Sydney, 1989

Speaking of reminiscing; with all the craziness of having done an actual honest week’s work last week (no, nothing exciting, just a quick development gig, but thanks for asking) I forgot to mention a moderately bizarre occurrence on a flight back from London on Monday. Taking my seat, I was forced to interrupt a chap who was scribbling on a scrap of paper, writing ‘λ’ far more often than is conventional when doing, say, the crossword.

Eventually I concocted some sort of vague excuse to mention that my diffraction physics was somewhat rusty, and there ensued a conversation involving more than the average quotient of the word ‘Fraunhofer’. But this was not the coincidence.

The chap turned out to be Australian, and he’d taken his PhD at the University of Sydney. In the summer of 1989, he was showing students around the high-energy physics department; students from the School of PhysicsInternational Science School. Five of those students were from the UK. One of those five was me.

No, of course we didn’t remember each other – but we must have first met fifteen years ago, and not on BA1498.

Small world.

In a further coincidence, at this moment the top story on the website of the UK end of the whole shebang, the Association for Science Education, is the start of the selection procedure for the next ‘5 for Sydney’. (PDF flyer). Good luck, kids. I had a blast, and apparently it’s still affecting my life.

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