Yesterday in Physics 100 we started a discussion of the structure of matter. This inevitably brings up the early ideas from 400 BC about atoms, from Democritus (and others) at least in the Greek line of thought. These ideas were later brushed aside by Aristotle who declared that the elements from which everything can be constructed were Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
Of course, one is obliged to show a slide at this point. I could not resist this one: Continue reading ‘Elemental’
(Oh no! another post from cvj about buses and trains and the environment to make us all feel bad?! Scroll away, scroll away!)
Just a reminder about the transit of Mercury today!
The innermost planet passes across the face of the sun, from our point of view. At USC Continue reading ‘Mass Transit’
Two of our colloquia this semester were concerned with work very much in the public eye this year. The first was from Francis Bonahan of the Mathematics Department here at USC.
He talked about the work that won the Fields medal – the proof, by Grigori Perelman, of the PoincarÃ© conjecture. Or better, I should say the work toward the proof, since the citation does not explicitly mention the conjecture, but his larger body of work. (MathWorld link, Wikipedia link.) In fact, Francis spoke about a lot more than just the PoincarÃ© conjecture.
He talked about the larger setting in which that work fits, something mathematicians call the “geometrization conjecture”, which Mathematicians care a lot more about. Perelman’s work does more than just prove the PoincarÃ©, it addresses the whole (3-)ball of wax, so to speak. He told us quite a bit about that in the talk, spending most Continue reading ‘A Man Out Standing In His Field’
Well, do you know the show on Bravo, “Inside the Actors Studio”? The host interviews an actor of some sort -pick your favourite- and you get an in-depth conversation about their life, work, motivations, loves, hates, passions, etc. Not in the service of frivolity, but in pursuit of an understanding and further appreciation of the craft of acting itself. A lot of people like the show for those reasons.
Imagine the same thing, but with an academic in the hot seat. This is what happens tomorrow, hence the title of this post. I will be the interviewer, and my new colleague cosmologist/astrophysicist Elena Pierpaoli will be the interviewee. It will be in front of a live audience.
No, it won’t be on Bravo, or any other tv channel, as far as I know. It is a local USC event, part of a series, and a jolly good idea I must say. It got me thinking:- What academic in history would I like to have sit in my interview chair, and if I only had one question, what would it be? Off the top of my head (and stretching the definition of the word “academic” a bit, I’d like very much to have Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Beethoven, Dirac… oh and several more… But what would I ask them? Don’t know yet…. need to think about it.
Here is blurb about it. And yes, I’ve already been teased by my students and a colleague about being described as a “super string theorist” in the advertising.
I may well wear a cape to the event.