Archive for Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics

Homes from Home in Pune

Posted in Biographical, History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on October 16, 2017 by telescoper

Since I’m coming back tomorrow I thought I’d wander around this morning and take a few pictures of where I’ve been staying most of the last 10 days or so. First, this is a snap of the housing complex which contains my guest apartment.

I’m actually in the first building on the right. Here is the front door.

The faculty at both IUCAA (Pune) and TFIR (Mumbai) live in housing areas provided by their respective institutions, so they form quite a close-knit community. Some of the senior staff in IUCAA are housed just round the corner from my place.

IUCAA is on the Pune University Campus (except that it has its own entrance from the main road that runs along the Northern edge of the campus, where there is a security post. There are a few of these around the IUCAA site itself, so it is very secure and quite private. The campus is large with many tree-lined roads. At its heart, on a small hill, you can find this building:

This is (or was) the Raj Bhavan (`Government House’) and it was essentially the Governor of Maharashtra’s residence during the Monsoon season. Built in 1866, it was a sort of home-from-home when Bombay (the state capital) became too unbearable.

When I was last here in 1994, this was the Main Building of the University and was quite busy. Now, however, it seems to be disused and is in a state of some disrepair, the gardens also need a bit of love and attention. There are many new buildings around the University of Pune campus (including a modern administration block nearby). Since this building is a relic of the old colonial days it may be that it will be demolished to make way for something that better suits modern India. By the way, there’s a stone slab just next to the site of this building that displays the preamble to the Constitution of India, as adopted in 1949.

Anyway, this afternoon and evening promise to be quite busy. There is a press conference at IUCAA at 6.30pm about the gravitational waves discovery I mentioned a few days ago. There will be presentations before a viewing of the live feed from Washington DC then there’ll be a panel answering questions from the press. They’ve asked me to be on the panel, so I might appear in the India media, but as I’m leaving first thing tomorrow morning I probably won’t see any of the coverage!

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Return to IUCAA

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags , on October 8, 2017 by telescoper

This afternoon I roused myself from my slumbers and took a stroll around the campus of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA). You can read more about IUCAA here.

I was last here in 1994, at which time I was working with Varun Sahni on a long review article for Physics Reports. We didn’t quite get it all finished during the month or so I was here then, but it was submitted the following year.

Given that was over twenty years ago it shouldn’t really be a surprise that I don’t remember the place all that well, but in fact it has changed quite considerably with lots of new buildings. I’m not staying in the guest accommodation area I was in last time, but in a new part just round the corner. I’ve got a small apartment, actually,including a kitchen but I think I’ll be eating at the refectory most of the time.

Anyway, here are some snaps of parts of the IUCAA complex I did recognize:

There are four statues in the main quadrangle which is featured in the first three pictures. These are of:  Sir Isaac Newton (seated under the tree), Albert Einstein (standing with hands in pockets); Galileo Galilei (in the robe with arms akimbo); and Aryabhata the great Indian mathematician-astronomer. It’s quite hard to get all four into one picture, even from the roof!

Anyway, there’s dinner and drinks coming up at 7.30 so that’ll do for a first post. The meeting starts tomorrow morning and I’ll try to tweet/blog about interesting bits until it finishes at the end of the week. The meeting is called Post-Planck Cosmology: Enigma, Challenges and Visions, so I’ll try tweeting with #PPCIUCAA2017 as the hashtag and see if it catches on!