Archive for Dublin City University

Stokes, Lonsdale and DCU

Posted in Cosmic Anomalies, Maynooth, Talks and Reviews, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on November 2, 2018 by telescoper

On Wednesday I took a trip from Maynooth into Dublin to give a talk at the Centre for Astrophysics and Relativity at Dublin City University (DCU). I’ve stolen the above picture, which someone took near the start of the talk, from Twitter.

My talk was very general, as it was not a specialist cosmology audience, and was similar to the talks I was giving a few years ago about the Axle of Elvis Axis of Evil. If anyone is interested in the slides, here they are.

Confusingly, Dublin City University (DCU) consists of the same combination of quarks as University College Dublin (UCD), but I managed to find my way to the correct campus via Drumcondra Railway Station (which is next to historic Croke Park). Anyway, there was quite a big audience and not all of them fell asleep (even though I did go on too long) so by that measure at least the talk was moderately successful. Thanks to everyone there for their hospitality during the afternoon!

Incidentally, my talk was in the Lonsdale Building which is right next to the Stoke Building. Both are named in honour of famous Irish-born scientists. physicist George Stokes (who was born in Skreen, in County Sligo, but spent most of his adult life in Cambridge) and crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale (who was born in Newbridge, County Kildare, but moved to England when she was only five).

Halloween in the Dark

Posted in Biographical, Maynooth with tags , on October 31, 2018 by telescoper

Although it’s Study Week here in Maynooth I am back at work for the morning and then this afternoon I have to go to Dublin City University to give a seminar. It’s Hallowe’en, of course, so no doubt there will be weirdly dressed scary people about, but one gets used to that at seminars. I just hope the talk isn’t an unintentionally horrible experience.

Anyway, it’s a whole decade since I posted my first blog about the real horror of Hallowe’en so I’ll take the excuse of a busy day to repeat it here.


We never had Halloween when I was a kid. I mean it existed. People mentioned it. There were programmes on the telly. But we never celebrated it. At least not in my house, when I was a kid. It just wasn’t thought of as a big occasion. Or, worse, it was “American” (meaning that it was tacky, synthetic and commercialised). So there were no parties, no costumes, no horror masks, no pumpkins and definitely no trick-or-treat.

Having never done trick-or-treat myself I never acquired any knowledge of what it was about. I assumed “Trick or Treat?” was a rhetorical question or merely a greeting like “How do you do?”. My first direct experience of it didn’t happen until I was in my mid-thirties and had moved to a suburban house in Beeston, just outside Nottingham. I was sitting at home one October 31st, watching the TV and – probably, though I can’t remember for sure – drinking a glass of wine, when the front door bell rang. I didn’t really want to, but I got up and answered it.

When I opened the door, I saw in front of me two small girls in witches’ costumes. Behind them, near my front gate, was an adult guardian, presumably a parent, keeping a watchful eye on them.

“Trick or Treat?” the two girls shouted.

Trying my best to get into the spirit but not knowing what I was actually supposed to do, I answered “Great! I’d like a treat please”.

They stared at me as if I was mad, turned round and retreated towards their minder who was clearly making a mental note to avoid this house in future. Off they went and I, embarrassed at being exposed yet again as a social inadequate, retired to my house in shame.

Ever since then I’ve tried to ensure that I never again have to endure such Halloween horrors. Every October 31st, when night falls, I switch off the TV, radio and lights and sit soundlessly in the dark so the trick-or-treaters think there’s nobody at home.

That way I can be sure I won’t be made to feel uncomfortable.



Irish Quantum Foundations

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on May 28, 2018 by telescoper

I flew back from Cardiff to Dublin this morning in order to attend a conference called Irish Quantum Foundations which is taking place today and tomorrow on the All Hallow’s Campus of Dublin City University, in Drumcondra (Dublin). I usually take the Hopper bus directly to Maynooth from Dublin Airport but today involved a different journey, via the ordinary No. 16 Dublin Bus.Anyway, I got here on time.

I’m speaking just after lunch so I’m not sure how much time I will have to blog about the meeting, but I couldn’t resist posting this little video related to a talk by Emmanuel Fort which demonstrates a purely classical form of wave-particle duality:

I’ll post further comments about talks if and when I get the time!

Evening update: two public talks, the first being by renowned physicist and blogger, Sabine Hossenfelder:

The talk ended with a plug for Sabine’s book, which is out soon.

After a short break we had a second public lecture by Nobel Physics Laureate (2016), Duncan Haldane.