Field Trip, I

As part of the Freshman Seminar I told you about earlier (e.g., here, here and here), we went on a field trip to MOCA in nearby downtown LA.

We went to see the exhibition of drawings by Eva Hesse. Hesse is very well known for her sculpture, and among the things she did, I think that a rather splendid one in this context is the one below. It is an example of those that resemble three dimensional renderings of her interesting use of line on the paper.

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This one (not in the exhibition) is called “Metronomic Irregularity” (I think it has a number as well… there are several pieces of this title done by her).

The group is standing in front of the sculpture I posted about earlier. There’s Ashley and Adam, left and middle. Jeff (on the right in the picture) -who is not a freshman, but a senior who does physics research projects with me- came along as well. We had a rather good time, taking […] Click to continue reading this post

New Colleagues

Ah! The joy of new colleagues! I have somehow forgotten to tell you one piece of the great news that we had here at USC Physics and Astronomy recently. We got three new faculty, and one of them is here in action (I’ll tell you about the others later), telling us about the physics behind the 2006 Physics Nobel Prize. This is Cosmologist/Astrophysicist Elena Pierpaoli:

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She’s one of those people who works closely on (among other things) the data from […] Click to continue reading this post

Lighting Up Your Quantum Class

I forgot to tell you about this last week, so here goes. The colloquium last week was given by John O’Brien. One of the perks of the job of having to organize the department’s colloquium series is that you can use it (on rare occassions) as a blunt tool to find things out. I’ve always been curious about connecting the name I saw on one of the labs downstairs to a face. John’s lab, primarily part of the Engineering department, uses a little of the space in our building, you see, but I’ve never really made the connection between the face and the name. It certainly seemed that the USC Center for Photonics, of which he is part, was certainly up to some interesting and fun stuff, and so, egged on by another curious colleague, I sent him an invitation to give us a colloquium. He generously accepted, and here he is:

The talk -see the abstract here- was excellent. As you can see from the website listing the faculty in the centre, they are concerned with all sorts of fun things to do with very small scale devices which do rather clever things with light, such as nanoscale semiconductor lasers. The reason that the talk was excellent, in my opinion, was because it was not a standard device+engineering talk that you can often get from very good engineers who nevertheless don’t neccessarily appreciate what aspects the physicists care about. Those talks can often be pretty pictures and […] Click to continue reading this post

Visions and Voices

This year, there’s going to be even more to do on the USC campus to broaden your mind, and several events which link USC with off campus venues such as theatres, museums, and performing arts centers. The (then) new Provost, Max Nikias, announced his “Arts and Humanities Initiative” in his … Click to continue reading this post