25 October, 2013

Liverpool & Physics

Received last minute information that something awesome was going down Tuesday evening at the University of Liverpool.

In my world, you can't call yourself a proper scholar if you pass up an opportunity to listen to this guy (or any of the other superstars of contemporary science). For those not familiar with the superstars, here is a link to my favorite panel discussion with my favorite science superstars, Sci Fi author, and more (Part 1, Part 2). In my opinion, Part 2 has the best parts of the entire discussion session.

Liverpool is a stunning city! It used to be known for sketchy alleyways and massive crime. Local law enforcement and citizens have done a wonderful job cleaning the place up and making it a beautiful city to visit.

Check it out...

If you read any Terry Pratchett, you may be familiar with this abandoned Post Office. In particular, I suggest reading the book "Going Postal," then watch the movie.

Leaf on Bold Street, where I received great service and pretty good food too. The coffee was perfect.

The bombed out church. The exterior walls are still holding strong, just no roof or interior... or windows. They show movies off the interior back wall sometimes. How great is that?!

I can't remember what this wild monstrosity is called, but it's a church the size of the SuperDome and the locals refer to it as the Wigwam. 

Stayed in a hostel overnight, Hatter's Hostel on Mount Pleasant. I can't say I'm a hostel fan, but one look at this ominous, grand exterior and I knew I had to give it a go.

I had the privilege of meeting employees on every shift for the 24 hours I was in Liverpool. Every employee was extremely nice and, in my opinion, the second best feature of the hostel. First best was the free WIFI. 

You would think that the beds with a roof overhead were the best features. But let's be honest here, this is a hostel. I was grateful for a secure, dry place to crash for 3 hours, but the bedbugs, plastic sheets & duvet, and the 7 other sleepers made it a bit difficult to fully relax. It was all worth it, though, when I eased myself into the top bunk and was lulled to sleep by the late-night rain. At least I slept so soundly that I didn't notice the bedbugs until I left. 

The ambiance was exactly what you would expect from a hostel. Private little nooks in the commons to curl up in and read while sipping 24-hour-free coffee & tea. As well as scary hallways with only one working light ("working" = "flickering").

The walk to my room was no picnic.

But my whole reason for being in Liverpool was to listen to Lawrence Krauss. He was in London the day before, shooting a movie with some other people, and the head of the student Humanist society at Liverpool University asked if Lawrence would speak at the university before he left back to the states. To everyone's surprise, super-cool-awesome-guy Lawrence said yes.

I don't know if there will be a video of his talk. Since his attendance was so last-minute, the hosting societies didn't have a lot of time to set everything up proper. He mostly answered questions and discussed his perspectives on physics today and where it could go (or not go) in the future. I had the opportunity to thank him for lending his voice to a specific education decision in Texas that finally came to a close the day before I left for Liverpool. Lawrence laughed, graciously accepted my thank you, then filled in the rest of the young, Liverpoolian audience on Texas current events

I was second row, center. For a change, no one blocked my view of the main event.

After the talk and pictures made to make everyone look uncomfortable, we went out for a bite to eat. Many of the other students preferred liquid suppers on this particular occasion.

This place was so posh, that even the lady's restroom was stunning. It was also covered with framed pastels of half naked women bathing. Hmmm.

The female side of the room.

The male side of the room.

At one point Lawrence had to leave for a Skype meeting. After a bit a student noticed that Lawrence left his pint of ale half finished. It was at that moment that I realized the writers of the Big Bang Theory are not that far from the mark. At least 10 physics students shared in Lawrence's leftover libations just for the sake of sharing a bit of DNA.

This was all possible because of the fanatical work of the Physics & Humanist societies at the University of Liverpool. Thank you!

Here are a couple other different perspectives on the Lawrence In Liverpool Experience:

1 comment:

  1. Good write up and excellent photos, Megan!

    Hope you enjoyed your stay in Liverpool.