I just had to let you know a few details about my London visit. First, my renewed passport arrived in snailmail, with no problems at all! The new passport is quite fancy, by the way, with all sorts of aphorisms about democracy and how wonderful it is printed at the top of each page. Too bad they didn’t include anything about the lack of health insurance, the housing crisis and the absolutely crappy employment situation for people with “too much education”.
So here’s the plan so far: I arrive at Heathrow at 730 am on the 28th of August and depart in the afternoon on the 7th of September.
28 August (evening): So far, it appears that those of us who manage to arrive early will be treated to a pub crawl in London among pubs that have scientific themes. Several people are compiling a list of candidate pubs now, so suggestions from you guys are quite welcome!
29 August: There will be a walking tour of key scientific sites/museums in London during the day, followed by a restaurant meal at a location that has not yet been determined.
30 August: The European Science Blogging Conference, where I will be speaking, is being held at the newly refurbished Royal Institution of Great Britain. Wow! I am impressed! According to the programme, I will be speaking along with Anna Kushnir and Jennifer Rohn. Our session is “The scientific life, exposed” and will be moderated by my colleague and friend, Mo. Mo crashed at my apartment for a few days during last year’s ScienceBlogs get-together. Our session description is as follows;
Mistrust of scientists is common, and misinterpretation of scientific results rampant. Science blogs can serve as a bridge between scientists and the general public. Blogs build a community of scientists in which they can discuss the peculiarities of their jobs, their work, and their results. More than that, science blogs have the power to demystify the scientific process for the public and to reverse deeply held stereotypes of scientists. In this session, we will discuss how science blogs can change the public’s perception of scientists and provide a support framework for scientists themselves.
I am so excited to attend, and to meet all these amazing people that I am practically speechless! Not only that, but anyone who wishes to attend can do so, for free! So please do register to attend, because we would love to see you there!
In the evening after the conference has concluded, we all will have a drink or two at the Royal Institution before moving on to a local bar/pub.
Then, on Sunday, 31 August, until I leave a week later, I can arrange my time as I see fit, unless the NATURE folks are working on something else (of course, I will participate if they are!). I was thrilled to learn that almost none of the museums or galleries in London charge admission fees — a good thing since I think I underestimated the cost of being in London for so long. So I plan to visit as many galleries and museums as I can, do a lot of photography, and possibly do some birding as well.
Also during this time, I plan to meet several of my ScienceBlogs colleagues and will hang out with them for at least some of the time. My colleague and friend, Chris, who crashed in my NYC apartment last year during the ScienceBloggers’ get-together, will be meeting me for a few days of fun before he returns to his university in South Africa. Another colleague and friend, Mike, will be visiting London on the same dates as I, so we will probably be hanging around together during at least part of our visit (he thinks he might travel around the country a little, I am very tempted but not sure I can afford this). I am hoping to visit Down House and to see the William Smith map at the Geological Society with him.
Oh, and don’t forget that Professor Steve Steve will be my traveling companion!