Visit to Durham University

Durham Cathedral is renowned as a masterpiece of Romanesque (or Norman) architecture. It was begun in 1093 and largely completed within 40 years. It is the only cathedral in England to retain almost all of its Norman craftsmanship, and one of few to preserve the unity and integrity of its original design.

Durham Cathedral is renowned as a masterpiece of Romanesque (or Norman) architecture. It was begun in 1093 and largely completed within 40 years. It is the only cathedral in England to retain almost all of its Norman craftsmanship, and one of few to preserve the unity and integrity of its original design.

A couple of weeks ago I gave a seminar talk at Durham University. I don’t love giving talks about my research. To be honest I loathe them. I’m terrified of speaking in public but I’ve come to accept that it’s an important to do and I try to give talks as often as I can. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to give a good one.

I had never been to Durham. It’s such a beautiful town and the cathedral is amazing. I caught up with a few astro friends and met some really cool postdocs and PhD students. We went to a lovely old pub for a few pints, lost the pub quiz, and went out for tapas.

There is a bright side to giving seminar talks at another universities. You get to catch up with your mates and it gives you the opportunity to start new collaborations. Since postdocs tend to change research jobs every couple of years, it’s inevitable that your friends end up all over the world. Over the past couple of years I’ve given talks (“visited friends”) in Durham, Cambridge, Bristol and Nottingham. Not surprisingly some of these have been scheduled close to my birthday. When I lived in San Francisco I invited a friend to give a seminar talk at the Lab. I’ve also invited people to Liverpool. Good times.