Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Jyväskylä PAC meeting

 Yesterday I attended my final meeting as chair and panel member of the Jyväskylä Programme Advisory Committee (PAC).  This is the group that looks at proposals for experiments to take place at the accelerator facility and decides which to suggest to the laboratory to accept.  The period of tenure on the committee is 3 years over which 6 meeting take place.  Of course the last three years have been very unusual and we ended up running most of the meetings virtually.  There is also the issue for the lab of what to do with the recommended proposals while people couldn’t travel to the lab during lockdown. 

I enjoyed my time on the committee and learned a lot from the other members about some of the more technical and experimental details. It’s a bit disappointing not to visit Finland but also hard to justify the carbon cost of getting there for a meeting that actually works well virtually. 

Now three new panel members will join as I and two others rotate off.  I wish the new members well!

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Day one at the IoP Nuclear Physics Conference

The University of Surrey was closed today, as it kindly gives all, or most, staff a bit of extra holiday around the Easter weekend.  However, it was also the host site of this year's Institute of Physics Nuclear Physics Group conference, so I was in work as an attendee and local organising committee member (though really the chair Paddy Regan has done almost everything from the local commitee point of view). 

 It was nice seeing my colleagues from all over the UK and a few from farther afield.  Even before the pandemic-enforced cessation of face-to-face conferences it was probably a few years since I last attended one of the national ones, and it has been great to see old friends and colleagues.

The picture below was taken by the conference chair, and posted on Twitter.   I am in the picture, just, over at the right though quite cropped.  I'm wearing the stripy jumper and clearly part of a funny conversation with Kate Jones (University of Tennessee) and Carl Wheldon (University of Birmingham).  I think we were remembering the time around 20 years ago when we were all at the University of Surrey together.

As well as meeting old colleagues, I saw some recent ex-undergrads who are now PhD students.  My faviourite part of the day was talking to them, not least because they told me that my lectures were their favourites when then were undergraduates.  A lovely thing to say, and I could feel myself blush when they did so!

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

QCTIP 2022

 As promised in a post last month, I have come to the QCTIP conference in Bristol.  QCTIP stands for Quantum Computing Theory In Practice and the topic cover quantum computing from a largely mathematical and computer science point of view, with applications to various areas, including physics.  As something of an outsider, I found the talks ranged from very understandable to pretty hard to follow.   While online conference work pretty well for listening to and interacting with the talks, I wanted to attend in person so I could get to know some of the people working in the field, and get known by them.  For that, I think it was worth coming.  Particularly in the poster session, where I displayed a poster made by my student Isaac.  There was a pretty constant stream of people coming up and talking to me.  The idea that someone was applying quantum computing to nuclear physics was new to them, and they seemed genuinely interested.  I was also reasonably reassured that our neophyte forays into quantum computing were along the right lines.

The conference is organized by the mathematics department at Bristol.  As such, there are blackboards dotted around the building and people used them to discuss work during coffee breaks, as in the picture below