This is my third time in Newcastle, and if I wasn’t cutting down on my travel, I’d be back there again in a month for another meeting on synthetic biology standards (I’ll be dialing in instead). There’s an excellent group of synthetic biologists there, a big node in the larger UK network, and I work frequently with Anil Wipat on SBOL, he being both a long-time contributor and the current chair of that standards effort. I always enjoy spending time with him and the rest of the Newcastle crew, who, like me, are true believers in the power of characterization and design tools in wrestling with biology.
As a city, I find Newcastle upon Tyne to be a delightful hodge-podge of the old and new. From its ancient military history, it eventually became a tough old industrial town and port city, one of the anchors of the English North. Rail lines tangle together at its center, at the top of a steep embankment beside the river, and spider out across bridges in all directions. One route goes over a remarkably high rail bridge, standing far above more modern road bridges and a beautiful walking swing bridge just a bit further downstream. An tall old mill has been repurposed into a modern art museum, and on the high side of town the university stretches between two broad lanes of park.
|High Level Bridge|
|Gateshead Millenium Bridge|
|The Long Stairs|
All in all, a good place to wander through with one’s head drifting around and processing all the science of the day.