How crazy was this project to celebrate Frank’s 60th birthday with a 192 mile hike across England with our two daughters and one son-in-law?
And yet, here we are, near the end, two people who have just spent two weeks of nights in hotel rooms — one man with sore feet and one woman with a lot of experience driving on the left of narrow roads. And we are happy.
And how much less crazy was this crazy trip idea than the project we set out on back in our twenties to get together and start a family despite having little money and little experience and lots of fondness for having our own way? That crazy project back then worked out pretty well too.
Today is the day they walk from Reeth to Richmond. Since we slept in Richmond last night (many thanks to Frenchgate Hotel, which we are all enjoying), I drove them to Reeth this morning soon after breakfast.
It was sunny — it was raining — it was not raining but still cloudy — it was (in a word) England.
We barely got out of Richmond before roads shut down for a bank holiday parade. People were already lining up on sidewalks as we drove by. To avoid driving back into the huge parade-chaos, I walked with Team Wilczek a while, then happily dawdled in Reeth’s Swaledale Museum. More photos on my Flickr pages, of course.
Waiting for a morning flight to Heathrow. Frank and I will celebrate his birthday this year by doing the Wainwright coast to coast walk across England.
I just blogged a big chunk of Wordsworth’s 1810 thoughts about just how great this time of year is for the Lake District. So now, I photographed my computer, my blog, my coat, my scarf, my favorite pink hoodie, and all the other crazy people in range in this waiting area.
Adventures and more photos follow, but not for a while.
John Brockman and Katinka Matson were in Cambridge this weekend, throwing (as usual) an enjoyable party…
..at which none of my iPhone pictures came out, but I like this one of John, seen here with just a bit of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, the author of the (soon to be published) Bursts.
There was quite a bit of talk about the Edge question for 2010 (which remains secret until it gets published there January 1.) I was also very intrigued by the ongoing DNA mysteries that Ting Wu explores in her Harvard Med School lab — and by the diverse places that Katinka Matson finds the flowers for her humongous photographs. I also learned that Frank Wilczek considers evolution a very roundabout way to deliver paltry amounts of information. I am looking forward to reading Connected by Nicolas Christakis and James Fowler, especially the chapter that begins with epidemic laughter. And if I had been sitting closer to Marvin Minsky or Benoit Mandelbrot, I might have learned something novel from them as well.
And then there was the Harvest’s sticky toffee pudding! Thanks once again, John Brockman and Katinka Matson.
The ATLAS group at Bern University focuses on data-acquisition and data-analysis. One of the many amazing things they showed us today is their giant realtime display of LHC information.
The lefthand side of the monitor (most of it not visible in this photo) shows many aspects of the LHC beam status. One young experimenter is here pointing to information about the most recent “event” recorded by ATLAS, from three different viewpoints. This was a cosmic ray event, which was superceded by a second cosmic ray event during the few minutes we stood looking at the monitor. (The beam status was “off” so collision events were not on view.)
The black rectangle with many particle tracks is a lovely revolving three-dimensional image of very the first beam “event” recorded by ATLAS. Wow.
I am definitely going to follow CERN on Twitter for more.
Long ago, the legendary hero Krak killed a dragon here by feeding it animal skins he had stuffed with sulfur. He was just the first in a long line of clever people who have made Poland’s ancient capital one of our planet’s most interesting cities.
Last night was a prize dinner of unusual interest, honoring CERN’s Gargamelle collaboration for the first great discovery made at CERN. This was one of the first big discoveries in physics (said Frank, in his after-dinner speech) that he was around to watch happen in real time — a discovery that was strongly challenged by many, when it appeared.
So why is great work done back in 1973 getting its first international prize in 2009? Giving a prize to an experimental group (instead of to its top members) is unusual — and it’s a novelty long overdue. Experimental results have for decades been produced by teams that may often include several hundred people. The EPS had to change its bylaws to do this, and somebody should give them their own cleverness prize for having done so.
Dr. Wilczek, an M.I.T. physicist who grew up in Queens, sang a Gilbert and Sullivanish song, centered on the frustrations of an oxygen molecule in love with a human being.
The big revelation is that this physicist isn’t a bad a singer. He may have a bit of vibrato, but he’s also got a lot of bravado. And he definitely stayed on key for the entire performance.
After a while, he was so engrossed in what he was doing, that he began to move–though, I must report, he’s no James Brown. Nevertheless, the audience where I sat–heavy-duty academic types– had to repress their own desires to start dancing. Who says that scientists have to be solemn and boring?
June 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off on To duck or not to duck?
Those familiar with this blog may have noticed that ducks tend to float through its pages like a theme, perhaps, I hope, from a dreaming composer and not so much, I hope, like that annoying drum riff that the worst guy in the band loves to play.
Sinister ducks, rubber ducks, ducks in and out of water, even (way back in 2003) my first Flash animation Quack-Don’t-Quack.
So it is understandable that a clever person who knows me well, such as for instance a Nobel Laureate who is married to me, would think of me as somebody who would like this video making fun of Pat Robertson for comparing gay marriage to sex with ducks.
And I cannot resist in turn passing this on to you also, but let me just say that as much as I do like ducks, I do not like them THAT way.