Thursday, April 2, 2009

i've arrived in malaysia!

the moon smiles while orion leans on his side. the street-flooding downpours dont dissuade the motorcyclists from riding around town.

i have arrived in kuala lumpur, malaysia!

the city of KL is surprisingly modern. there is little evidence for structures older than 20 years or so. the petronas towers create a gorgeous skyline with the KL tower, but it doesnt feel "exotic" until i go to the chaotic markets and eat the fabulous food!

the conference is proceeding smoothly! astronomers give their talks to the group, trying to convince others of their results, which dont always agree with previous talks. controversial subjects are the most interesting, when people discuss potential resolutions and advise each other on how to progress with ideas!

a simple challenge in this science is to create definitions, then convince the community to continuously use those definitions! one result may contradict another just because they define "close" galaxies differently, for example! this is true for any subject i guess, but no less frustrating among the experts.

in all honesty, there hasnt been a major breakthrough in the field of galaxy formation and evolution in probably 25 years - and i'm not seeing any evidence for an exciting *new* result here. the discussions revolve around tweaking the details of relations discovered in the 70's or 80's. i was hoping for a bit more insight, but maybe it's just me that hasnt found it....?

time for lunch.... i'll try to make time for more reflections over the next couple days...


Steve Jeffery said...

Pure coincidence I'm sure that this conference coincides with the Malaysian Grand Prix. ;-)

willow said...

oh i hope you are having a fantastic time!

Mike Merrifield said...

Trust me, it was a coincidence -- we set the date at least a year before the FIA fixed the Grand Prix date. The Grand Prix was good, though!