Science and Arts

Meeting Alan Parsons
Published 7/24/2012 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
In many occasions I wrote in this blog that my passion for astronomy was accompanied by a deep passion for music. It was around 1978, or 1979, when a strong link between the skies and the music of the Alan Parsons Project started to develop. Besides the "spatial" character of several pieces (especially the instrumental ones), many texts contain references to astronomical objects. And so, partially because of this, and partially because of a certain imagination on my side, the two things became strongly related. Even after the... read more ❯

Rock Star Paul Young encounters the Stars @ ESO
Published 10/18/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
I am sick, at home. Stomach not working as originally designed. Therefore I find some time to blog. These last days have been very busy with the organization of the ESO Observing Programmes Committee, the board that selects the scientific projects that make to the ESO telescopes, including the VLT. I'll tell you more about that; for the time being it suffices to say that we have received 969 valid proposals for the next semester, with all what this entails... Today I finished the review of a PhD Thesis from the Australian National University. A very good one, a pleasure to... read more ❯

Lost a chance, maybe forever
Published 8/31/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Yesterday, while digging into more than 800 emails (already excluding spam) received during my summer vacation, I realized I have lost one of THE chances of my life. Scrolling down the list, searching for the most urgent things, I stumbled upon a message with a strange subject: From the Dark Side of the Moon to Paranal The sender is my colleague astronomer and good, old friend  Martino Romaniello, who is well aware of some of my passions. I open the message. It starts with !!!! followed by a web link. I click on it and I see the picture you can also see here: That... read more ❯

Back from the light design conference in Drammen - Norway
Published 4/16/2011 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Busy days... things have [somewhat unexpectedly] changed in my professional life (I'll blog about this when I'm settled. I just anticipate I'm still an astronomer ;-)), and this comes at a time where many other things are happening. Our paper on the very old stars was re-submitted after the first pass of the second referee. Now there is one serious point that needs to be addressed, which is the possibility that those stars are actually pre-Main-Sequence stars. I'll write more in a future post. Another article on the connection between... read more ❯

The curtain falls on the Light Symposium 2010
Published 10/30/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Sitting in Stockholm’s Airport I try to rap up these last three days. I must say everything went much above expectations. I met a few remarkable people, Tor Nørretranders and Abraham Haim in the first place. But also a group of young lighting designers with an open minded approach. I was surprised by the number of times natural light was mentioned while talking about night environment. And the need for making a step backwards, the need of getting back in touch with darkness. Although I had made my point very clear on the first day, I had one more occasion yesterday,... read more ❯

A dinner with Tor Norretranders in Stockholm
Published 10/30/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
I am just back from a very nice dinner with Tor Norretranders in Stockholm. Impressive personality, vast culture. And, most surprising of all, with a deep knowledge of Astronomy. Ok, now you might ask who this guy is, what on earth I am doing in Stockholm, and why you should be interested in knowing this. Ok, let me give a bit of background. As a consequence of my talk on light pollution and Astronomy in the CIE conference in Vienna, last March, I got invited to give a one hour lecture to the Light Symposium 2010, here in Stockholm. The most... read more ❯

Ancient women in astronomy
Published 3/28/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Yesterday night I went to the cinema (yes, Lowell, in the end I made it...) and saw Agora, the last movie by Alejandro Amenabar (premiered in Germany on March 13). What does this have to do with astronomy? Well, as you may know, it tells the story of Hypatia, a scholar in the ancient Alexandria, who has worked in mathematics and astronomy. It was the last show of the day and I was alone in the room, which made the whole thing quite different from the usual visit to a cinema. In the adjacent room they were giving Shutter Island,... read more ❯

There is still... Hope!
Published 3/13/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
You may wonder why from time to time there is a post, in my blog, that is apparently not so much related to astronomy. Well, the lack of connection is indeed only apparent. The way I think and perceive the world is the result of a complex process (as is for my kids, you, and all the rest of mankind for that matter). It is always difficult to say which events, people met, books read, music listened and so on led you where you are. In my personal experience, music and... read more ❯

Late meetings. People who make beautiful things.
Published 1/24/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
This has nothing to do with Astronomy (or maybe it does, but this it is not so important). I am just back from the Prinzregenten Theater in Munich, where David Fray gave a very impressive concert, playing Schubert and Bach. What amazes me is how actual and vivid Bach can sound in the hands of Fray. All that geometry transfigured into passion... Have a look to this and you'll tell me. Certainly the guy is eccentric (and a beautiful man, ladies tell me), but when he plays Bach he brings about something I had never heard before. Bach and Astronomy... read more ❯

Early meetings. People who make things happen.
Published 1/21/2010 in Fernando Patat Author Ferdinando
Like everyday, this morning I brought my little son to the kinder-garden. On the way I met Tim de Zeeuw, the Director General of ESO. From the window of my office I can see his and I had noticed he had been away for quite some time. I took advantage of this for briefly chatting with him about how jet-lag is annoying and so on. "Yes" - he said - "but sometimes interesting things happen". I was kind of guessing that something exceptional was coming and the conversation was going to turn into something much less trivial than jet-lag... [caption id="attachment_761"... read more ❯