Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Conference week

 I mentioned earlier that I had a couple of conference coming up, happening in the same week.  This is the week:  There is the joint IoP Astroparticle Physics, High Energy Particle Physics, and Nuclear Physics Groups' conference (website: http://appheppnp2021.iopconfs.org/home, Twitter hashtag: #EdiIOP2021) and the YQIS Young Quantum Information Scientists' conference (website: https://indico.frib.msu.edu/event/31/).

With the IoP conference being in the UK and the YQIS conference in the US, I could in principle attend the IoP conference and the the YQIS meeting with only a small amount of overlapping time.  In practice, with childcare responsibilities that's not very practical, but everything is being recoreded, and I am trying to make a sensible combined programme of talks that I want to see and then arranging which ones I am able to watch live, and which I will watch after the fact.  This ability to watch pre-recorded lectures is just what many of our students are now finding useful in our taught undergraduate classes. 

Yesterday, when the conferences started, was a Monday, meaning my day for looking after my youngest children, so I wasn't planning on doing much live participation, though it also happened to be the day when my own talk was scheduled at the IoP conference, so I arranged to have the boys looked after for that time and gave the talk.  I perhaps could have strapped the baby to a sling and walked around while giving the talk, but it turned out to be easier to arrange a little time swap with my partner in childcare duties. 

Today, having cycled all the kids to school / nursery, I am able to attend the live sessions, which means that I have started with Jim Hough's talk on gravitational waves (screenshot below).  It's amazing how we have been able to observe so many events of merging black holes over the last few years, coming from a situation not so long ago when black holes were suspected to exist, but not definitively observed, even indirectly.  

I think it's a bit of a shame that the conference is set up using Zoom's webinar mode, in which I can't see who else is in the audience, can't send them a quick message to say hi, or do any of the other 'conferring' that I would do at a conference.  I know there is a formally-arranged coffee break as part of the schedule, but I don't quite get the point of limiting our ability to interact with other attendees.

Here is a snapshot from Prof. Hough's talk.  Right now there is a talk I'd like to listen to about the FAIR laboratory and the work going on / planned there, but the speaker's audio has a strange bass echo that makes it unlistenable to me.

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