Archive for Euclid 2019

From Helsinki to Maynooth

Posted in Biographical with tags , on June 7, 2019 by telescoper

So here I am, back in Maynooth once more, one more Euclid Consortium meeting over and one more coffee cup added to the Departmental collection..

Euclid 2019 is still going on as I write, but I had to leave this morning in order to get back in time for an Examination Board meeting this afternoon. The morning flight to Dublin with Finnair left at 8.15 (local time) from Helsinki and I was up at 5.30 to make sure I got to the airport on time. That means I was up at 3.30am Dublin time, so I’m more than a little tired. I hope the meeting doesn’t go on too long!


P.S. Next year’s Euclid Consortium meeting will be in Sitges….!!

Equality, Diversity and Euclid

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on June 7, 2019 by telescoper

So here I am, back in my hotel, after the second pleasant wine and food reception of the week – this time hosted by the University of Helsinki. I have to leave early tomorrow morning to get back to Maynooth so I’m not among those going for dinner afterwards.

It’s been a very satisfying meeting, in terms of scientific content, organization and even the weather which has been warm and sunny throughout.

That said I feel obliged to mention one less than satisfactory episode which happened this afternoon. Euclid is a very large consortium working on a complex mission. That requires certain management structures to be put in place, including how to deal with the many scientific publications that will hopefully result from the Euclid mission to be as fair as possible to everyone working on the various projects as well as ensuring the scientific quality of resulting papers.

This afternoon a very distinguished senior member of the Euclid Consortium presented an overview of the publication policy on behalf of the Editorial Board which included this slide:

Not knowing all the names I didn’t think twice about the various panels until at the end of the talk a member of the audience pointed out that none of the individuals named are female.

I wasn’t alone in being surprised that such a situation had arisen, especially since Euclid has a Diversity Committee. But what made matters worse was the apparently dismissive response of the speaker, which caused a sharp intake of breath around the auditorium, and left many with the impression that the Consortium needs to look at whether unconscious or other bias might have been involved in the selection of these members. The impression given may have been inadvertent but appearances matter, and I know I’m not the only person who was troubled by what went on this afternoon. I sincerely hope the Diversity Committee looks into this issue as soon as possible.

UPDATE: 21st June 2019. I understand that this issue has been looked into in depth by the Euclid Consortium and active measures are being taken to improve the gender balance in future, which is a very positive outcome.

The Congress of Helsinki

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on June 5, 2019 by telescoper

After yesterday’s murky and rainy start, it’s lovely weather this morning in Helsinki as I get ready to leave my hotel for the conference venue. It took me a while yesterday to find the way in, but I succeeded in the end to find a promising opportunity through the rear entrance.

After close of play yesterday the conference participants adjourned to the City Hall (which is about a 30 minute walk from Finlandia Hall) for a reception hosted by the civic authorities which was nice.

There was time afterwards to have a drink in a bar overlooking the harbour too. Drinks are rather expensive here – as are most things, apparently – but Helsinki is definitely a very livable city, nice to walk around but also with very good public transport.

I’ve been here a couple of times before, though not recently. The last time I was here was just for a couple of days, on a Scandinavian funding panel, which was very hard work, so didn’t get the chance to see the City at all so it’s nice to be able to wander around a bit.

It’s light until very late and gets light again very early at this time of year in Helsinki, which gave me a bit of trouble sleeping the first night I was here but I slept well last night and managed not to wake up until 6am (local time).

Oh, and it was my birthday yesterday too.