Yesterday I went to Durham to give a talk in the DiRAC day - a symposium dedicated to scientific and technical results from the use of the STFC's supercomputing facilities. I gave a talk representing the work of the theoretical nuclear physics group at Surrey - mostly mine and Carlo's work actually.
I arrived at Durham station at 10am, which gave me plenty of time for a walk along the river to the University. I'd never been to Durham before, except passing through on the train. It's a very pretty place, and it was a perfect autumnal morning to see the castle and cathedral through a little mist, with university boat crews training on the Wear in the foreground.
Although some of the University is in the old part of town, naturally the sciences are hived off in modern buildings a little further away. Still, that part of campus seemed pretty nice. I walked past a Bill Bryson Library, though didn't find a Leslie Grantham House. I picked up my badge from the registration desk and tried to book a taxi for the afternoon to take me back to the station. "Oh, we can't get a taxi for the afternoon," they said, "not at that time -- not with all the schools, you see?"
The first session consisted of a series of longer talks from a range of different collaborations that use the DiRAC computer - a combination of QCD and astro/cosmology projects. The the lunch break was announced with a "lunch is in the upstairs meeting room. Vegetarians should make sure they get there quickly." I hadn't heard that at a conference for ten years or so. Fortunately there was no problem and I got some (rather nice) lunch.
I gave my talk after lunch. Hopefully people enjoyed it. No-one asked any questions, though they didn't in any of the talks in that session, which were in diverse ranges of science. The chair stepped-up admirably to the mark, though, with a question for me (about future plans - always a good stand-by)
I couldn't write a post about Durham, without including Roger Whittaker singing one of his signature tunes. Enjoy!