Sunday, 1 December 2013

Royal Society Pairing Scheme Day Zero

I'm in London, staying in the smallest room in the Strand Palace Hotel (see the picture, in which I think it's pretty clear that my room, highlighted in yellow, is the smallest one).  I'm here as a precursor to taking part in the Royal Society scheme in which scientists (me, included) get paired up with MPs or civil servants for the scientists to see what goes in in government.  The reverse swap takes place a bit later.

The formal start of the event is tomorrow, but to kick things off, the scientist participants had dinner together tonight at a restaurant on the Strand.  It got off to a bad start, when I found that there was some spilt milk on my chair, but only found out by sitting in it.  I didn't cry over it, but did spend the first minutes of the dinner sponging myself in the toilet.  Well, it all went okay after the milky countermanding.  I enjoyed chatting to the epidemiologist from Guy's Hospital who sat opposite me, and the electronic engineer from Manchester next to me.  We talked about all sorts of things, mostly about academic things like the funding situation in each of our areas, and had the sort of fun that only a slew of scientists can have in a chain Italian restaurant.  

Amusingly, I was asked if I had a brother who was an actor.  The answer, of course, is yes, but the questioner really just used the question as a way to introduce the fact that he thinks I look like a particular actor.  It's been a while...