APS April Meeting June 7, 2007Posted by gordonwatts in physics life, travel.
This is an old one. I just haven’t had time to post anything. I’ve been to a series of conferences over the last several months. One of them — the APS April meeting — I was mostly a spouse. Our students went as well to give 10 minutes talks and all did a great job.
The most surreal part of the conference was walking down the main hallway pushing Julia in a stroller. The organizers had famous people sanding in the hallway catching people walking buy and urging them to sign a joint letter to congress urging an increase in funding for basic science (all types of science). One fellow, about my age, walking towards me was asked and said no. As he walked by I heard him mutter under his breath “This is a meeting about science, politics doesn’t belong here!” I really wanted to ask him: what world is he living in!?
Another very cool thing happened — we ran into Dave Jackson. He is not a member of the Jackson 5. Though, among physicists he is probably more famous. He is author of the Electrodynamics text book for graduate students. It is famous for lines like “working out the derivation is left as an exercise for the student.” Some of those exercises were 12 pages long. The homework problems are hard. Really hard. Most of us learned to live in fear of that book. It definitely taught you — but you had to work for it.I would guess that more than half the physics professor offices in the US have some edition of his book on their shelf (he is the older guy in the picture; the others our our students who have all suffered at the hands of his book).
We went out to dinner with him. Very entertaining. Did you know that he and someone else (Peter Limon??) started the Fermilab Wine&Cheese?