BA talk at Rensselaer Thursday

By Phil Plait | November 10, 2009 1:00 pm

rpi_talkFor those of you in the upstate New York area, I’ll be giving my Death from the Skies! talk at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI for those in the know) this Thursday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m. It’s free and open, which I guess means the public can come, but you might want to contact them about that.

I visited RPI many years ago (it was on my list of potential colleges when I was in high school, but that’s a long story), and it’s gorgeous. This time of year it’ll be spectacular, I bet, so I’m really looking forward to this!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, DeathfromtheSkies!
MORE ABOUT: lecture, RPI

Comments (39)


    Damn, now I’m jealoous! Actually, you missed peak foliage, but the campus is always beautiful. The new arts center is just stunning from what I hear.

    And I am interested in your long story!

  2. FYI, I just called them and they said anyone can go (not just students). I wish I could go (it’s right near where I work), but I probably can’t make it on such short notice. (Two small kids and all.)

    And, just after I typed that, I remembered that Thursday is likely when PTA for my son’s school is. As much as I enjoy being involved in my son’s school, I’d prefer to skip out this one week and see Phil speak.

  3. Holy crap, thats where I went for undergrad until I finished my PhD (approximately 500 years). You are right, its a great campus, and larian is right, its truly too bad you missed the peak leaves.

    I’m still here, I live in Troy. Where are they putting you up? Interested in a yummy microbrew?

  4. Jim

    RPI mostly looks good in comparison to the rest of Troy. It’s a very effective use of contrast. 😉

  5. it was on my list of potential colleges when I was in high school

    You mean you almost chose to live forever? (obscure joke related to me by a friend that went to RPI)

    Oh, and, you wrote a book?

  6. “You mean you almost chose to live forever? ”

    OI! Todd, you mean me?

  7. “RPI mostly looks good in comparison to the rest of Troy.”

    hmm, someone has not been to troy recently.

  8. @techskeptic

    I was referencing Phil’s post, but apparently you did choose to live forever, along with Larian. :)

  9. LOL, I thought you meant forever in troy, which as it currently stands, seems to be the case.

  10. @techskeptic

    Well, to partially clarify the joke, there was a certain slogan for RPI that ended “come to RPI and live forever”, if memory serves me correctly.

  11. LOL, yeah I remember that one sorta. The first part of it had to do with the relative scarcity of girls didnt it?

  12. Jim

    @techskeptic – why, did it radically change in the past four or so years? 😛

  13. For those that want in on the Live Forever joke:

    “Sex Kills — Come to RPI and Live Forever.”

    Although, as an extrovert, and with Russel Sage down the hill, I was fine (or dying quickly as the case may be). 😉 😛

    Techskeptic, is Holmes and Watson still a good place? I did manage to finish the tour there, but over the past 20+ years and numerous moves, my glass broke, and I’ve lost the shirt and hat. I do need to make a trip out that way now that I am back in the Northeast! At least show my daughter where I went to school and all that.

    TOTALLY OFF TOPIC: Anyone going to see that Star Wars symphony thing? I am hitting the show in Boston this Saturday.

  14. @Larian

    Anyone going to see that Star Wars symphony thing? I am hitting the show in Boston this Saturday.

    Hopefully you have a seat close up. The venue is horribly echoey.

  15. On the main floor, I forget exactly the section number, but it’s darn close. The things I do to spoil my duaghter…

  16. RPI was on my list as well. I have had a couple of my students from my high school teaching days go there.

  17. larian,

    no. H&W has not “refreshed” since I have been in troy (since 1986). The good places now are Daisy Bakers, Browns Brewery, Baccus, jose malones, (we are getting a dinosaur BBQ soon).Too bad Tosca had to close (tax evasion), it was very good if pricey. although H&W still has lots and lots of beers, so much of it has been spilled on the floor that the gershtank is a little rough.

    Believe it or not, I think the ratio is now 3:1 men to women, i bleeive it was 5:1 when I was there.

    Well I’m not sure what radical change any city does, but yeah, in the last 5 years we have had new businesses move in who have been putting on events that were completely non-existent before. Every month, Troy night out, farmers market, every saturday (biggest and best in area), riverfest, chowderfest, pig out, lots of events that were not here 5 years ago (well the farmers market might have been there, but not as big as it is now). I really like it here. I hated troy when I went to RPI, but that was because, like most student compare it to the comfort of their own home. Mine was NYC.

    However, the streets are still pretty deserted after 6:00 pm, except near restaurants. but the old archetecture (I live in a 1880 warehouse that would cost millions in a normal city, with a river view), the parks, the events, the proximity to skiing and 5 major cities, just makes this place the place for me….until I can move to new zealand.

  18. Sean

    Dude you are killing me – can’t make it Thursday. Originally from Troy (live 20 min away now) and got my MBA at Lally – been following you for years and would love to see the talk …

  19. Brett G

    meh, I am going to Metallica in Albany on Thurdsay, Phil can you reschedule? :)

  20. DragonIV

    I am so skipping out on PTA to hit this talk.

  21. Michael

    As a current student I must say: this is really cool! I’ll be there :)

  22. @techskeptic
    “Believe it or not, I think the ratio is now 3:1 men to women, i bleeive it was 5:1 when I was there.”

    It was 9:1 when I was there. (Class of ’74)

  23. Chris R.

    I will be there! Thankfully I get out of work at 6:30pm so I can make sure I’ve got a seat. I was thinking of a “PHIL PLAIT WAS FILMED IN A SOUNDSTAGE ON MARS” sign…too much?

  24. Hamachisn't

    Yep, I remember the 9:1 days too (’82). I’m so glad this talk will be in CC308; that room holds so many pleasant memories for me :) Harry Meiners and the bowling ball hung from the ceiling. (Any other alums remember that story?)

  25. Bill LaLonde

    I’lll be there– I’ve been looking forward to it since the beginning of the semester (my first at RPI).

    And to clarify, it is indeed open to the public (and free), although if too many people show up for the venue priority will be given to students who have already picked up free tickets.

  26. Carl B.

    Sounds like @techskeptic and I are about the same age (Class of ’89 here). I, too, finished the H&W tour. Sad to hear it’s not what it once was.

    I haven’t visited campus in over a decade; sounds like I’ll need to make a trip sometime soon. Wish I could be there for the talk.

  27. @DragonIV,

    Hmmm…. We both have PTA meetings on that day? I wonder how likely it is that our kids go to the same school.

  28. DragonIV


    Quite possible. If the school mascot is a polar bear, then ours probably do!

  29. Vidar

    Someone youtube it, please. Not everyone can attend a lecture at the other side of the ocean.

  30. Dawn

    Darn. Too far for me to go on a night when I have to be at work the next day. And too short notice to get the next day off. It’s about 3 hours from me. Any chance of some weekend events in the New York area? Weeknights are just too tough for me, when I have to be at work at 6am.

  31. colin mitchell

    saw carl sagan speak in that very room while i was attending rpi, have fun!

  32. @DragonIV, Nope. Ours is an eagle.

    On the bright side, though, I’ve been given spousal approval to go to Phil’s talk. In return, I’m going to watch the boys while my wife goes out for dinner next week.


    Will copies of Death from the Skies be there for purchase? Will you be signing books? I’ve meant to buy a copy but never gotten around to it. I would buy a copy there if you were signing books.

  33. Dave


    The RPI site says they will be selling books and Phil will be signing afterwards.

  34. Looking forward to the talk tonight will the books be signed??

  35. DragonIV


    Oh well–second Thursday of the month might just be a common night for PTA meetings, what do I know? Great to see you can make it!

  36. EvilMerodach

    I remember one year at RPI it snowed every day for the entire month of November. That was hard on this poor southern boy. I hope the weather is better this year.

    Oh, and the ratio of boys to girls was said to be 17:1 for my class (1977). Naturally, the girls at Russell Sage wouldn’t give us the time of day, but I imagine that hasn’t changed much.

  37. Wait, I’m class of ’89 too!

    Didn’t make the reunion though, was too tied up with moving into a new place.

  38. DragonIV

    Great presentation, Phil–the wife and I enjoyed it very much. Come back in another year or two and we’ll bring the kids!

  39. I missed it *snif* servers me right for having hamthrax and being kind enof not to share , any I hope you got the chance to check out RPAC.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar