Tag Archives: The Universe and Stuff

Social Physics & Astronomy

When I give popular talks about Cosmology,  I sometimes look for appropriate analogies or metaphors in television programmes about forensic science, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation which I watch quite regularly (to the disdain of many of my colleagues and friends). Cosmology is methodologically similar to forensic science because it is generally necessary in…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged astronomy, Bertillonage, , Florence Nightingale, Quetelet, sociology, statistics

Last days on the Ice

Originally posted on SPIDER on the Ice:Four of the last five of the SPIDER crew– Don, Ed, Sasha, and I– are slated to leave the Ice tomorrow morning. That means this is probably my last blog post– at least until SPIDER 2! It has been an incredible few months, but I can’t say I’m…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged Cosmic Microwave Background, , spider

Andromeda in High Resolution

This afternoon I gave three hours of lectures on the trot, so I’m now feeling more than a little knackered. Before I head home for an early night, though, I thought I’d share this amazing video produced by the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Survey (or PHAT, for short), which is a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Multi-cycle…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged Andromeda Galaxy, astronomy, HST, hubble space telescope, M31, Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury, PHAT

Cosmology – Confusion on a Higher Level?

I’ve already posted the picture below, which was taken at a conference in Leiden (Netherlands) in 1995. Various shady characters masquerading as “experts” were asked by the audience of graduate students at a summer school to give their favoured values for the cosmological parameters (from top to bottom: the Hubble constant, density parameter, cosmological constant,…Read More…

Lognormality Revisited

I was looking up the reference for an old paper of mine on ADS yesterday and was surprised to find that it is continuing to attract citations. Thinking about the paper reminds me off the fun time I had in Copenhagen while the paper was written.  I was invited there in 1990 by Bernard Jones,…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged Ads, , citations, Copenhagen, Lognormal, NASA/ADS, Research Excellence Framework, Science Politics

Why was 2014 warm AND wet?

Originally posted on Protons for Breakfast Blog:Colour-coded Map of UK showing how each region of the UK exceeded the 1981-2010 average temperature. Crown Copyright 2014 was the warmest year in the UK ‘since records began’ – and most probably the warmest since at least 1659. You can read the Met Office Summary here The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged climate, Rain, Temperature

Hubble + Beethoven

In an attempt to get away from the horrors of the last few days I thought I’d offer this video I just found on Youtube. It features majestic, life-affirming music from the 2nd Movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major along with some wonderful astronomical images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Science and…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged Beethoven, hubble space telescope, Ludwig van Beethoven,

The Durham YETI

On Wednesday afternoon, after an important meeting that took up most of the morning, I headed off my train to Durham. Unusually by the standards of my recent experiences of railways, the trip went smoothly and I arrived on time. The cathedral was looking rather spectral when I arrived: The occasion of my vist was…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged Collingwood College, Cosmic Microwave Background, Durham University, Talks and Reviews, YETI2105, Young Experimentalists and Theorists Institute

Faster Than The Speed of Light?

Back to the office after starting out early to make the long journey back to Brighton from Cardiff, all of which went smoothly for a change. I’ve managed to clear some of the jobs waiting for me on my return from the Christmas holidays so thought I’d take my lunch break and write a quick…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged Horizon, Hubble radius, particle horizon, proper distance, Robertson-Walker metric, speed-of-light sphere


Originally posted on SPIDER on the Ice:This is surreal. I have been working on SPIDER for three and a half years, and much of the rest of the collaboration has been working for many years beyond that. We have all gone through intense times of stress and disappointment, victories and defeats. The personal sacrifice…Read More…

  • Posted in Uncategorized
  • Also tagged Cosmic Microwave Background, Polarization, Primordial Gravitational Waves, spider
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