Sunday, April 13, 2008

Meet Me in St. Louis


St. Louis, Missouri seen from atop the famous Gateway Arch. To the right of the courthouse is the Hyatt (formerly Adams Mark) hotel, site of the American Physical Society (APS) April meeting. The weather is literally freezing, 0 degrees Celsius at night with highs around 10 degrees. Best to stay in the hotel, see the view of the Arch and the many talks.

The arch was conceived by Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen, who also gave us the old TWA terminal at JFK. It is a 630 feet high inverted catenary, like we studied in Mechanics class. To reach the top you must wait in line and take off your jacket for a metal detector, like at the airport. (The government is afraid of arch villains and anarchists.) You then board these tiny capsules barely big enough for five, which ascend in two trains up the curve. The apex has a narrow observation deck with lovely views from the angled windows.

Speaking of reaching the top, the talk on "Hot Young Solution to Faint Sun and Supernova Problems" is in the session for Cosmology/Early Universe. At one time it might have been banished to "New Ideas in Cosmology" with ideas considered cracked. Last night at a reception Roger Blandford of KIPAC said hi; I thanked him for mentioning Violations of Lorentz Invariance in his GLAST talk. Violating Lorentz is physicist talk for changing the speed of light.

Dr. Blandford mentioned that some of his best colleagues are now working on Lorentz Violations, which could be a compliment. He introduced me briefly to Pierre Oddone of Fermilab, who has some big budget problems. Socialising is very relaxed when one is not looking for a job and Fermilab has no jobs to offer. In his later years Einstein said that his happiest time was when he was unknown, studying whatever he pleased. Meet me in St. Louis at 12:20 PM Monday!

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25 Comments:

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Heh, nice outfit. I wish I was there to see you talk.

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