It’s hard to believe we have almost reached the end of the second teaching semester. I’m always a bit sorry to see the end of classes, but I accept that it’s important that students are given time to reflect on what they have learnt. With that in mind, I don’t quite understand why exams start in early May rather than June.
As regards research, I can now get back to putting the finishing touches to a review paper I have been trying to finish for months. Mind you, thanks to the open-plan layout of offices in our college, there will be more – not less – noise and distraction for the next few months as staff are no longer in class. Whoever came up with the idea that open-plan offices are a good idea for academics?
On top of finishing off my various teaching modules, I agreed to give a research seminar this week. The general theory of relativity, Einstein’s greatest contribution to science, is a hundred years old this month and I couldn’t resist an invitation to give a brief history of the theory, together with a summary of the observational evidence supporting many strange predictions of the theory – from black holes to the expanding universe, from the ‘big bang’ to gravitational waves. The talk took quite a bit of prep, but I think it went well and there were plenty of questions afterwards – a nice way to finish off the teaching semester.
The slides for the talk are here. Now the excitement is over and it’s back to the lonely business of writing research papers…
I gave a similar talk in University College Dublin yesterday. A tiring trip, but it’s always very satisfying to give a repeat performance.