I've spent the day attending a meeting of the Nuclear Physics Forum at Daresbury Lab, Cheshire. It's a kind of political community powwow for nuclear physics academics to discuss matters of funding, community management, strategy and so on. Other areas of physics research that fall within the STFC funding remit organise themselves quite well with a voice to lobby policymakers and funders when they need to, and we haven't always done it quite so well. Partly that's about size and manpower ... but here were were today to give us all a little kick to do things.
One of the things is to set up a new community website. It's, perhaps surprisingly, the first time I think we've done this in such a community-wide way. Here it is, and I am now the official Surrey editor. Hopefully we will keep some momentum up to make it all worthwhile. One positive thing to have come out of it all is the formalised graduate school which we use to train our PhD students.
Getting to Daresbury is always a bit tricky. It's too far to drive. Not literally, but practically for me. Train is okay, but from the other side of London it's a pain, and then it's a fairly lengthy taxi at the Daresbury end. So I flew up - 30 minutes after the taxi picked me up from campus, I was through security in Terminal 5 at
DHeathrow and it's a 20 minute drive in a hire car at the other end... I'm not sure it's the best way, but a bit more relaxed than other options. The picture is from Manchester Airport this evening.