Starfest 2011

Let me say first that I was utterly unprepared for the sheer scope and size of Starfest. We drove about 3 hours outside of Toronto into what must surely have been determined to be the exact middle of nowhere, but when we pulled into the park (and after we put red filters on our car so we wouldn’t mess things up for people when we drove out after dark), we saw literally hundreds of tents and scopes everywhere. It was, frankly, amazing.

We spent the afternoon wandering around, talking to people, going on a little hike, and trying desperately to get Willa (my 20 month old daughter) to take a nap in her backpack. She was just too excited. She particularly wanted me to buy this:

which you can buy from Norman Fullum.

After an awesome sky tour of the Southern skies by Alan Dyer, I gave my talk. The title was, “‘What is the Universe Expanding Into?’ and other perfectly reasonable questions.” It was meant to be a somewhat more in depth discussion behind some of the analogies (e.g. an inflating balloon, which only begs the question of what’s inside the balloon) that underlie most popular discussions of cosmology.

When I was told I was giving it in a “tent” I thought it was going to be a pretty small scale operation. I was wrong. See that white tent to the left in the first image? You may not be able to tell just by looking, but it seats 600, and it looks like this from the inside:

I had a blast! Here’s a couple of shots of me gesticulating wildly:

The audience was incredibly responsive, tons of great questions, and I ran out of my rather meager supply of books very quickly. For those who couldn’t get one, might I recommend amazon or

Thanks to Heide Debond and the rest of the Starfest team for inviting me! I had a wonderful time.


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