Friday, 27 June 2014

Nuclear women in Bulgaria

One thing that my partner pointed out to me about the group of people attending this workshop in Bulgaria is that there are a lot of women present.  I guess it is true.  I had a look through the delegate list at the back of the booklet, and counted 27 male and 16 female attendees.  I don't know if that really counts as a lot, but it must say something about most physics gatherings she has been in that the group assembled here seemed out of the ordinary.  Good for Bulgaria!  The number of female nuclear theorists with permanent positions in Bulgaria (pop 7m, GDP USD0.1t) who are attending this small workshop is around the same as the number of nuclear theorists of both sexes in the entirety of the UK (pop 70m, GDP USD1.5t) with permanent positions.  

Anyway... A conference update:  I have generally enjoyed all the talks, but particularly I enjoyed learning a neat mathematical trick from Nikolay Minkov to do with factorising the Schrödinger equation in a way I will save describing further until I have successfully got mathjax working in Blogger.  I liked Xavier Viñas's work on attempting to write down a nuclear energy density functional based on a matching of a polynomial form of the density functional to give a realistic equations of state, with small additions to give good results for more or less all finite nuclei.  This is the sort of spirit in which energy density functionals should probably be used, rather than what I tend to do, starting from the Skyrme interaction.  It was nice to hear about a new facility being set up in Yerevan, in a talk by Roza Avetisyan.  A cyclotron mainly for medical isotope generation is being set up, with a beam line for nuclear physics experiments which will be a good place to train students in the arts of nuclear techniques, and some interesting ideas of reactions to look at were presented.

Yesterday saw our excursion day.  It was quite a long day, running from 9:15 to 19:15,  taking in a reconstituted Roman hill fort near Samokov, then lunch, then a tour round the Rila Monastery.  Alba, my 8mo daughter did an admirable job of coping with the long coach journey, the being carried round the sites, and the cabbage-rich lunch.  She continued to be a more or less welcome diversion to the other attendees, never getting to the stage of screaming constantly in a confined coach for hours on end, which would no doubt have changed other people's ideas about having babies as accompanying people at conferences...

The picture is a view from the hill fort.  Mostly, of course, it's just a tree.  You can see a bit of reconstructed wall, and some indication from the plain below of how high up we were.  The funicular was broken for the journey up, by the way, and pushing the pram up the path was hard work.  Special thanks to Rajdeep Chatterjee from Roorkee for helping here!