Well, we are finally back from our tulips and windmills river cruise in the Netherlands and Belgium. Resident Astronomer Peggy and I had a great time and just a couple of photos and events will show up in this blog. When we left Schiphol Airport and arrived at the ship, our rooms were not ready, since the departing passengers and cabins were just being released. It was just a random stroke of luck as we all waited for our cabins, we found ourselves at a table with a real nuclear physicist, not just a physicist wannabe, like me. So, just by chance, we met Los Alamos Retired Physicist, Dr. Jerry, and wife, Sharon. Later on we met their other travelling companions, Retired Nuclear Physicist, Dr. Steve and wife, Dr. Avi. I joked that if I knew in advance that they were going to be onboard, I would have brought some of my homework and questions. They were also a bit surprised that even real physicists have groupies and physicist wannabes that follow their activity, just like there are groupies that follow the rock stars and movie stars.
We shared some monster movie folk lore with Dr. Steve, who also talked about how he became interested in some of the deeper questions of physics, which I found fascinating. Dr. Jerry, mentioned his involvement with the neutrino oscillation problem. Involvement, indeed, since he was part of the scientific collaboration with Art McDonald, who just recently won the Nobel Prize for the discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations. Dr. Jerry was one of just about 200 other scientists that were part of the collaboration. If you want to follow up more on that topic and description of the breakthrough prize, check out:
I would have liked to have more discussion, but, seriously, I didn't want to intrude on everyone's vacation time so we met only occasionally during shipboard open dinner seating. Dr. Jerry said he would be happy to talk more physics but I didn't want to intrude. But congratulations on your efforts and success!
We also met so many other nice folks and it made the trip all the more fun. We had only decided last year to go on this cruise because our Old Neighbor and New Grandma, Donna, said that she was going to take the tour. It was nice to reconnect with her and her friends, Susan and Peggy (and Tom) and to meet other folks (Tom and Maxine, Richard and Mary, ...) For all of you wondering about food on the cruise ship, well, consider my own weight that sadly, I now find, has gone up nine pounds over the nine day cruise. Wow, all that hard work and now back to the diet. Oh well, it was all really a lot of fun and we are already signed for our next Viking ocean cruise from Bergen to Iceland to Montreal in September. Oh, and I almost forgot, for all of you wondering if I read any of the technical books I brought with me? No, not a bit this time; too much fun!
Now, I didn't take any astrophotos this trip, but it was nice to be able to just wake up in our cabin and look out the veranda and see the wonderful sites go by. The photo below shows one of our first sunrises as the sun just peeks above the horizon. It looks like we are out on the ocean, but this is just one of the wide spots in the inland seas that are behind dikes
|Sunrise from our balcony on the Viking ship Bragi|
Then, this last photo of Resident Astronomer George standing in front of the Atomium, which was meant to represent the atomic crystal unit cell for iron. This building was constructed as part of the Brussels World Fair in 1958 and I can still remember seeing this iconic structure in the newspaper when I was just getting interested in science while in grade school. I remember then that I thought this structure was located so far away that I would never be able to see it in person and now, here it is right in front of us. There is a restaurant in one of the highest spheres but we did not have enough to free time to have a coffee and view from there.
|Resident Astronomer visits the Atomium in Brussels|
Finally, we should consider the schedule of upcoming conferences and events. First of all, it seems that just as I unpack today, I have to pack tomorrow for the travelling to Palm Springs to attend the American Astronomical Society, AASTCS5 Radio Exploration of Planetary Habitability Conference, May 7-11.. That should be fun
There was also some discussion between science squad members about attending the AIAA Space Tech Expo in Pasadena, May 23-25. But feedback from other science squad members who had attended in previous years was not as positive for me to consider driving to Pasadena to attend, so I'm dropping that conference off my calendar. The good thing about that is that it frees up that week to attend the Windpower 2017 Conference held at the Anaheim Convention Center, May 22-25. I still have an interest in power conversion for windpower technology and would even consider doing a little more professional work in that area if I could find something that fits into my schedule (but I'm not holding my breath). Anyway, it will be fun to see what is happening there, especially since Anaheim is so close by.
So that is about it for this jet lagged astronomer and physicist wannabe. I'll see some of you in Palm Springs if I can wake up and stay awake for the conference in this time zone and in Anaheim a couple of weeks from now.
Until next time,