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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Back from the Spring MIST

Got back from Belfast last night and we had some very interesting talks including an exceptionally good joint NAM-MIST session on 'Magnetospheres throughout the universe'. I only managed to dive into the other joint session ('Atmospheres of solar and exo planets') at the last minute but it looked well attended. It is good to see that even though the community has been hit hard by STFC's cuts we can still muster some highly interesting science. I'll try and do a round up of what I particularly enjoyed soon.

Lots of politics also got discussed and there were a number of small positive discussions about the way forward that were encouraging.

Words from STFC folk in the forum were less than encouraging and some of the attitudes on display will have won them few friends. Talking down to a room full of scientists as if they are school children is less than likely to be a popular move. I happen to know that a number of PhD students who attended (and for who this could be their first experience of our senior colleagues in the council hierarchy) came away with a very dim view.

Some claims that were made also don't seem to hold up under scrutiny (at least not with previously released information). I'll talk about this some more later but for now you can read Chris Lintott's live blog of the forum and see this BBC article. I was hoping to have a formal chat with the journalist before and/or after the forum but activities dictated otherwise. A colleague of mine was interviewed for Newsnight, which will appear early next week we believe (along with a host of others scientists).

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