To finish his very enjoyable visit, van Haasteren (Leiden) gave the astro group meeting seminar in the morning, with lots of banter and feedback from the crowd. He focused on stochastic signals, but got the most crowd reaction about single-source signals. On the stochastic side, Dubovsky (NYU) pointed out that there are even models in which the stochastic background might have a characteristic frequency.
At lunch and afterwords, van Haasteren and I discussed possible projects. The one we liked most is to try to improve the timing itself by going hierarchical on the pulse shapes. Commenter Steve T on my post of a few days ago was pessimistic, but in fact even a bad model of the variability among pulse shapes and pulse-to-pulse correlations in shape could have a big impact on the precision of pulsar timing. Big theme of my research: You do much better if you model the noise, but then marginalize out those noise-related parameters.
Now off to a weekend of proposal re-writing.