Thursday, June 26, 2008

Green Flash and more

I'm still battling with Mathematica too much to write much, though we've had some more great lectures. Nima Arkani-Hamed has given us a great crash-course on LHC physics, which may be available from another school online, so I'll try and dig that out if I can.

In the meantime we've been having some stunning evenings here and so I took the opportunity to take a couple of rather surreal dusk shots, including this 30 second exposure:
beach at dusk

The real excitement for me, however, came when I caught this image (Warning, very very large). It's my first ever capture of the Green Flash, and though it's perhaps the weakest green flash ever caught on camera, it's definitely there. This green flash came from a mock mirage sunset which is created when the temperature as a function of the height in the atmosphere becomes non-monotonic and develops a turning point. See an explanation here. Just before the green flash I caught an image of the separation which is somewhat easier to see, here:
Click for a larger size!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Update attempt

No time to write much at the moment, working hard on a current problem which isn't giving me any chance to get to the beach which is five minutes walk from the institute. Perhaps this afternoon. We've been having some great lectures which I just can't justify writing up, given the work that needs to be done, but Andy Strominger is always inspiring and his lectures here have been no exception. Anyway, for now I can just post a couple of photos. One more from Paris (without solar halo) and one from the first night here as I was walking back home.

Eiffel Tower new view
moon on the water

Unlikely to have much of a chance to write anything for the time being, but for now, all is good in Cargese.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Synchronicity in Paris!

For me photography is still about those lucky moments where you're in the right place at the right time. However, it's also to a large extent about noticing those moments that most people don't. I'm still shaking from the excitement yesterday of being at the scene of something truly spectacular, and incredibly of being the only person with their jaw dropping at the incredible thing in front of my eyes. Anyway, words don't do it justice! This is a 22 degree solar halo in perhaps the top place in the world I would have hoped to see one!
Eiffel Tower panorama solar halo
This was a six photo panorama, which especially hard to get right when you're dribbling with excitement :-)

Go to Atmospherics Optics for a great explanation of this phenomenon.

Also see here for more of my photos of this.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I was reluctant to post any details about my summer plans before everything was finalised. In particular, getting my visa for China ended up being a lot more trouble than expected and I've received it with not long to spare.

Having just come back from the Hard Probes '08 conference (more on that later, I hope), I'm making my way to Cargese in Corsica for a 12 day summer school with the likes of Myers, Strominger, Son, Banks, Arkani-Hamed, Randall, and many others which I'm hugely looking forward to. It'll be good to catch up with some participants who I've met at previous conferences and see what they've been upto in the last couple of years.

Unfortunately in order to get to and from Corsica I need to take a total of six flights, which take me through Paris, so I figured I'd take the weekend there. So, this Friday my travels start for real. Between now and August, the following Itinerary is set-up:

Friday - head to Paris on the way to Cargese, back on the 28th of June.
Head to Munich to give a talk and speak with some researchers who are doing work along similar lines to myself before heading to Beijing on July 9th.
Three weeks in Beijing discussing a possible future program at the KITPC and doing research with former colleagues.
Head to South Korea at the beginning of August where I will be giving a series of talks and working with some researchers at an institute in Seoul.
Back to Spain via Hong Kong and the UK at the end of August.

Beijing-Seoul-Hong Kong-London-Santiago!

In total I should be giving nine or ten seminars, taking 14 flights, stopping off in twelve cities in six countries to speak to a good number of researchers (before heading to give a seminar in Portugal in September) and hopefully actually getting some good work done.

It'll be a pity to be away from Santiago for the summer but I hope with Skype set up I should be able to keep in good contact with the people I'm currently working with here. Anyway, with not many days left in the city before the end of August there are quite a few things to get in order, including some calculations which really should be finished by Friday.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Armed and dangerous

On Sunday my summer travels start, though close to home. I will be visiting some six countries for work between now and September with around 15 flights (My Carbon offset costs are going to be painful!) but to start off I'll be heading to the Hard Probes conference in nearby La Toxa, with a lot of great researchers in the field of heavy ion physics and AdS/CFT applications thereof. Should be fun! I'll give a full run down of the plans when some things have been finalised.

Anyway, for now having spent the day in the office debugging, I went for a run and almost did some debugging of the size 13 kind! This little fella was in my path, almost got squished, and begged to be taken back for some snap shots....quite a beast. The hand is that of Zach, one of my current couchsurfers.


lucanus cervus, Vacaloura in Spanish thanks to Juanito.