Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Demolition derby

The talk at Daresbury labs. (3 weeks ago now!) went well. A good audience of 100+ with a range of ages. It felt odd being back in Daresbury after I don't know how many years. Given that Diamond celebrated its 10th anniversary this year I probably haven't been to Daresbury for 10 years. The place still looks much the same with the same traffic jams over the rivers on the way there from Warrington station. Sadly there was no time for a nostalgic visit to the Ring O'Bells, a brilliant pub with good guest beers, which made late night shifts on the synchrotron far more bearable.
Audience arriving for my talk at Daresbury labs a few week ago

The following week I was at Nottingham catching up with colleagues and helping out with Soil Biology Professor interviews. Then last week I was at the Natural History Museum in London for a steering group meeting of our NERC BESS project looking at controls on earthworm distributions in grassland sites. The headline news is that "we" (David Jones, NHM) have collected and identified over 13000 earthworms from over 500 soil pits and that we have analysed the soils from the pits as well for all manner of chemical, biological and physical properties. I reckon we have a fantastic and valuable dataset. A very quick look see of the data suggests that Ron Corstanje, our stats maestro from Cranfield will be able to show what impact pasture management techniques have on earthworm populations. I'm resisting the temptation to say what we've found so far but it looks very exciting.

Today I took the opportunity to have a look at the building site that will soon (we trust) turn into a nice new Environment building.

Here is what the site looked like in April this year. Some rather (atypical) slightly worn looking 1960s buildings which I believe provided the cheapest university accommodation at York.

Demolition is now well underway with the aim of a new home for the start of the 2015-6 academic year.

I'll revisit the site later in the year and hopefully we'll all see a new building rising, resplendent from the rubble.

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