Well, I’m simply exhausted. I gave my second two-hour lecture today and drained my energy resources quite a bit. This is after an early(ish) start to the morning (7:30am) and with going late to bed last night (1:30am). A good lunch afterward helped restore things to a balance a bit, but I need to rest some more.
I’ve been modifying my lectures during the process of giving them, making adjustments for time and the kind of questions I get. This means that I end up kicking some parts to later lectures, and then trying to spend some of the afternoon writing new material, as well as on the train back to my hotel, and in the evenings.
Well, briefly in the evenings so far. That is because last night was set aside for a tour of some of the tapas you can find in the old part of Madrid. I had the presence of mind to go back to my hotel and get a short nap first, and then met my gracious hosts (old friends from my postdoc days in the 90s, Jose Barbon, Esperanza Lopez, and Karl Landsteiner – all now faculty at the IFT and UAM, the place I’m giving the lectures) at 8:30pm at La Puerta del Sol (a main square in the city), and we wandered around until about midnight, stopping at several places to try a wide variety of foods, with some wines and beers.
It was simply wonderful to have some excellent relaxed conversation as well, ranging from physics to talking about the old days and old friends from the places we knew each other (Princeton and, especially, Santa Barbara), as well as discovering all sorts of things we did not know we had in common (three of us bonded over the tasty things you can make with pigs, for example… including the helping with collecting of the raw materials as children… probably best to stop there with the details!)
Anyway, it is almost 6:00pm, and I embarrassingly dosed through an excellent seminar – on physics I’m very interested in – by a visitor (who just came by my office to ask me what I thought of the work, and so I had to explain about my not-being-able-to stay-awake-during-a-seminar-immediately-after-lunch problem**, and then we had a good chat) so I’d better go back to my hotel and have a nap, before getting up again to write more of lecture three for tomorrow. Oh, and maybe eat some more tasty food somewhere in the city. Then sleep some more and give another long and hopefully exiting lecture tomorrow morning.
(Oh, you want to know what it will be on? Well, after developing the techniques and intuition needed over the last two lectures, finally I am in a position to start showing them how to study strongly coupled thermal systems, and I hope to holographically derive processes like the melting of mesons in the quark-gluon plasma, as well as superconductivity. Thanks for asking.)
(**What was for lunch? Lunch is quite a lot compared to what I normally eat at that time. My starter was based around oído del cerdo, and so you could say I made a pig’s ear of staying attentive during the seminar… )
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):