Goody Bag

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on June 12, 2018 by telescoper

So here I am, then, at the start of Day 2 of Euclid 2018 in Bad Godesberg. The morning session contains a number of talks giving updates from the various Science Working Groups related to Euclid. After yesterday’s talks had finished I checked into my hotel which is nice, and then headed off via the Stadtbahn (local underground system) to a pleasant reception of drinks and nibbles in the University of Bonn. I’m very impressed with the local public transport, by the way. With my hotel booking I received a pass giving free unlimited on all buses, trams, overground and underground trains in the area. I’ll post more about the meeting later if I get time, but in the meantime I thought I’d show the contents of the conference Goody Bag: I’ve got quite a collection of conference bags that I’ve accumulated over the years, but this is the first one I’ve got that’s a lurid green colour. There’s a mug and a bag of Haribo sweets (which, I’m told, originate in Bonn). There is also a book which I looked at last night. I found it rather lacking in both plot and character development, but that is largely attributable to the fact that all the pages are blank. The final item, which I originally thought was some form of specimen jar, turns out to be a glass for Kölsch, a kind of beer brewed in Cologne.

 

Not Bad Godesberg

Posted in Biographical, Cricket with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2018 by telescoper

Well, dear Readers, at this time I was supposed to be in Bad Godesberg, a municipal district of Bonn, in southern North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany for the 2018 Euclid Consortium Meeting which starts there tomorrow morning. To make sure I didn’t miss the opening sessions I booked a flight to Bonn/Cologne Airport from Heathrow at 8.50am today, and took the National Express Coach from Cardiff at 3.15am in order to make sure I arrived in good time for the flight.

Unfortunately, only 15 minutes after the Coach started on its way I got a text from the airline (a budget subsidiary of Lufthansa called `Eurowings’) had been cancelled. This was either to do with a strike of French Air Traffic Controllers or Thunderstorms; they never really got their story right. After a number of abortive attempts to rebook my flight using the coach’s wifi (e.g. to Frankfurt, whence by train to Bonn). I was advised that the system was overloaded and I should rebook at the airport.

Arriving at Heathrow Terminal 2 at 6.30, there was already a long line at the ticketing desk for Lufthansa/Eurowings. It got longer and longer as people arrived to find other flights had been cancelled too. When, after about 90 minutes in a queue, I finally got to a desk very few rebooking opportuninities were available, all of them involving silly routes (e.g. flying to Berlin, followed by a four and a half hour train trip to Bonn).

Exasperated, I suggested I could fly tomorrow instead if they offered to put me up in a hotel overnight. I didn’t fancy going back to Cardiff just so I could get up at stupid o’clock tomorrow to repeat the exercise. I’ll miss the first session of the meeting, but that’s not the end of the world.

So here I am, not in Bad Godesberg, but in the Holiday Inn at Heathrow Airport. I was booked in, given vouchers for lunch, dinner and breakfast tomorrow morning, and given two vouchers for the shuttle bus to and from Terminal 2. The hotel is characterless, but clean and the food is OK. I arrived about 10am and the room was available for me straight away, so I was able to catch up on a bit of sleep before watching most of Scotland’s memorable victory over England in today’s One Day International.

Now that I’ve had my free dinner (grilled Sea Bass) I am going to get some kip before getting up for my free breakfast and free trip back to the airport. The only question remains: will tomorrow’s flight be cancelled too?