OUSL Activities in 2006

20th November 2006 - Conference on “Mysteries of Current Fundamental Physics Research”

Roger Cashmore, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Oxford and President of Brasenose, and Professor Ralf Tarrach, Rector of the University of Luxembourg, gave individual talks on the astonishing new speculations and the understanding that mankind is acquiring on the fundamentals of matter and force. Our association invited members of the science teaching profession and the Luxembourg Engineers’ Association. The speakers graphically described the puzzle of dark matter and dark energy, and the apparently accelerating expansion of the universe. They were reserved about string theory, since it was a theoretician’s paradise and so far incapable of providing falsifiable predictions.
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Saturday 18th March 2006 - OUSL visit to Arlon

OUSL members and friends enjoyed an extremely interesting visit to Arlon in Belgium on Saturday March 18th. With the leading Luxembourg historian and Society member Jean-Claude Muller as their guide, they visited two of the town's museums and walked round the historic centre of what was an important settlement in Roman times and had previously been a Celtic township.

The morning was spent at the Gaspar Museum, a former private dwelling housing exhibits illustrating the ecclesiastical and monastic history of the Belgian province of Luxembourg, including the Fisenne Reredos, an impressive triptych from the early 16 th century with wood carvings in the Antwerp style showing scenes from the life of Christ. Of greatest interest here was the exhibition devoted to the life of the Jewish community in Arlon, one of the oldest established and most important in Belgium.

This visit was followed by a walk up to the Knipchen, the hilltop citadel from which a superb view can be had of the surrounding countryside, and the 17 th century church of St Donat with its frescoes, discovered in 1986.

After lunch in the Place Léopold the group went to the Musée Luxembourgeois, which contains an extensive collection of sculptures and artefacts dating from the first three centuries AD. A notable feature of this collection is the vivid impression it gives of daily life, for example in a stone carving showing a reluctant Celtic farmer paying his taxes to a Roman official, the pained expression of the former contrasting with the indifference of the latter, some would say a characteristic of officialdom that still prevails today ! The carvings illustrating scenes from Greek mythology bore witness to the sophisticated cultural level of the community at that time.

This event, greatly enjoyed by all who took part, reflected one of the OUSL's key aims, which is to enable its members to gain a deeper and richer understanding of the history and culture of Luxembourg and its surrounding region. Further events of this kind will be organised in future.
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