What been going on with me…

Once again an embarrassingly long gap between posts but, hey, I’ve been busy! I’ve survived the first ALMA proposal deadline, appeared on the same bill as The Flaming Lips and OK GO! (almost) and been formally awarded my Doctorate at the same time as a Nobel Prize winner.

Things that have happened:

ALMA Cycle 0 Deadline: Things got a bit busy in the 2 weeks before the deadline and I was occupied mostly with writing my own proposal and making sure the ALMA OST (which I’ve spoken of before) was running smoothly. People we’re submitting proposals right up until the last minute (literally) though thankfully all the proposals I appear on were in at least 30 minutes before the deadline, which for non-astronomers (or maybe non-radio astronomers) could be classified as early! In total 919 proposals have been submitted to vie for the five to seven hundred hours available. So good luck everyone!

Jodrell Bank Live: On July 2nd Jodrell Bank hosted an open air 1 day festival in the shadow of the 76m diameter Lovell Telescope. The line up included Alice Gold, OK GO!, British Sea Power and headlining were The Flaming Lips. I have to admit I knew very little about the Flaming Lips aside from ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ and ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ but wow can they put on a show! Lasers, giant balloons, a stage crowded with dancers dressed as various characters from the Wizard of Oz and of course the famous giant hamster ball the lead singer uses for crowd surfing. Couple these theatrics with projections on the the Lovell itself and you have an amazing show!

Prior to the bands starting a few of us Jodrellites did 20 minute slots talking to the public about our science and then opening the floor to questions in the new Jodrell Bank visitors centre. I was up first and its the first time I’ve recieved a round of applause before having said anything, I spoke breifly on massive star formation and my work with ALMA then did my best answering all the questions. I have to admit when I was posed a time travel related question I wanted to go and hide… thats very much outside my remit. We then hung out in the physics tricks gazebo demonstrating bits of physics with the aid of skewers, balloons, lemons, straws and potatoes.

I am hoping the event happens again next year and I’m trying to think of bands as equally suited to appearing at Jodrell as The Flaming Lips were… I keep coming up with two names Coheed and Cambria or David Bowie, I’m sure one is too big and the other too ‘loud’ but they would both be awesome and appropriate for appearing next to the Lovell.

The Yorkshire Show: Our annual pilgrimage to the Yorkshire Showground, for a full report see Kim’s Photos of Cows on HipHop.

Harry Potter 7.2: (or 7.5 … whatever) came out. Kim and I went to the midnight showing because thats how awesome we are… Thats right I said awesome!

The Young European Radio Astronomers Conference: From the 18th to the 20th of July the 41st Young European Radio Astronomers Conference took place at JBCA/JBO. It included 3 days of talks on a massive range of topics in Astronomy all from a radio astronomy point of view. The two stellar/star formation related sessions were of primary interest to me. But many, many of the other talks were really fascinating particularly those relating to LOFAR, that telescope is mind-bogglingly clever!

I spoke on the first day about some work which I will hopefully blog about again before too long (the paper is almost done). All that’s left to say is ‘Hi’ to everyone I met during the conference and a big ‘Congratulations!’ to the organisers for putting on an excellent conference!

GRADUATION: Something I have been looking forward to since I passed my PhD was graduation (actually its something I’ve been looking forward to since my last graduation… what can I say? I like the fancy robes). On the 22nd of July a grand total of 7 Doctors of Astronomy & Astrophysics graduated from the University of Manchester and we were all honoured to graduated at the same time as Prof. Andre Geim and Prof. Konstantin Novoselov the 2010 Nobel Prize winners were awarded honorary degrees. So, I now have a pretty certificate to match my MPhys one and the ability to say I got my doctorate at the same time as two Nobel Prize winners. Kim took some excellent pictures most of which can be found here including the one below (and the greatest ever animated gif).

I wish I could wear this everyday!

Then to round off last month we completed one of Kim’s 27 things to do before she’s 27 by watching all the Star Wars movies in a day. So thats why I haven’t blogged for a while (plus I am a bad blogger anyway!). Catch you later.

Some of these photos are credit Kim/FinestImaginary. kthnxbai!

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