Sunday, 30 June 2019

More football

If the Champions League Final was ultimately disappointing on many levels, I'm now enjoying the Women's World Cup. 


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Finding stuff

In 2012 the Higgs Boson was found, by the ATLAS and CMS teams working with the Large Hadron Collider, after being proposed by Peter Higgs in 1964.  That was 48 years later.

Then, in 2016, the scientists at LIGO and Virgo announced they had made the first direct observations of gravitational waves, proposed by PoincarĂ© in 1905 and predicted by Einstein in 1916 on the basis of general relativity.  That was 100 years later.

And more recently, just this May, we have seen a compelling first image of a black hole, based on a combination of radio telescopy signals.  However, they were known to exist for many years before that.

All pretty amazing, and all within a few years of each other.

But the one that really stood out for me was the one in the middle.  Party because there was something about the gravity waves I hadn't got, as a result of which I was consequently blown away when I went to a talk at the Royal Institution on the new discovery.  Because they are waves, just like water waves and electromagnetic waves.  This means that there is a spectrum of possible wavelengths which might be used for astronomical observations. 

The Virgo and LIGO teams were looking at very narrow wavelengths, and found several extreme events.  But their discovery has opened up a whole new experimental mode, a new branch of astronomy.  There's a wide range of wavelengths to explore.

Further, gravitational wavelength astronomy has been successfully combined with optical, radio and cosmic ray detectors to open up a new era of 'multi-modal' astronomy.  So if anything, its the successful discovery of  gravitational waves that seems to have the greatest potential for helping us discover new stuff.

Even if it took a long time to come.


Peanuts in Space

Early in June, it was reported that astronomers believed Snoopy had been found in space, roughly 50 years after being separated from Charlie Brown. 

So where is Charlie Brown?

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Champions League Final

So. I first saw a professional football match in, I think, 1963, when my dad took me to see Spurs play Leicester City at White Hart Lane. Spurs won 2-1. That is my memory of a memory, so there are likely to be errors in the details. The back room in our house at the time was plastered with old programmes and pictures of players. I don't think I liked watching the game, and I've no memory of ever going again.
That was also the last professional game of football I ever saw live. That excludes the odd England - or Wales - game on the TV, when broadcast on free-to-air channels.
So most people, including myself, would conclude that I'm not really a football supporter. And I'm comfortable with that.
However, deep inside me, a little voice is saying, just for today: