LIGHT FROM BLACK HOLES

Yak & Yeti ***** Kathmandu, Nepal 
September 30 - October 4, 2002


Final Scientific Program


Content
The meeting will consider accreting black holes in two major contexts: I) stellar mass black holes, II) supermassive black holes in the centers of active galaxies. Particularly, the following topics with be considered on the workshop: observations and analysis of X/gamma-ray spectra of accreting black holes; observations and analysis of temporal variability of accreting black holes; radiative processes; physical processes in the vicinity of black holes; accretion disk theory.



Presentations
There will be a standard overhead projector and a projector for computer presentations available for your presentations.

Weather
Temperature in Kathmandu is about 25-30 C during the day time and 15-20 C during the night. It should be quite
sunny but occasional rains are possible. If you are going into the mountains after the conference, the temperature
their can easily drop below 0 C  if you are above 4 500 m above the sea level, snow is probable.
Do not forget your sunscreen anyway.

Water
Tap water in Kathmandu contains a high level of minerals and it is recommended not to drink it. Both hotels provide free filtered water, which is completely safe and up to WHO standards. Bottled water is available in local shops for 12 rupee/liter and in the hotels for 50 rupee/liter.

Etiquette, greetings, dress code
See here for the info regarding dress code and etiquette.


Scientific Organizing Committee:
Omer Blaes (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)
Chris Done (University of Durham, UK)
Andrew Fabian (University of Cambridge, UK)
Marat Gilfanov (MPA, Garching, Germany)
Devi Dutta Paudyal (Tribhuvan University, Nepal)
Juri Poutanen (Co-Chairman, University of Oulu, Finland)
Roland Svensson (Stockholm Observatory, Sweden)
Andrzej Zdziarski (Co-Chairman, N. Copernicus Astronomical Center, Poland) 

Local Organizing Committee:
Andrzej Zdziarski, Juri Poutanen 
Participant List

Registration fee :

The registration fee for the conference will be $250 which include all lunches and coffee breaks during the conference, the conference dinner and a conference T-shirt. The fee is to be paid in cash ONLY in US dollars or EURO in Kathmandu.

There will be $50 registration fee for accompanying persons which includes the conference dinner and a T-shirt. Conference lunches can be added ($11 per lunch) if one wishes so.



Hotel accomodation

The conference venue is a five star hotel Yak & Yeti
Address: Hotel Yak & Yeti, PO Box 1016, Durbar Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel.: 977-1-248999, 240520; Fax: 977-1-227781/82

It is one of the best hotels in Kathmandu and probably the most spectacular one. Famous people like Jimmy Carter, Helmut Kohl, Jiang Zemin, Richard Gere, Steven Segal, and Martina Hingis stayed there. The hotel buildings include the royal palace of Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana built in 1855. Our conference hall is located in the palace. The hotel facilities include business center, health club with saunas and gym, two swimming pools, tennis courts, 400m jogging track. Rooms are equiped with centralized airconditioning, shower and bath, TV with 20 international channels, direct international phone, laptop data ports, minibar.

The conference rates including all taxes, breakfast, international airport transportations and the sightseeing tours are:
Single room: $70
Double/twin room: $75
(reduced from the standard rates of $208 and $230, respectively).
All the payments can be made by major credit cards (VISA, MC, AMEX, DINERS) in USD. This rate applies to your stay during the conference and any stay (continuous or not) before and after it. We recommend that participants stay at the conference hotel (but see below for a less expensive alternative). We provide above a list of participants (with their e-mail addresses) so that you could find a roommate among other participants if one wants to reduce the price (please state a name of that person in your reservation form). It is important that the hotel people have accurate information about your arrival time in order to organize transportation for you. The reservation form for the hotel is appended below and should be send DIRECTLY TO THE HOTEL before August 1, 2002.

A less expensive, and quite nice, alternative is a 3-star Hotel Mountain , which is situated about 10 min walking distance from Yak & Yeti.
Address: Hotel Mountain, P.O. Box 300, Kantipath, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Tel.: 977-1-246744; Fax: 977-1-249736.
The reduced conference prices including all taxes and breakfast are as follows:
Single room: $28
Double/twin room: $34.
This rate requires payment in USD in cash. No credit card guarantee is required. In case of paying by a credit card a 4% surcharge will apply. This rate applies to your stay during the conference and any stay (continuous or not) before and after it. The airport transport is $4 each way. The reservation form for the hotel is appended below and should be send DIRECTLY TO THE HOTEL before August 1, 2002.



Visas

Citizens of all countries (except India) NEED a visa to Nepal. A tourist visa can be easily obtained at the Kathmandu airport (except for Chinese citizens, who need obtain the visa in advance). The price is 30 USD payable in cash for a 60-day single-entry visa. You need one recent passport-type photo for the visa application. Your passport should be valid at least 3 month after the entry date (not confirmed information). To speed up the process at the airport you can fill in the visa application in advance. You can download it e.g. from http://treks.com.np/visa.



Currency

The currency is Nepali rupee. The current average exchange rate is about 78 NPR per USD (see http://www.nepalnews.com). There are numerous exchange counters in town (mostly in Thamel, the tourist area, 10 min. walking from the hotel), where you get a 1-2 rupee less, and which also exchange other major currencies. Be careful with the rate offered by your hotel, it may be much worse. You can also change money at the airport. Indian rupees are accepted in most places (except high mountains) at the fixed rate of 1.6 NPR per INR, but 500 INR bills are not accepted. In many places you can pay in USD. There are several ATMs connected to international networks in Thamel, where you can use, e.g., your bank card.



Arrival

There is an information desk at the airport. You can get a free map of Kathmandu and some other materials there. Both hotels have free Kathmandu maps as well. Upon the arrival, look for a representative of the hotel. If this has not been arranged or a representative is not there, take a prepaid taxi (look for a booth, the price is 250 NPR) to your hotel.



E-mail

You can connect your laptop to internet in your room in Yak & Yeti for free. The connection is via a modem, i.e., you need a standard phone cable. In addition, there are plenty of places in Thamel, where you can use Microsoft Explorer (for which you need to set up your mail to be accessible via web) or Telnet (from the MS DOS prompt), at rates of 1 rupee per min. or 20--30 rupee per hour. The Yak & Yeti hotel has a business center with terminals with the above + Netscape and ssh, but they charge 12 rupee per min + tax.



Sightseeing tours

There will be two sightseeing tours in the afternoons during the conference week. The first tour takes us to the town of Patan and Swayambhunath Stupa. The second tour goes to the town of Bhaktapur and Pashupatinath Temple. These tours (except entrance fees) are complimentary for those staying at Yak & Yeti. For other participants, the price is $10 for both tours together.

We are planning to organize a trip to the Royal Chitwan National Park on the Saturday-Monday (October 5-7) after the conference. For that, we need to know how many people are interested. The Royal Chitwan National Park is a jungle full of rhinoceros, elephants, tigers, deers, wild dogs, cats, crocodiles, different birds and snakes. You can ride an elephant, go for a canoe trip to watch crocodiles, or walk in the jungle with a guide. The round-trip airfare to Bharatpur is $130. We have arranged a stay in the Machan Widlife Resort for the inclusive cost of $125 per person on twin sharing basis, and $185 for a single accommodation. This includes two night stay, all meals, the park entrance fee, and all activities.



Trekking

Nepal is a very unique country, with the greatest altitude range on Earth, between Terai (including, e.g., the Royal Chitwan National Park) around 100m above sea level, and Mt. Everest, about 8850m. One of great attractions of Nepal is trekking. From Kathmandu, one can take a flight to Lukla (2800m above see level), and about 10 days of relaxed walking gets you to Kala Pattar at 5545m, just next to Mt Everest (shorter treks are possible, and very nice as well). On the way, there are lodges with quite reasonable food, so you need take along only clothes and a sleeping bag (no need for a tent or a sleeping mat). You can find a lot of useful information and possible trekking routes in the guide books such as the Lonely Planet "Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya" and web site http://www.nepalmountain.com. For a number of easily accessible places, you do not need a trekking permit. However, entry fees are required to national parks, e.g., Sagarmatha (Everest) or conservation areas, e.g. Annapurna. This is easily can be done in Kathmandu. In some places (such as Annapurna Conservation Area) the fees are twice as expensive at the entrance to the park than in Kathmandu. You may also need a photo to get a permission. The organizers can provide some detailed information for those who request that. In general, our *private* recommendation would be to go in a group of 2 or 3, use no trekking agency, and, if needed, hire a porter locally (which inclusive cost should be around $7 per day for a load up to about 25 kg). In our private opinion, no guide is needed in popular areas like those around Everest or Annapurna. You certainly need a guidebook and a map (which both you can get in Kathmandu). For a typical trek, you need 2 weeks or more. Two most popular areas are those around Everest and Annapurna. You can get there by taking flights to Lukla and Pokhara for around $93, $70, respectively, each way. Those tickets can be reserved via the Nebuti Travels agency.