Archive for Boyne Valley

Sunrise at the Winter Solstice at Newgrange

Posted in History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , on December 20, 2020 by telescoper

The prehistoric passage tomb at Newgrange in the Boyne Valley North of Dublin is about 1000 years older than Stonehenge. At dawn, around the Winter Solstice, the Sun’s rays penetrate into the inner chamber, as they have done for over 5000 years.

A live stream of this extraordinary sight took place this morning (20th December) and there will be others on Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd. This is a recording of this morning’s stream.


Quark Confinement and Excursion

Posted in Biographical, History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on July 31, 2018 by telescoper

Today’s the day that many folks here in Maynooth have been looking forward to for many months. It’s the start of the XIIIth Quark Confinement Conference. This is the latest in a series of biennial meetings:

Inaugurated in 1994 in Como, Italy, this series of conferences has become an important forum for scientists working on strong interactions, stimulating exchanges among theorists and experimentalists as well as across related fields.

The aim of the conference is to bring together people working on strong interactions from different approaches, ranging from lattice QCD to perturbative QCD, from models of the QCD vacuum to QCD phenomenology and experiments, from effective theories to physics beyond the Standard Model.

The scope of the conference also includes the interface between QCD, nuclear physics and astrophysics, and the wider landscape of strongly coupled physics. In particular, the conference will focus on the fruitful interactions and mutual benefits between QCD and the physics of condensed matter and strongly correlated systems·

A conference of over 300 people is a major undertaking for a small place like Maynooth and I hope it all goes well.The participants will start arriving today, and the conference will carry on over the weekend and into Monday (which is actually a Bank Holiday in Ireland, Lá Saoire i mí Lúnasa). Yesterday the organisers were putting the finishing touches to all the arrangements, including putting a team of elves PhD students to work in the Department of Theoretical Physics packing the conference goody bags:

I’m not really involved in this meeting, as it’s not really on my subject, though I plan to drop in on some of the talks. I have, however, volunteered to go along as a kind of escort (so to speak) with one of the excursions on Saturday. I’ll be going with group C, which is doing a tour of the Boyne Valley, taking in the prehistoric tomb complex at Knowth. I only found out yesterday that the local organisers were short of a `responsible adult’ to go with this group but I was delighted to be asked to step in, as the prehistory of this part of Ireland has become a fascination for me since I arrived here. The Knowth complex is probably not as ancient as the perhaps more famous Newgrange site, but the whole area of the Boyne valley is incredibly rich in neolithic remains that connect directly to Ireland’s mythic past. I hope that (a) I manage to shake off the cold I’ve been struggling with since last week before Saturday, (b) the weather’s reasonable and (c) I remember to take my good camera!