I just realized that I haven't said much about the University of Bristol. The ornate building shown above is the Wills Memorial Building, built by the industrialist of that name in the late 1800s. It is absolutely gorgeous inside and houses, among others, the law program. It is located next door to the Merchant Venturers Building, about three years old, which houses the Computer Science Department.
The department has some really neat equipment, including the motion machine shown above, which is used for developing virtual reality applications. The department has many areas of research, including graphics and parallel computing which I'm interested in. One neat thing is that in our last three weeks here, we were able to attend four excellent colloquia given by Holly Rushmeier ("Building a Digital Model of Michelangelo's Florentine Pieta", IBM TJ Watson Research), Kadi Bouatouch ("Image Synthesis Versus Lighting Simulation", IRISA , France), Erik Jansen ("Accurate Overlaying for Mobile Augmented Reality", Delft University, the Netherlands), and David May ("The Transputer Revisited", Bristol University).
Holly's visit began on Thanksgiving which was also Katerina Mania's name day this year. Pictured about are Mark Everingham and Clare Kennedy, two Computer Science Ph.D. students who attended Katerina's celebration.
While Holly was giving her lecture, Walt visited the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. This was the first of several. (see part II!)
We celebrated Thanksgiving with Holly, Ann McNamara and Katerina on Friday at Rhona and Alan Chalmers' house. Holly brought the turkey, the one on the right, that is, and Thanksgiving napkins! :-) Rhona did a marvelous first try at an American Thanksgiving dinner, including pumpkin pie. We were appropriately stuffed ourselves.
Christ Church College, Oxford, Front Gate
We took a day trip to Oxford to see the town and University. The photos above are of the main gate to Christ Church College and Square. Lovely and ornate!
On December 2, Walt went to Milton Keynes to visit the Open University to see the kinds of equipment they use for their distance learning programs for engineering laboratory courses. On the way home, the fuel pump failed in our 1986 Honda CRX. We'd had problems with it just before leaving Canterbury, but the Honda dealer refused to fix it as he said the car would not pass MOT (read that inspection). This was a Friday and we were scheduled to leave Bristol on the following Thursday! A minor panic ensued and a major change in weekend plans (had planned to visit Bath and Wickham). But, on Monday, thanks to Alan and his mechanic, and our ability to locate the right parts, we were back in business and it looks like the car will make it until Saturday (January 15), when we will sell it to a junkyard.
Alan and Rhona's dog, Maya, is pictured above (Back due to popular demand) and with her friend at our early Christmas celebration and TV returning evening. (Thanks for everything, Rhona and Alan!)
We left Bristol on December 9 and spent the night in Canterbury, where we visited Peter and Maria Welch again, did a little Beanie Baby shopping, had dinner at Café du Amis Mexique, and visited the South Africa (Boer War) Monument pictured above. Alan had suggested it.
By the way, Alan Chalmers' Boer War book: "Bombardment of Ladysmith Anticipated: The Diary of a Siege" will be out on February 21. (We got to help select the cover art!) Alan and Rhona will be coming to South Africa in March, so we'll get a chance to see them there. (How many countries will we have been in together in the past year?)
Then on December 10 we went back through Chunnel and home again to the Netherlands. (They pulled us over and checked our car for explosives at customs before we were allowed to enter the train! Two days before, an abandoned car found near the chunnel entrance closed it down for most of the day!)
Go on to Part II
Nan Schaller's and Walt Bankes' Sabbatical Page