Sunday, April 10, 2005

sunday night blogging...

Pope passed away. In case you hadn't heard. Only encountered him once, at a the Marcel Grossman meeting in Rome in 2000. Meeting organisers organized a blessing; didn't go up for the in person audience, since attendance was limited and I am not catholic. Was in the audience for the general blessing, and then did the tour. Interesting place. Interesting man, watching his interaction with the audience was very illuminating. Oh, interesting meeting too, should talk about that later, though I am not a regular MG attendee. Regrettable.
So, during his tenure the Vatican Observatory started running some interesting annual meetings, and building some serious telescopes. He also accepted evolution and recanted on Galileo see here.
Be interesting to see what direction the Catholic Church takes next. Tipping point is the current buzzphrase I believe.

Evolution (1996) - see 63 and 64
Galileo (1992) - er I think that is the right one, my Italian is worse than useless. Date and context are right. German translation is encouraging...

On a slightly different note: Interesting places to visit and do science...

Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge.

Nice place. Nice people. Lots of visitors. Stay in the visitor housing on the grounds if you're solo, for a shortish time and intending to get serious work done. Else a B&B in north Cambridge, or a College if you have the connections.

For decades, legend has it, no one crossed Madingley Road (MRAO is on the other side; exaggerated, but not much), but relations have thawed, and Isaac Newton Institute is there, and DAMTP too, having finally relocated from the Victorian jumble on Silver Street. All three are exemplary for how a science institute should be laid out (well, the Hoyle building at IoA anyway). So, do visit across the street.

Things to do: well, hang out at morning coffee and chat. Go to lunch (seminar bread & cheese is a must; else sandwich, or go into town or College) chat some more. Read e-mail. Go for afternoon tea. Chat. Find out which pub the postgrads and postdocs are going to. Go. Chat. Repeat. Find you have somehow written half-dozen papers... Its a mystery.

Touristy things to do: go punting (seriously, even if they punt from the wrong end. Even if it is raining). If weather is nice and you are fit, punt up to Grantchester for cream tea. Else drive there. Do a College tour - if you go to King's chapel, donate generously. Go to the Pubs. Have pub lunches. You want one in town, one on the river, one in the outskirts of town and one country pub. At least. So stay at least 4 days! Wander around town and sightsee. Get out of town and sightsee.

Places for dinner: fancy - I like 3 Horseshoes in Madingley for ye olde Englishe cuisine, but done really well. Or go to an Indian restaurant. Any will do, if it is in business odds are 80%+ that the food is decent (and 80%+ that the service is lousy). I like the one of Histon road across from the chippy. The fish and chips are ok, best out of the city centre, but not great. Pub dinners are pretty good in a lot of places now as well. French sounding expensive places are mostly to be avoided unless specifically recommended by someone (time constant is very short) [last time I was there 21 Chesterton was very good, and Michele's was decent. ]

If in doubt about a pub, go to the Cow and Calf on Castle Hill, off the main road, just up from St Edmunds college.

Oh, and be nice to the Cat (Muon); say "Hi" from me.


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