Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction


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Science for Fiction 2017

For the benefit of those attending, and to make those of you not coming along jealous, here is the draft timetable for this year’s event.

See some of you there soon!

Wednesday 5th July

2pm Arrive, meet and greet

2:15 The Square Kilometre Array and the Epoch of Reionization: Emma Chapman

3:15 Tea

3:45 Titan and Cassini: Ingo Mueller-Wodarg

4:45 Discussion

5:15 Pub then dinner

Thursday 6th July

10:15 Gather

10:30 Ending the Universe: Arttu Rajante

11:30 Coffee

12:00 Visiting Mars – Sanjeev Gupta

12:30 Mars VR Demonstration & discussion

1:15 Lunch

2:30 Extremophiles and Synthetic Biology: Robert Weinzierl

3:30 Tea

4:00 Forming Stars & Planets: Tom Haworth

5:00 Discussion

6:00 The One Tun London pub meet (optional)


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Science for Fiction 2017

We’re back!

The Imperial College & Science Fiction Foundation workshop for writers to meet and talk to scientists is back for another year.

The dates are 5-6 July, starting after lunch on the 5th and running all day on the 6th. There’s a meeting of the London Fannish Circle (The Tun) that evening so I we can all get the con ‘dead dog’ experience there.

The cost will be £30 to cover catering. Some financial support is available via the Science Fiction Foundation if necessary. Overnight accommodation, if you need it, would be extra.

Details of subjects to be covered are still being sorted out – and will in part be determined by what writers are after – but it will certainly include astronomy, physics and biology, possibly all mixed together in some cases.

If you are interested drop me an email at d dot clements at imperial dot ac dot uk. Please include any specific requests for subjects to be covered, and if you have any dietary restrictions that would affect what we order for lunch and tea.


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Ten Years of the European Research Council

Peter is not alone in looking at opportunities outside the UK in the wake of Brexit.

In the Dark

This little video reminded me that we’re coming up to the tenth anniversary of the founding of the European Research Council (ERC).

In my opinion the ERC has been an outstanding success that has revitalized science across the continent and here in the United Kingdom. Sadly the UK government has decided that the United Kingdom will play no further part in ERC-funded schemes or any other programme funded by the EU.  The participation of UK scientists has already started to diminish and when it dries up completely there will be a significant loss of research income, especially for fundamental science. Most physics & astronomy departments in the UK will lose 20-30% of their research income. Most also have a similar fraction of staff who are EU nationals, many of whom will leave because of the UK government’s shocking refusal to guarantee their right to remain. I find it sad beyond…

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Welcome SkyeEnt!

Over the last several years we’ve been helping our friends on Skye to plant trees on their croft. The whole 6 acres are now planted but we still have to do infill to replace trees that haven’t made it – thanks to weather and deer depredations for example – but it’s fantastic to see the woodland develop.

Places we planted now look like real copses or stands of trees!

And now one of our friends has started blogging about it all.

You can see it all at:

skyeent.wordpress.com

 


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Freedom of Movement isn’t the problem – The problem is in the way the UK fails use the available controls

We were lied into an unnecessary Brexit by politicians too ignorant, lazy or corrupt to look at the alternatives.

brexit853

Myth Buster – Debunking the horror stories surrounding the EU Freedom of Movement directive. 

 Currently Theresa May has made stopping FoM a red-line issue even at the expense of the UK’s membership of the Single Market.

Introduction

 One of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens is the free movement of workers. This includes the rights of movement and residence for workers, the rights of entry and residence for family members, and the right to work in another Member State and be treated on an equal footing with nationals of that Member State. Restrictions apply in some countries for citizens of Member States that have recently acceded to the EU.

There appears to be 4 major arguments in favour of stopping EU migrants exercising this freedom to come and work in the UK. It is my intention to debunk each of these arguments as plainly false.

Claim 1 – “Inability…

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Cosmic Sculpture: The Earth

The latest in my series of projects getting UG students to render various astrophysical objects as 3D models has produced another nice result.

Alongside the previous 3D model of Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropies, which can be found here, we now have a topographic model of the Earth!

This is the Earth without oceans, so you can see all the fascinating subsurface topography like continental plates and mid-oceanic ridges. And since this is one an actual sphere there are no distortions resulting from the projection that is used. Europe thus is at its actual size ie. utterly tiny compared to Africa.

Good luck with the 3D printer files – let me know here of any issues experienced in printing them.

fullsizerender


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A Year in Words

2016 has been a pretty miserable year on many counts, but there were some notable highlights for me personally on the writing front:

Three publications:

An Industrial Growth in the Jan/Feb 2016 Analog

Ashlines in the NESFA Press anthology Conspiracy!

Disturbed Universes, a collection of my short stories published by NewCon Press

Disturbed Universes includes An Industrial Growth, in case you missed the Analog issue where it was published. Click the links above if you want to buy copies!

I also got some good reviews:

‘a good read’ from Tangent Online and ‘action and a great deal of tension’ from Locus for An Industrial Growth

Conspiracy! was described as ‘a fine collection of truthy literature’ by Amazing Stories.

8/10 from Starburst for Disturbed Universes, and a ‘consistently entertaining… highly recommended’ from the BSFA’s Vector.

In other news I was a Guest of Honour at the 2016 British National SF Convention, which is where Disturbed Universes was launched. This was great fun, if rather exhausting in retrospect.

For 2017 I already have one publication in the pipeline, a story in the excellent new Scottish SF magazine Shoreline of Infinity. This should be out in time for the 2017 Eastern, and I will be doing a reading there. More news as we have it!