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Where is Br Guy?

Today I am in London, tomorrow the Lake District. I'll be hiking about there, in the rain no doubt, for a week; then it's on to North Yorkshire and Ampleforth, where I'll be visiting friends and with luck visiting Durham as well.

On Tuesday, August 12, I return to London. I hear there some sort of science fiction convention happening later that week? Maybe I'll show up...

If anyone on this list is likely to be crossing paths with me during this time, let me know.

(My schedule for LonCon can be found here...)

Also in the news... I am interviewed on this new site by Kirsty McClusky, whom I first met via the excellent book review site, Vulpis LIbris.

LonCon Schedule for Br Guy

While waiting for my Skype session to Detcon I to start, I figured I would post this:

The Fermi Paradox in Light of the Kepler Mission

Thursday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL)

The Kepler Mission has been hugely successful in searching for exoplanets. It's results have been used as the basis of claims that Earthlike planets lie in the habitable zones of 20% of stars in the galaxy. This would mean that the nearest habitable planet s just 12 light years away. If habitable planets are so common why have we seen no sign of intelligent life spreading from star to star? Does this mean that we really are alone in the universe? The panel considers Kepler and other results and try to come up with more informed answers to Fermi's infamous question: "Where are they?"

Gerry Webb (M), Guy Consolmagno SJ , Dr Helen Fraser, Dr Jane Greaves, G. David Nordley , Charles Stross

Scientists Without Borders

Friday 13:30 - 15:00, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL)

Science may strive for objectivity, but all scientific communities are grounded in their host cultures. The panellists talk about working in different scientific cultures, working in multinational teams or transporting a team or project elsewhere.

Guy Consolmagno SJ (M) , Katie Mack, Leah-Nani Alconcel , Sharon Reamer, Rachel Berkson

Saturday 11:00 - 12:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL)
Guy Consolmagno SJ , Juliet E McKenna

SF and Space Travel: pragmatism or pessimism?

Monday 12:00 - 13:30, Capital Suite 11 (ExCeL)

Charlie Stross has said the idea of space travel happening any time soon in real life is complete nonsense. Not everyone has agreed with him, but does the discussion he started highlight something about the proliferation of near term science fiction? Does the dearth of spaceships on TV, and the glut of climate-change thrillers on paper, indicate that we have lost faith in the idea that humans will travel among the stars? Or should we be engaging with issues much closer to home anyway?

Guy Consolmagno SJ (M), Rohan Shah , Anna Davour , Ben Bova, Tsana Dolichva

Reading: Guy Consolmagno SJ

Monday 15:30 - 16:00, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

Guy Consolmagno SJ

In which I win a Prize

In particular, the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences.

The citation can be found here...

They get the name of one of my books wrong, it is Turn LEFT at Orion, but then you shouldn't believe half of the nice things they say about me, either...

I am embarrassed to admit how pleased I am!

The next two months...

... look to be intense but fun.

I am presently in London, having just finished a two day conference on the 400th anniversary of Heythrop College. I gave a talk about the Jesuits and Science, which went 20 minutes overtime (even though I cut 20 minutes out of the talk). I feel bad about that. Lots of people said they enjoyed it, but I won't let them rob me of my well-earned guilt!

I should be back in Rome by this evening. (I leave for the airport as soon as I finish writing this up.) This will be our last week of our biennial summer school, which has been fun but busy. Thursday we're supposed to head into the Vatican to give the Pope a chance to meet up with us!

Saturday next, I fly back to the UK and head to Buckfast Abbey for an event put on there by the diocese of Plymouth. I will be talking about Extraterrestrials. Then on Monday I fly to Helsinki for the triennial Asteroics-Comets-Meteors meeting. Tuesday I give a paper which, if I do it right, will be very controversial and cause lots of people to hate me! I plan to show that a long-held assumption about Vesta, dating back to 1977, is actually rubbish. Since I was the one who came up with that assumption back then, I need to rubbish it myself before someone else gets to it! I also have a poster there.

On July 5, I head to Zurich, and the next day down to Bern for another meeting at the International Space Science Institute. Then back in Zurich on the 14th for a talk at ETH (about Vesta). Finally, home to Rome.

That gives me two weeks in Rome to pack up my room for my move to Tucson. On August 1 I fly back to London, spend a week in the Lake District, a weekend at Ampleforth, and then head to London for Loncon. On August 20, two months from now, I should arrive in Tucson.

Fame I can live with

A friend has pointed me to a site called Eye of the Tiber, with this article about the Pope and aliens which quotes me...

Think of it as The Onion for Catholics.

Georgetown University delights

My address to the Georgetown commencement can be streamed here.

It was a wonderful event. My thanks to everyone who made it possible, from those who invited me to those who treated me like royalty. Unlike some honorees at some other schools, I did not get a zillion dollar honorarium; Instead, I got a box of "Fleurir hand grown chocolates" which was much, much better! (Unlike a check, I get to keep the chocolates... on my waistline, alas.)

Today I'm going on a picnic with my 2-year-old goddaughter Corinne, along with her parents (and five year old sister) and her grandmother, whom I have known since high school. And the weather in DC continues to be beautiful.


I realized late last night that my previous cryptic message was about a person that many of my friends from the Carolingia SCA who are on LJ would have known as "Azrael" back in the early 1980s.

To give all the details that I have, from a mutual friend: "... Jennifer died over the weekend.  She and her husband were swimming on vacation in Mexico and were swept far from shore.  Glenn could not save her. Jennifer and I have stayed close all these years and I miss her immensely. Her funeral will be in California on Monday."

The past never goes away

In the space of fifteen minutes, I heard on the internet...

...that a high school friend of mine, whom I haven't seen in about 40 years, will be in Washington when I am there this weekend and wants to get together;

...that I am mentioned in the Huffington Post for saying something four years ago that I don't remember saying, and for which I would just as soon not be famous;

...and that an old girlfriend of mine, whom I last heard from about 25 years ago, has died, drowned while on vacation.

Don't adventures ever end?

I am cooler than you think!

At least, that's according to this post from a blogger at Georgetown.

Of course, that depends on what you think.

(Hat tip to beamjockey for spotting this.)

Meanwhile, my relatives want to know if I am getting $30K to speak, like some other commencement speakers of note. The answer is, no. On the other hand, I don't know of any petitions against my presence... yet.

Another degree

Georgetown College, the arts and sciences college of Georgetown University, has announced their commencement speakers this year. It includes one current and one former US cabinet member; an Ivy League dean; a couple of heavy hitter CEOs; a couple of foundation presidents. And a Vatican astronomer.

With it, comes an honorary doctorate in humane letters. Already a friend has asked if one can get a degree in inhumane letters – I know a few people who would qualify for that!

I am flattered and bemused. Mostly I am thrilled to get the chance to visit DC and meet my youngest goddaughter, whom I have yet to see in the flesh...