A few extra items and thoughts in no special order which might be of interest.
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I am running a nanoindentation conference in Newcastle in July 2008. More details can be found at
I am a devotee of Science Fiction literature and have recently been trying to finish the unread books on my shelves at home (of which there are several hundred!) Recent recommendations include Solaris, A Chain of Chance and A Perfect Vacuum by the Polish author Stanislaw Lem which are available in a combined edition. Sometimes such works suffer in translation but these are very strong. Solaris, a psychological story about a research team investigating a sentient ocean which has the ability to make memories of people real is the most well-known and has been filmed. A chain of chance is a rather unusual detective story whereas A perfect vacuum consists of a set of serious reviews of non-existent books. All are well worth reading.
Hotter than Potter - that is how our local bookshop is describing some of the books by Diana Wynne Jones which predate J.K Rowling's Harry Potter books and cover similar ground. I would recommend the Crestomancy books and Charmed Life in particular to those who like the Potter oevre (which is now getting rather formulaic to my mind).
Keith Roberts - I was sad to read of the recent death (September 2000) of Keith Roberts who is, I think, a much under-rated author. His alternative history novel Pavane is first rate and the novels Molly Zero, The Furies and the Boat of Fate are all worth looking at.
I viewed the eclipse on 11th August from the roof of the Herschel Building along with several people from the Departments of Physics and Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. A reflecting telescope was set up by Physics staff to project the image of the sun onto a large sheet of card. I recorded the images off the card with my digital camera. The moon was moving across the sun's disc from left to right.
As a bit of fun I have been using some new equipment to make very low load hardness tests on the surface of a range of European coins. The new Euro is soft compared to the others, probably because it is new and has not work hardened appreciably. It will harden with use. Funny how sometimes science mimics the financial world!
To find out what the papers said click on one of the following:-