Nerds Having a Laugh

My quantum mechanics professor waltzed into class yesterday chuckling under his breath, and, before we’d scarcely taken our seats, asked (in his medium-strength Russian accent),

“Deed anyone go to zhe conference at Simons Center zees morning?”

As it happened, I had, along with a few others in the class. We raised our hands dutifully.

Dr. Abanov’s eyes flashed. He continued:

” And deed you all see zhe error zat Michael made in heez presentation?”

We timidly shook our heads no.

“Ach! What a shame. Eet was wery, wery amusing.”

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If I May Brag on Behalf of My School for a Moment

One of the tangentially fun things about being at Stony Brook is the sort of “David and Goliath” fun of knowing that, in spite of being a smaller, state-funded school, we sport an excellent physics department with enough clout to attract visitors and speakers from all of the “big name” universities around the world. That’s something most schools can’t do, even some of the other public universities that are known for their physics programs. Even Colorado, while home to a lot of excellent physicists, didn’t manage to attract the big-name guys elsewhere as speakers very often.

That’s why I’m excited about what’s happening tomorrow, as our (literally) shiny new building, the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, opens for the first time and holds its inaugural conference on mathematical physics. Read more of this post

More about walking to class in the morning

I had to vent about magnetic fields in the previous post, but talking about the walk to class did remind me that I took a couple more pictures the other day on my way to the physics building, and they help demonstrate how pretty Stony Brook can be when it’s not overcast. For example, here’s the physics building as I see it when going to class on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday:

Note in particular my use of a new artistic technique called “not checking to see whether your finger is partially in front of the lens before you snap the picture, and then not having time to take a second one because you don’t want to be late for class.”  I’m doing a whole series in this technique, which I’m hoping I can turn into a permanent display at the MOMA.

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