Happy New Year! So, it is the second of January. You’ve spent all of the day yesterday recovering from the euphoria (and perhaps revelry) of New Year’s Eve, and so today it is time for the traditional next thing on the new calendar: Planning what you’ll do next New Year’s Eve, of course!
Before doing that however, if you are a research physicist, I’d like to invite you to consider doing something else: Plan your Summer research travel. What I am really trying to do is to make you aware that the end of this month is the deadline for applying to attend the Aspen Center for Physics during some period inside the Summer operating dates Memorial Day (in May) to around Labor Day (September). Now, a lot of people (too many, in my and the opinion of others who care about the ACP) just assume that the place is not for them, for a number of reasons that are really not good ones. So let me address one or two quickly right now.
First, it is not an old boy’s country club. It is for everyone, working in all* fields of physics. Don’t apply and you have zero chance of getting in. Apply and there is a chance – Your case is carefully assessed on its merits. (*Yes, the majority of activity is in five or six broad areas, but people come and work on all sorts of things.)
Second, don’t assume (as many do) that there has to be a workshop you’re interested in going on in order for you to attend, or be considered. You can simply apply for some time to be there and be part of the physicist community that’s there getting work done. Attending a workshop, perhaps with some people you know from your field, is a bonus (or a drawback, depending upon you, those people, and the field! 🙂 ) of the place, not a necessary condition. In fact, you can even apply linked with others as a group of collaborators and try to get admitted as a “working group”. You’ve been meaning to get together with that collaborator from across the country and bang out that idea you had last year? Both apply and tag each other as making up your working group.
Third, the place (and the town) is very family friendly, so don’t assume that it is either a very young or very old person’s hang-out. There are so very many things to do in Aspen for you and the family beyond physics too, so build that into your plans.
Anyway, those are the main things I wanted to mention. Do visit the website and start thinking about it and perhaps talking to your colleagues about whether they are going, or have gone, and have some insights that they can pass on to you about what they thing about the centre.
If you know either a bit or nothing about the ACP at all, you might learn a lot more about it and whether it appeals to you by watching this short film I made (with Bob Melisso and Dave Gaw) about it in 2012. It was a pleasure for me to craft this piece in a way that captures on screen some of the simple, quiet tone of the place, showing physicists at work and play there.
Don’t leave it too late to apply!