[Typed in a cafe on Tuesday at about 3:45pm. It's just a rough collection of thoughts about various recent meetings and activities:]
Interesting day so far. One of those “my office is everywhere” days. I’m on the West side, in Santa Monica, where I’ve a number of errands to do. Also I get to work and have some meetings in between. I try very much to corral everything to one part of town so that I am not driving around too much, adding to the general junk that we all pour into the air without thinking. So I brought my bike with me to connect the dots that I intend to go between while in the area (a couple of cafes (coffee and work), the beach/boardwalk (lunch and work), a mechanic (they’re changing brakes on my car and diagnosing a Noise), one of the English shops (for tea supplies), an electronics store (to shop for memory), a grocery store, possibly a bookstore, possibly the public library (to work and ‘cos it’s just really nice)…).
While reading some notes by one of my students on a project we’re working on, and eating lunch down on the boardwalk/beach wall near the chess-players, I reached for my phone to send him a text with a question. As I did this I looked up at the passers-by and one of them was familiar! It was someone who used to be a postdoc in one of the other groups in the department, who used to share an office with the very student whose notes I was reading! Funny when that happens… We chatted for a while about things (such as career stuff concerning the interesting research life that can often found in various commercial settings), and he seemed interested in my whole portable office practice, and I explained a bit about how (in the right stage of certain projects) I actually have some of my most usefully creative thoughts when in one or other cafe in one or other neighbourhood around the city, or by the beach, or some other place. Something about the changes of scenery and people-watching while I think being stimulating, I surmised. I think he understood… or maybe like probably nearly everyone else he just thought I was goofing off by the beach. Oh well.
Half an hour later, after a pleasant walk pushing the bike along seeing what I can see while I mulled over some physics (and chatted briefly on the phone with one of my students), I had an interesting hour long meeting in a cafe back in town. It was with the president of a company that produces feature films. They’re working on a film that is going to feature the life of a scientist and their science in a big way, and so we were talking about the project. I’d already had meetings about this on two previous occasions, and with the (rather good) screenwriter that they’ve hired to work on the screenplay, tossing around lots of science ideas and trying to shape certain concepts together.
I came to the project rather late in the day, and so won’t be involved any more in the script development. My tiny role was fun though – From an earlier meeting, I came away rather impressed with the screenwriter’s grasp of the science he’d learned (all or in part from the other science advisor on the project who they’ve been working with for a while), and his ability to try to rapidly deploy his new knowledge in the task of developing story ideas and even dialogue right on the spot. He does seem very sharp and skilled in his craft. He won an Oscar (evidently for marshalling this sort of ability) some years back now, and you can see that it did not come out of nowhere – he’s good at what he does. (You’ll be glad to know that the golden statuette was not sitting in the middle of the table during the meeting, daring anyone to disagree with him! Quite the opposite…. He seemed to enjoy my being insistent here and there when it came to making sure that certain scientific concepts had a chance to see the light of day in the right way, etc…)
Anyway, today’s meeting was simple enough, in that it was for talking over where things were going with the project next and whether they may need my services at some later stage, such as during filming and so forth. We shall see.
Well, back to thinking about physics research projects for a bit…