DU Physoc Trip to Prague - 2018

17 April 2018

Trinity College Dublin Physics Society

IOP Ireland provided some financial support to the Trinity College Dublin Physics Society for their recent trip to Prague – here’s what Eimear Kelly had to say about it.

From February 27th to March 4th, DU Physoc had the pleasure of going on a physics themed trip to Prague, Czech Republic. Landing on the Tuesday (27th), members arrived at the hostel, checked in and got to know each other as some of us hadn't met prior to the trip. As a group, we went to Cafe Louvre to eat dinner, a fancy restaurant frequented by none other than Albert Einstein on Tuesday evenings when he lived in Prague. Since it was a Tuesday evening when we landed, it was only fitting we ate there.

Wednesday morning was reserved for Prague sight-seeing. People had the choice to see / not see whatever they wanted. After a dinner, the group went to Prague Golf and Games, where black light mini golf was played. After a wonderful physics based adventure, Wednesday night ensued.

Thursday morning had a booking in Charles University with none other than Prof Jiri Podolsky. There, he gave the group a talk on Prague's ties to physics. From Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler's famous partnership, leading to the derivation of Kepler's laws to the life and work of Albert Einstein, Prof Podolsky brought it all to life wonderfully. He even gave a detailed description of how to read Prague's famous Astronomical Clock even though it was temporarily down for maintenance during our visit. After touching on Mach and Doppler (both who have important physics things named after them), we parted ways with Prof Podolsky.

The rest of Thursday was a write-off since a short panic attack of realising our flights home were cancelled put a downer on the group’s morale. Friday morning, after travel home was reorganised, the group went to the National Technical Museum of Prague. Here the group split up, and tackled the many exhibits of the museum in any order they wanted. From Astronomy to Kitchen Physics, the museum had everything, even a dedicated Chemistry section. The star of the show was the transport exhibit. This consisted ofa large, open, multi-story hall showing  various modes of transport though the ages. From steam trains to airplanes, penny farthings to famous cars in Prague history. On the way to the museum, we stopped by the largest pendulum I've ever seen, stationed where a monument to Joseph Stalin once stood (before the fall of communism in Prague). Some of the group dwindled as they had acquired divergent plans to travel back to Ireland.

Saturday consisted of a day of re-cooperation. Originally, we were supposed to land back in Ireland by now, so Saturday morning was once again, left to the whim of everyone. Saturday afternoon however, a group trip to a tower that looked very familiar to the Eiffel Tower, and Stefanik Observatory. Here, we saw a small museum with many astronomy related facts, some gemstones, some moon rock samples and even some optics experiments! We then got the chance to look out two telescopes pointed to the skies.

We saw the moon magnified 50 times, and 80 times through one telescope, and far away stars though the other telescope. Once again, we headed back to the hostel to get some rest.

Sunday had the rest of us back to Ireland. It was a truly wonderful experience, one that I won't forget.