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Melissa and Matt's wedding

National Astronomy Meeting 2010

And so another N.A.M. has ended – I am writing this on the long train journey home. Luckily I booked my seat long before Eyjafjallajokull started to stir, and ground all the planes (unlike many that could not make it, or get back). The N.A.M. was at Glasgow University, close to the centre of the city, the university is an ancient one with many pretty old buildings that look like they belong in a work of fiction.

My main reason for coming to the N.A.M. was the launch of the SuperWASP public archive. I have been working on this for around a year now, and on Monday it was officially let loose on the public. This first data release has 14 billion data points and over 3.5 million images now available to be queried and downloaded. The general consensus among the people I spoke to about it was that it will be a very useful resource. The trouble I am having is that it is rather difficult to get people excited about an astronomical data base, and then getting them to tell their friends!

As ever with N.A.M.s there was a wide range of sessions to go to, one that I particularly enjoyed was the software astronomy session. In it the chair introduced the term astroinformaticsto me as a way of describing what it is that I do – a much sexier title than archive scientist me thinks 🙂

As you would expect there were a few people rather irate at the open forum which had representatives from the funding councils. One poor guy told us how he had his three year post-doc ended one year in, with one months notice, due to the current funding issues. Needless to say, this is precisely why more and more of my friends are moving abroad.

Besides the conference I did get to do some other stuff – mainly revolving around drinking of some description. The conference dinner was in the Kelvingrive museum, which was pretty cool. And so it is that I am heading back to Leicester with a bottle of double matured lagavulin in my case, and a head full of new ideas…