Yacht a lot of people: the opening reception at the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Miami
By Michael Banks in Miami, Florida
“Did I just hear him say Stephen Hawking?”; said a fellow passenger queuing behind me at Heathrow airport.
I was checking into my flight to Miami as a call for Hawking was made over the loudspeaker. Of course, it could have been someone else, but I wondered if it was indeed the Cambridge-based physicist.
Could Hawking be attending the 216th American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Miami I thought? Or maybe the 68-year-old theoretical physicist was instead going to Canada to take up his position as Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo.
Hawking was not on my flight, where after a 22 hour door-to-door trip I finally arrived in Miami. The AAS meeting kicked off tonight with the opening reception, so feeling a little jet-lagged, I walked over the Miami Regency Hotel where 1000 physicists will tomorrow convene for four days discussing all things astronomy.
At the reception we were reminded that we were in Miami as, every few minutes, a yacht would go past the hotel blaring loud music with people dancing on board cheering towards unsuspecting astronomers. “We don’t usually get this at the AAS,” noted one participant.
Oh, and Hawking was not in attendance at the reception tonight, so I guess he may have been on that flight to Canada after all.