It wasn’t all hard work…
The 74th Meteoritical Society Conference was held in the spectacular Old Naval College in Greenwich. The buildings were designed by Sir Christopher Wren as the Royal Hospital for Seaman and were built on the former site of Greenwich Palace, birthplace of Tudor monarchs Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I.
There was another magnificent setting on Monday for the Barringer Lecture, this year given by Astronomer Royal Martin Rees. We were seated in the Central Hall of the Natural History Museum, looked down on by a Diplodocus. Lord Rees quipped that he would “rather be talking to the head of a dinosaur than it’s back-end”! The talk was entitled “Big Bang to Biosphere” and covered big bang theories, solar system formation, the possibility of life elsewhere and the future of manned space missions. (A video Lord Rees presenting Big Bang to Biosphere at Imperial College London is available here.)
We were treated to a free show at the Royal Observatory’s planetarium. “Impact” is an informative and dynamic show made by the astronomers at the Observatory that explores our understanding of small solar system objects such as asteroids and comets. We dare you not to flinch when an asteroid whizzes past your shoulder. There is also an exhibition containing interactive exhibits, videos and images that shows how vital meteorites and asteroids are in piecing together our understanding of the solar system.
On the Wednesday night we ate a three course banquet in the Painted Hall “probably the finest dining hall in the Western World”. The hall was featured in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean (Johnny Depp’s costume was on display which caused a lot of excitement for some!)