Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week in brief

Rather than an extensive post on any one thing that I've done this week this post will just be a brief review:

  • I restarted lecturing a first year astronomy course on Observational Methods. This is a course I first lectured last year, but I've had a bit of a rearrange of the various parts to make it a bit more coherent. I think I'm more confident with the course this year and the lectures have flowed more easily (plus I bought myself a book on Observational Astronomy to help me through), but the students will be the ultimate judge of whether I'm any good.
  • Other than lecturing I've mainly been revising this Living Reviews article on Gravitational Wave Detection by Interferometry (Ground and Space). One of my work colleagues and myself have been given the task of updating it as a fair bit has happened in the world of interferometric gravitational wave detectors since the article was published in 2000.
  • I attended the annual Glasgow Uni Astronomy Society Burns Supper. On a couple of previous years I've had the privilege of giving a speech at this illustrious event (replying from the non-Scot's), but this year I was spared. As always it was a fun evening despite a couple of hitches, and their were a couple of very good speeches by Hazel and Ellie - almost on a par with my own efforts ;) By far the strangest part of the night was nearly bumping into Ann Widdecombe in the GUU where we were having the meal. She was attending some bizarre, and rather disturbing, pro-life meeting there - the presence of which had attracted a fair few protesters, and a police presence, outside the GUU.
  • I had the densest and most meaty (but very tasty) sausages know to man at Blas, in what proved to be one of the most rushed dining out experiences I've ever had.
  • I went to an Australia Day barbeque, proposed by our resident Aussie Siong and held in the outback (out back of Bob and Ellie's flat that is - sorry for the poor, poor joke). Being winter in Scotland, rather than summer in Australia, this was a slightly wet affair. However, we tried to catch the spirit of what it would have been like to be on a hot, sunny beach, drinking from some icey cold tinny's whlst another shrimp was tossed onto the barbie. Even though the wet weather proved our partial downfall, a lot of meat was cooked and eaten and some beers were drunk, and isn't that what being Australian is all about anyway.
  • I partly killed one of the new astronomy grad students PhDs by noticing a paper on astro-ph on pretty much what he was planning on doing. It was a topic that myself and my boss were discussing last year (albeit in a slightly different vein to how it's been used in the above article) and even did the same basic calculations, but obviously we weren't the only ones thinking about it! You've got to be quick off the mark in this game.

That is all!