Sunday, December 16, 2007

Meetings end

It's the last day of GWDAW12 and I think everyone's fairly drained after a long week of talks, networking, and the odd drink or two - especially those of us who've been in meetings since Monday. It's been a good meeting and there have been some very interesting talks. The best talks have been those from people outside my collaboration (the LSC) and the general gravitational wave community. The main reason for this isn't that the gravitational wave stuff isn't interesting, it's just that I've heard the same stuff ad nauseum at meeting after meeting. The more astronomy related stuff just brings in something a bit fresher. I think this view is held by the majority of the gravitational wave people here. Chris Stubbs gave a very enthusiastic talk about how future astronomy all-sky surveys (e.g. Pan-STARRS, LSST) could give a large number of astronomical triggers for gravitational wave observations. He was even saying there are many current searches for optical/IR variables and transients which we should be aware of and make use of. It was very good to see an astronomer who really wanted to interact with the gravitational wave community, which can only be good news for the future. Jim Cordes gave a nice talk about general pulsar astronomy and looking for radio transients, which could again be used as a gravitational wave trigger. Andrea Lommen's talk on using pulsar timing measurements as a gravitational wave detector, generally for a low frequency stochastic background, was also good and related to some recent work that I've been doing. Andrea also mentioned that they're trying to host GWDAW13 at the Arecibo radio telescope, which I'm all for - Puerto Rico would be quite a nice place to go for the winter :)

Also of note about this meeting has been the quality of the lunches. I've been very impressed with the meals, which have been varied, tasty and generally quite healthy. Unfortunately we don't get given any lunch today and will have to find our own source of food.

Now I just have to hope that the Boston weather doesn't prevent me from getting home what with all the snow and ice storm that is forecast.