Conferences (and holidays)
Last week I attended IAU (International Astronomical Union) Symposium 242. Sounds like a boring title doesn't it? The subject was astrophysical masers and their environments (masers: think natural lasers in space, but at microwave frequecies) and it was held in Alice Springs, Australia. The conference was great, met lots of people, watched some famous astronomers (in the world of maser physics) dance a conga round the restaurent during the conference dinner, and saw some spectacular scenery.
This week I'm in the Blue Mountains, just inland of Sydney. It's absolutely awesome! Today I spent the entire day (8am to 6pm) climbing with a guide at a couple of places in the national park. Apart from my hands getting ripped to shreds (its all sandstone, ow) and some terrific grazes from when I fell off a nasty overhang, it was brilliant. Only about the third time I've ever climbed outdoors, but the first time I've had a go at using all the gear and done a multi-pitch climb. Belaying from a tiny cave ("the eyrie") halfway up a cliff overlooking gum trees was really incredible. Photos when I get home!