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White noise from The White House

Off to Cambridge

Skipped a few days as I ‘blog through Europe’ – will catch you, my avid followers, on what’s going on.

Attended the International Liquid Crystal Elastomer Conference from Monday through Wednesday.  It was an enjoyable conference.  Initially I was underwhelmed by Lisbon.  As I posted earlier, I toured Belem on Sunday – but I had not happened across any of the stereotypical environments (cafes, squares, etc.) nor anywhere but a mall food court to eat.  Tuesday, however, after the conference day ended we took a ‘panoramic’ city bus tour before making our way to a restaurant with a nice view of St. George’s castle and the Targus River.  Had a nice evening – and finally got a better sense of the city.  On Wednesday, a colleague of mine and I went down to the “Restaurarde” district and hit up an Italian cafe.

Thursday – flew from Lisbon to London Heathrow.  I lived Jaymie’s prior experience sluffing WLS (World’s Largest Suitcase) and WTS (World’s Tiniest Suitcase) to the Express train, then caught the City Line train…before heading north from King’s Cross.  Checked into the hotel (kind of a big deal)

and wandered around the city – visiting a famous pub, The Eagle, for a couple pints of Guinness…  Watson and Crick first revealed the structure of DNA at the Eagle.

Friday morning got up and visited a colleague at Cambridge.  Cambridge has a comparatively different model – there are 31 colleges associated with the university.  The Professors and students belong to both the university (take big classes, work on labs) but also have one on one ‘tuition’ (teaching) at the college.  I visited Corpus Christi College and spent the day there:

Turns out, a little bit of history was going on in my visit to Corpus Christi…  The short story is that Corpus Christi was founded by Matthew Parker, who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury (Pope of Church of England).  Queen Elizabeth tasked him with the disassembly of the Catholic church in England – and in doing so he collected an assembly of manuscripts from the convents and monasteries.  In his will, he said that if the college ever lost a book – the collection would be passed along to another college.  Since that time – the other college comes in and audits the book collection – counting them and assuring they are all there.  It now is a festival/formality of sorts.  The book counting was yesterday.  They were all there.  Last night – I went to a viewing with my colleague and observed the 39 Articles (he compared it to the Constitution in terms of how it was the basis of England) which Parker presided over the formation…as well as the Bible of St. Augustine.  The Bible of St. Augustine was from 500 AD, approximately – 1500+ years old!  Afterwards we went to dinner in the college (very formal).

This morning I made sure to see the sights in Cambridge including the ‘Old Cavendish Laboratory’ (9 Nobel prize winners):

and King’s College Chapel:

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