Friday, July 07, 2006

Castles, Tea & New Friends

Yesterday was the conference excursion to the nearby Lake District.

Our first stop was at Sizergh Castle which has been owned by the same family for hte last 750 years, I think that they said that the family actually still lives there. The physics crew arrived to the castle around 2pm and walked a bit of a ways to get to the building. Then after hearing a short introduction we went for the tour around the inner part of the castle. Each room had a little description about it and pointed out the more interesting aspects of that particluare room. (Unfortunatly I couldn't take any pictures inside the castel) It seemed like one of the Strikland couples that lived there did a A LOT of renevations and in some sense ruined what the room was in it's original state. Therefore there were lots of styles of design in the different rooms. In one case they had to get back some paneling that a previous family had donated to the local museum in the main bedroom.

After looking around the inner part of the castle we started to make our way around the grounds. We have met a new guy named John at the conference who is originally from London and is currently a postdoc at an experiment that is located in Hamburg, Germany. He was heading out to the gardens at the same time and so we toured the area together. John's super nice and didn't laugh too hard at me when I asked him where the Queen of England lived.....he said, "Um....Buckingham Palace...." I laughed and said of course and turned only a light shade of red and realized that would be like asking where the President of the United States lived. :-)

The gardens were really unbelievable and just kept on going. There were lots of little paths and different areas of flowers & vegetable gardens. We asked John a lot about the experiment in Germany and how he liked it. He said that Hamburg is a great city with roughly 1.5 million people in it. He said that it's super friendly for cyclists and in fact lives in an apartment in the city and can bike to work each day. I am so annnoyed with Fermilab being so far away from the city and like the idea of there being a physics lab within a city. This experiement isn't a huge one and I think that with lots of people gravitating to the new lab that will be in CERN there might be several opportunities here.....again very interesting.

After our walk around the gardens were had some tea and scones in the Tea room in the castle which as all the food I have had here (I am probably up about 5 pounds....good thing I threw my scale away so I can't know for sure :-) ) was delicious.

After tea we headed to the conference dinner which was at a hotel in the Lake District. In an attempt to show us the region they took us on a long and winding tour of the region which was altough beautiful.....was very curvy and very much up and down and ugh....was a little sick to my stomach. Dinner was tasty.

We got back to our rooms at around 11:30pm and Jason and I did some more practice talks and finally got to bed aroudn 2am. And how did the talks go you ask...........

They went REALLY well!!!! At some point during my presentation the microphone went out and so they handed me a handheld one which would have been fine if I hadn't already been holding onto a laser pointer and the clicker to change the slides. So I tried to hold all three and then laughed and said, "No, I can't hold all that stuff....but it's ok cause I can talk really loud" This worked fine and I am pretty sure that everyone could hear me fine. The organizer of the session also holds up signs when you have 5, 2 and 1 minute left for your allotted time. When he held up the 5 minute sign....it was actually the 2 minute sign upside down....which I didn't quite understand....but in the end all was fine.

Jason's talk was really good as well and got lots of laughes from the group. He did a presentation on Rare decays and used pictures of steak to describe the "rare" or "medium rare" decays. When he got to the slide talking about "very rare" decays he had a picture of a cow. HAHAHA. He also said that the CDF detector at Fermilab was shiny that got a chuckle or two.

Right now we are doing some laundry and then will go out for a run...probably only about 6 miles because we just got free tickets for beer starting at 6pm and of course the Leah and Jason crew doesn't like to miss out on free beer. I think tonight we'll try and go out and celebrate the ending of the talks and the end of the conference.

12 comments:

Joe said...

Indeed, there is no excuse for missing out on free beer.

Bob said...

Glad the talks went well and somehow I can imagine Jason getting a few laughs. Have a safe trip home you two.

Tara said...

Glad to hear everything went well. Have fun and have a beer for me!!

Running Jayhawk said...

Congrats on the rockstar talks.

And the best beer is free beer (although I'll probably eat my words the next free beer I have...it'll inevitably be nasty).

More pictures, too!!

Bridgette said...

YOUR TRIP SOUNDS AWESOME!

Even though I hate you from jealousy, I want to see more pics!

Running Rabbit said...

That castle looks pretty cool.

Pass up free beer? Even that would be difficult for me to do. :-)

Firefly's Running said...

Cool...FREE beer! Your trip sounds very exciting. The food sounds even better.

Ryan said...

I'm with you 100%... You have to coordinate you running around the free beer. Congrats on the successful talks.

Nicole said...

LOve the pictures!

Theoutofshapeguy said...

Congrats on the talk kids. Hope you guys enjoy the rest of your time there.

jeanne said...

photos are great! and ya gotta love the physics humor!

jamie said...

Congratulations, you guys! That is awesome.