Memories, Physics, and Celebration

It’s a pleasantly foggy morning here on the USC campus. It is 7:00am now (at least at start of writing), and it will all burn off in a few hours, I imagine, to reveal the sunny sky waiting for us. But right now it reminds me of the Cambridge morning of a couple of weeks ago. A foggy Saturday morning in fact. I took that photo of the spider web I used on Halloween with that mist in the background.

That Saturday of celebration of Andrew’s work (The Andrew Chamblin Memorial Conference) at Cambridge was a remarkable experience. I was exhausted through a good deal of it, since I had eight hour jetlag, but I’m so glad I went, and that I could contribute a talk. I met many old friends and colleagues, drawn mostly from the UK and European side of Andrew’s collection of friends, collaborators, and admirers in the field.

andrew chamblin memorial conferenceThere were talks by former collaborators of Andrew’s: Gary Gibbons, myself, Roberto Emparan, Robert Caldwell, Raphael Bousso, and Stephen Hawking (who also guided some of Andrew’s thesis work). Gary, in “Discrete Symmetries and Gravity”, talked about Andrew’s early Oxford and Cambridge work on various discrete symmetries in physics, particularly those of a geometrical origin. He’d played with various ideas in this context, including some applications to problems in […] Click to continue reading this post

A Positive Sign

I’m always pleased to see this sign. It is at Heathrow, on the walk down the perpetually dingily lit underground corridors connecting the terminals, the tube, the extortion Heathrow express, and the parking lots.

For a start, I generally like the idea that the ground floor of a building (the one you walk onto off the street) is the “zeroth” floor. (I mean no disrespect to this splendid country I live in, that has largely chosen otherwise, although every now and again in older buildings you see it.) So it is just great to see […] Click to continue reading this post

Pause for a Pint of Guinness

Well, it was only yesterday that I was telling the physics 100 class all about Special Relativity (lots of incredulous looks…. lots of reassurances, including: “You’re confused? That’s ok! It is one of the greatest pieces of science of the 20th Century… It’s not supposed to be trivial….”), but it seems like an age ago, and very distant. That’s because I’m in Dublin today. (Pesky wormholes.)

Just for a few days.

Guinness will be involved, I imagine (yeah!), although it will not be the primary focus. (The pint in the photo to the right is from a previous trip.) [ … ] Click to continue reading this post

Saturday Morning Fun

During the course of a coffee break during Saturday’s all day conference in Cambridge, I looked out of the window to an intriguing sight:

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(Click for larger.) They were doing needlework of some sort, and it looked like a lot of fun. They were happy to let the strange man (uh… me) take the photograph he asked for. Little did I know that one of them -Richard- actually reads blogs about science including this very blog and wrote in and asked if I was that particular photographer! Small world! […] Click to continue reading this post