Archive for City West

The Time of the Pandemic

Posted in Biographical, Books, Talks and Reviews, Covid-19, Science Politics, Talks and Reviews with tags , , , , on May 11, 2022 by telescoper

I’ve posted before about the way the Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with my perception of the passage of time and today I’ve experienced another example because I was reminded that it was on this day (11th May) last year that I received my first shot of Covid-19 vaccine.

It’s very hard for me to accept that it was just one year ago that I was waiting in City West to get my injection as it seems in my memory further back than that in my memory. It’s not only how long ago things happened, but also even the sequence of events that has become muddled. I wonder how long it will take to restore any normal sense of these things?

Anyway, I’ve just updated the daily statistics on this blog and although case numbers remain relatively high they do seem to be falling steadily and things do seem to be under control in terms of hospital admissions and deaths. Only 254 people are in hospital with Covid-19 today and the trend is downward.

Maybe the time of the pandemic is drawing to a close?

Further evidence that things may be getting back to normal is that I’m giving the first in-person research talk I’ve done since before the pandemic started at the Irish Theoretical Physics Meeting (ITP22) at the end of this month in Dublin (at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, to be precise). I’m looking forward to giving a talk in the same room as real people. I’m even top of the bill (though only thanks to alphabetical order):

I’ve only got a 30-minute slot so I hope my sense of the passage of time returns at least to the extent that I keep to schedule. My PhD student is travelling to Newcastle next week to give her first ever conference talk at the UK Cosmology Meeting. Hers is a 5-minute talk, which is quite a difficult thing to do well, but I have every confidence it will be excellent.

And talking of research, I see that tomorrow sees the public announcement of the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Universities have had their results since the start of the week but they are embargoed until tomorrow, no doubt to allow PR people to do their work. I’ll probably post a reaction tomorrow, but for now I’ll just send best wishes to colleagues in the UK – especially in Cardiff and Sussex – who are waiting anxiously hoping for a successful outcome and say that I’m very happy to be here in Ireland, out of the path of that particular bureaucratic juggernaut.

A Date for a Boost!

Posted in Biographical, Covid-19, Education with tags , , , , on December 9, 2021 by telescoper

After expressing concern about the prospects of getting a timely booster jab last night I received an SMS message offering me an appointment next Wednesday for a shot. The text was sent on 8th December, six months to the day since my second jab (8th June). I will once again have to travel to City West in order to receive it, so will have take some time off work but that’s a small price to pay.

I had inferred (incorrectly) that it would take much longer to get a date for booster because most of the people I know in their sixties haven’t had theirs yet and they are higher priority than me. I now realise that may be because they had the AstraZeneca vaccine, which had a longer interval between first and second doses than the 4 weeks for the Pfizer vaccine I had, so had a later second dose than mine.

My third vaccine dose will be of the Moderna vaccine; the previous two were Pfizer/BioNTech. It seems everyone who is getting a shot this month will be getting the Moderna version as Ireland has a large stock of this vaccine due to expire next month. Although its efficacy against the omicron variant is unknown, I will of course attend the appointment.

Yesterday, before I received the text message announcing my booster shot, I emailed the students in my classes to say the remaining lectures of the term will be online-only because of the high levels of Covid-19 in circulation and my waning immunity. Next week’s booster doesn’t change that as next week is the last week of teaching. My plan is to do the lectures live as webcasts and make the recordings available afterwards, which is how I’ve done them the entire term, except I’ll be doing them from home with no in-person audience. Apart, that is, from next Wednesday, when I’ll only be able to offer a pre-recorded lecture as I’ll be at City West when the lecture is scheduled. That will be my last lecture of the Semester, as most of my teaching is concentrated in the early part of the week.

Owing to a combination of Covid-19, Storm Barra and no doubt sheer exhaustion, student attendance at lectures and tutorials on campus has fallen sharply, though attendance at my second-year class has remained quite high. On Tuesday the campus was virtually deserted but about 70% of my class for Vector Calculus & Fourier Series were there. Somehiw, though, I don’t think they’ll mind too much watching the remaining couple of lectures from the comfort of their homes!