Saturday, 24 May 2008

Cosmology du vin

Last week I took part in cosmology workshop organized jointly between some South African and Cambridge cosmologists, and I'd say it was quite successful. Of course, the fun was in no way hampered by the fact that it was held at this seriously posh new research institute in Stellenbosch - the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS). In case you're unaware of Stellenbosch, it is the center of wine country surrounding Cape Town. There's something like 145 vineyards in Stellenbosch, and then multiple other areas surrounding it with other suitable wineries. So while the mornings of the conference were taken up with learning about cosmology (which is not my particular subject, but was interesting anyway cause they had good speakers), the afternoons were taken up with wine tastings. It was all made even better because one of the visiting Cambridgians is Malcolm Perry, a quite well known string theory dude. And being as Amanda is a postdoc with him, and he happens to be both wine steward for Trinity College AND a seriously cool guy, we had a blast going around trying different wines. He's one of those guys who knows a shitload about wine but is so completely unpretentious about it that you can ask him anything and you learn a great deal about wine. A good time was had by all.

In fact, we enjoyed it so much (and by we I mean Jeff) that we're now planning on having our OWN conference there in December, on string theory. Actually, we were planning on having this conference soon anyway, but trying to decide on a cool place to do it, and this STIAS conference center is just perfect. Totally lush, nice area, friendly people (sort of, although when someone mildly criticized the lunch they served, one of the servers got all up in their face). So it's on! Anyone out there who wants to fly on over to Cape Town for a good ol' fashioned String Theory conference, just let me know and I'll set it up. Of course, we're not paying for your damn ticket, so you'll have to pay for the $2000 flight, but... Oh, and also, it's just on AdS/CFT, so String Landscape researchers need not apply...

1 comment:

dmo said...

Yeah, Malcom visits us out here in MI a few times a year and he's a really fun guy (and his wife is cool too). Apparently Trinity college is one of the largest wine purchasers in the world, so he really has to know his stuff. Hope things are going well in SA.