Rosemary and I took a long weekend at the Cambridge Alumni Weekend. We left home at 6.00 am Friday so we could leave the car at the B&B and be at the first event at 9.30. The weather was kind the whole weekend.
Had a good tour around the new buildings of the university, seeing the new Mathematical Sciences Campus, and the William Gates building for Computer Sciences.
I had never visited the Scott Polar Research Institute despite being next to the Chemistry Laboratories. This was put right on Friday with an interesting talk about the research being carried out on the creation of new marine conservation areas at the Antarctic.
Rosemary had a good tour of the Archaeology and Anthropology museum where she got to hold ancient precious objects. Finally we met up and visited the Museum of Zoology where we had a tour behind the scenes.
A pleasant Friday evening was held in the Fitzwilliam Museum where we ate canapés, drank wine and viewed the paintings. Wonderful atmosphere and beautifully presented.
Saturday morning was dominated by hour long lectures:
- The Universe: Theory and Reality
- Anatomy of Art
- Beauty and the Beasts
- Climate Change
- Iris recognition
- The Molecule Hunt. Using DNA in Archaeology
The afternoon was spent listening to Chris Andrew talking about spies in Cambridge, and reflecting on the Hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Next it was a talk by David Starkey on Monarchy and Democracy. This was the Star Lecture and was very worth listening too. It was a very brief overview of the last hundred years of his up coming Television Series.
A quick trek from the Sedgwick site to the ACDC theatre. Here we enjoyed a one-man play by Julian Curry (Claude Erskine-Brown in Rumpole of the Bailey) on the history of wine. Very entertaining.
We had a very nice evening meal sitting outside, overlooking the Cam by Magdalene Bridge.
Sunday was basically two tours.
The first tour was of the Herchel Smith Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, where we were introduced to Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Here they were using the MRI scanner to look at knee and finger joints, and their research is particularly relevant to arthritis research.
The second tour in the afternoon was to the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory. Here we were shown several of their radio telescopes. Some now not used, but many doing leading research. Some of the work is in designing and testing new ideas at the site, and then either building a better version or getting the Americans to build a larger version at a site more suitable for astronomy.
We saw the light telescope, which uses multiple telescopes mounted at a distance apart, which can thus synthesise a larger telescope. This was seen detail on the nearer suns. A larger newer one is being build in New Mexico where the weather conditions will be better.
A very good weekend.