Archive for NAM 2011

Good Morning Llandudno!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 19, 2011 by telescoper

Well, here I am in Llandudno for the 2011 National Astronomy Meeting. The journey up yesterday was as slow as expected, but ran to its timetable, and I got here just in time for the STFC “Community Meeting” in the early evening. That was very interesting, and has probably given me food for a few other blog posts.

After that it was off to the St George’s Hotel for the RAS Club dinner, which was an enjoyable affair including several distinguished guests including John Harries, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Welsh Assembly, who made a short speech after dinner.

Getting back to the hotel – the Imperial, shown below – I ran into a crowd of astronomers and STFC bods drinking in the bar, so stayed with them until the early hours. Despite this, I managed to get up early and had a stroll along the promenade before a hearty breakfast. I must say Llandudno is looking resplendent in the spring sunshine. It’s rather more upmarket than I imagined, although it does seem to be frequented by the older generation of holiday makers…

Anyway, here are a few phone snaps I took this morning. I have to run now because I’ve got a session to chair at 9am and I have to find the room it’s in.


Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est

Posted in Biographical, Cricket, The Universe and Stuff with tags , on April 17, 2011 by telescoper

Well, dear readers, I’ve had a lovely day of gardening and watching cricket; the former hacking down the dead half a Forsythia this morning, the latter watching Glamorgan gain their first win of the Championship season by beating Gloucestershire in fine style here in Cardiff. I also managed to catch a bit of the sun, which has left me a bit woozy. I’ll have to buy myself a hat to wear on days like this. With fair skin and blue eyes, I don’t tan – I stroke.

Anyway, tomorrow morning I’ll be heading off up to the fine seaside resort of Llandudno in North Wales for this years National Astronomy Meeting (NAM for short). It starts this evening, in fact, with a wine reception and other festivities, but unfortunately the journey by train from Cardiff takes absolutely ages on a Sunday, so I decided to eschew the delights of the first evening and travel up tomorrow morning. On a weekday it only takes 5 hours from Cardiff to Llandudno….

I’ll probably miss most, and possibly all, of tomorrow’s talks but should get there in good time for the out-of-town meeting of the RAS Dining Club which will be held in the St George’s Hotel in Llandudno and to which a number of illustrious guests have been invited. On Tuesday morning there’s the session I organised on astrostatistics, which I am looking forward to chairing, and then the conference dinner in the evening. The following day I’m chairing a session on astroparticle physics too. There’s no rest for the wicked. Most of the rest of the time I’ll probably be at the numerous cosmology or extragalactic astronomy sessions or, more likely, in the bar. If the weather stays like this, however, I might wander along the beach and, rolling my trousers up and donning a knotted handkerchief, go for a paddle in the sea.

I’m told there will be wireless connectivity in Llandudno throughout NAM 2011 so I hope to post a few brief blogettes about interesting events, but possibly not tomorrow as I might not have time. The excellent RAS Press Office will no doubt be hard at it for the duration, so watch out for a stream of press releases. I’m not sure whether the mass media will be bothered to get off their backsides and travel all that way from their London offices, so we’ll just have to see how much gets onto the main news.

I’m not particularly looking forward to the journey by the slow train tomorrow, but am definitely looking forward to the change of scenery and to catch up not only with the astronomy but also with some old friends.

If anyone I’ve never actually met before who reads this blog is there, do please say hello! You’ll find I’m quite a friendly chap, really…

P.S. The latin quotation I used in the title here isn’t really relevant. I just picked it because it starts with the word “NAM”. If you’re interested, however, it’s by Francis Bacon and it means, roughly speaking, “knowledge is power”.