2006 – a great year with a few disappointing points

Highlights of my year, in a sort of chronological order with relevant posts below
Birthday, Jan 9th (hint to you all who normally celebrate this with me!): curry + a rather drunken night at snobs, I am blaming Tom for topping my vodka and coke with champagne!! It also involved some punches and me not standing upright all night. Oh well. biggrin.gif
[my birthday]
Chair of the University of Birmingham Astronomical Society (astrosoc), again! I wasn’t moaning particularly as it gave me the chance to take the society further forward and finish off a few things that I didn’t get time to do the first time around.
[back to astrosoc]
European Astrofest – sat on the FAS stand all day is always interesting but the company on the way back was much better. I traveled down on the train to run the stand and during the day I bumped into a bunch of first years who were there representing Astrosoc. It was good to see
Heather, Tom and Lizzie and when they offered some company for the commute back I was not going to say no. I got to have a rather long and interesting conversation with Lizzie… the start of the best things in the year.
[astrofest was mentioned in my 800th post]
I gave a talk at Stafford & District Astronomical Society on galactic things, this was the first talk of the year and seemed to go down well. I love getting out to astronomical societies and giving talks. I actually rushed back to my own society after this talk. To be honest I was pretty eager to see a girl… why do trains have to be canceled! I made it in time for a quick drink but we decided that it was such perfect weather that we would rush off to the observatory… like you do. Oh, the observatory is a good distance away (far enough that you need a car!). It was so clear and lots of fun. I love going to the observatory for observing.
[A trip to Stafford], [36 hours without sleep]
The next and probably the biggest highlight of the year. Getting together with Lizzie. This happened after a low attendance astrosoc and with bad weather I gave a short talk on something (i.e. I showed a video) and we went to the pub (okay we do this too often!). This gave me the chance to talk to her and after some time I still didn’t have the testicular fortitude to do anything, lucky for me I didn’t need to have any as she made the first move… and I will remind her of this forever. 🙂
So the big highlight of the year… going out with Lizzie.
The PPS Ball…. at Burlington Hotel.. as a committee member we are still dealing with the stupid finances of this event but as a person it was great fun at one of
Birmingham’s best venues. I was nice and smart and hoped I looked the part.

[Ball Pic], [More Ball Pics], [the ball]
The National Astronomy Meeting… I got to present a poster of some work and I was able to (if I am honest) get drunk at the space centre… oh and it also produce the most embarrassing photo of me for the year (me drifting off during Al’s talk… woops!) ohmy.gif
[National Astronomy Meeting 2006], [astronomers are odd pics]
Camping in the cold wet Wales… with those blasted loud sheep. Oh it was fun I got to spend the weekend with Lizzie, Heather and Martin by the beach.. can’t moan now can you? Yes.. it was freezing and wet, why couldn’t it have been clear so I could have done some stargazing!! At least my tent took the weather! Oh and I got play in the sand!
wales
[Camping in Wales…]
ALIEN WEEK… well it wasn’t the most involved week but we had a talk at astrosoc on aliens, by Mario di Maggio from the Birmingham Planetarium and we had a decent audience. We also had a BBQ on the vale and film night.
I also jetted off to Canada with my dad.. I never got around to posting many pics about this, in fact all I posted was.. [CN TOWER] and [Hello from Toronto!].. so here are a couple of other photos (at some point I will post more…) …
canada1

canada2

canada3

Then within a couple of weeks I was on the other side of the Earth, in India.. working. I had the fun of going to the Giant Metrewave Telescope in India. I spent most of my time at the NCRA in Pune, a rather interesting experience. Since I had my laptop and a web connection I posted quite a few times… [Hello from Damp India], [Independence Day], [Jantar Mantars replica at IUCAA], [Mumbai Airport has nice seating…], [End of an indian adventure], [At last a decent nights sleep], [at the gmrt], [some pics]
The weekend after I got back from India was the Reading Festival which, like always was fun!
readin
[day 1], [day 2], [day 3], [day 4], [who did I see]
Oh I was feeling quite ill during the festival, sick.gif, I think India and Canada had caught up with me.
I was the main organiser of the FAS Convention 2006 which I had organised to take place in Birmingham for the first time. It went down well with well over 100 attendees and with 5 speakers (Dr Ishwara Chandra, Dr David Whitehouse, Dr Allan Chapman, Prof John Brown and John Dobson) it wasn’t a bad lineup either. I really enjoy these sort of event, just not the pre-event tension…[FAS Convention] – I also got myself a good rep by bringing along 4 young ladies as my helpers, lol.
It was now back to the time of year for teaching and yes I sortof enjoyed observatory lab again. I do find it quite satisfying.
I had a rather large part in organising the departments open lectures again this year, which kept me busy when I wasn’t working.
I gave a talk at Bridgend astronomical society which I throughly enjoyed and I got to have an Indian with my good friend Clive.
Astrosoc also ran two evening public talks, Dr David Gregory gave the first and Prof John Brown gave the second. The later was our highest attended talk ever, with over 200 people there and was also our best advertised event yet.. I was pleased.
[black hole and white rabbits], [PPARC Talk: David Gregory Science in the Media]
davidgregory
The success of these talks really reflect the fact that Astrosoc was named the Institute of Physics Student Society of the Year by Nexus… yay for that.
Oh and I was mugged after a public talk in November. Shame that, put a bit of a disappointing end to the year.
[mugged, argh!]
What else, oh I am sure I am missing out lots of important things.. like becoming an uncle.. [Uncle Samuel! :-)] and having a tooth pulled out… but I can’t quite remember it all, I am nearly 24.. thats another reminder my birthday is on the 9th! 🙂
What is ahead for me, well life is a bit unsure. I need to get a few things out of the way and I will feel much better. I won’t spend my time hear now but I am sure I will get to do more fun things in 2007 and hopefully I won’t annoy Lizzie much, well maybe a little bit (on purpose, of course!).
A prosperous 2007 to you all… and remember: recycle, save energy, stargaze, enjoy life and read my blog!

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