A Busy Couple of Weeks

By Mark Trodden | March 5, 2006 9:43 pm

Well, I’ve been an exceedingly bad blogger recently. I’ve been posting very infrequently, but hope to get back to regular posts very soon. Life has been ridiculously busy over the last few weeks. A combination of trying to keep up with a number of different projects that I’m involved with, the first exam in my class PHY312 – Relativity and Cosmology, interviewing faculty candidates for a search that I’m on the committee for, and travel, have made it very hard to get around to posting.

By way of completing my excuse, and easing myself back into posting, let me explain why his last week was a classic case in point. Over the weekend and last Monday, I wrote the exam for my class, edited the draft of a paper, did some editorial work for the New Journal of Physics and worked on preparing a new colloquium.

I’ve been giving what I think is a nice colloquium called Connecting Cosmology and Fundamental Physics, and sometimes (with a few tweaks) called Connecting Cosmology and Colliders, for the past year or so. However, as I’ll explain soon, I needed to write a new one. On Tuesday I worked on a couple of papers and spent some time with my graduate student going through a problem. I also taught a review session for my class and held office hours. Then, that evening, I flew to Chicago, picked up my rental car and drove out to my hotel near Fermilab.

This was to prepare for Wednesday, when I was giving the Fermilab Colloquium (the new one I’d been writing), called Is Cosmic Acceleration Telling Us Something About Gravity? The talk begins with a summary of the evidence for the accelerating universe, then surveys the popular approaches to the problem. The last 25 minutes or so are then an explanation of the various issues involved in thinking about modifications to General Relativity as possible origins for cosmic acceleration. I illustrate this by describing some of my own work (with Sean and other collaborators) on modified gravity, which has been discussed on this blog and others a number of times.

I had a tremendous time at Fermilab. Firstly, I know a lot of people there, both in particle theory and astrophysics, and it’s always great to see them and discuss physics with them. Secondly, my host – Scott Dodelson (if you’re in the field, read his cosmology textbook – it’s fantastic!) – arranged for me to have a tour of the Silicon Detector (SiDet) Center, where work for for the D0 and CDF experiments was done, where work for detectors at the upcoming Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is ongoing, and where R&D for the proposed Dark Energy Survey is being carried out. Not only does one learn a lot touring a place like this, but one (at least me) truly realizes how relatively ignorant one is of the details of the wonderful and highly technical work that goes into making modern physics experiments work.

After a lovely dinner with friends old and new from Fermilab (Scott, Rocky, Dan, Mark, …), I drove back to O’Hare and spent the night in a hotel there in order to take the first flight back to Syracuse on Thursday morning,

This was in order to get to the Department in time to interview a faculty candidate who was spending a couple of days visiting Syracuse. After a couple of hours, I then jumped back into my car, drove home, picked up Sara and headed back to the airport to fly to North Carolina for my Sister in Law’s wedding.

Except for a scary bag delay (dresses, suits, etc…) we had a wonderful time over the last three days, and finally returned to Syracuse a couple of hours ago. I’ll now be back in town for five days, before Sara and I head out to California over Spring Break, to enjoy LA and Santa Barbara and, much more importantly, to attend the wedding of our good friend Don Marolf. It’ll be great to take a bit of a vacation, tour some wineries, see friends and generally relax!

Before I get there though, I’ve got a busy week ahead, but hope to get back to regular blogging anyway.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Internet, Miscellany, Travel
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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.

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