Yesterday morning I woke up moderately early to hie myself down to the NPR West studio in Culver City, where the magic of electromagnetism enabled me to participate in a BBC Radio 4 program, The Material World. Also appearing as a guest was Peter Woit, as we talked about — wait for it — string theory. It was fun, but to be honest, it wasn’t the most enlightening fifteen minutes I’ve ever spent, as too much time was spent talking about whether this ambitious scientific idea was overhyped or not, rather than making the effort to elucidate the idea’s successes and shortcomings in any substantive way. But perhaps I am just spoiled by blogs, where the constraints of time and space are felt much less keenly.
More interestingly, Peter in his post points to a blog I hadn’t heard of, The Atom Smashers. It’s by Clayton Brown, a filmmaker who is presently working on a documentary about particle physics. I won’t give too much away, except to encourage you to read it, and note that one of our bloggers plays a crucial role!
Then, a couple of hours after the BBC interview, I had a really interesting and fun meeting in Beverly Hills, which I’m not going to tell you about, or at least not now. Ha!
Tomorrow morning I will wake up truly early, in order to hop on a plane to scenic Billings, Montana, from which I’ll join an intrepid crew of bone hunters on a trip to the Kedesh Ranch in beautiful Shell, Wyoming. This is one of my occasional chances to join up with Project Exploration, as Paul Sereno and the gang lead some enthusiastic amateur paleontologists to dig up honest-to-goodness Jurrasic dinosaur fossils. I’ve done this a couple of times before, as recounted (naturally) in blog posts about the 2004 trip:
Here’s a picture of Paul and me, laughing in the face of danger as we stand astride an interesting geological formation:
Paul is the one who looks like a paleontologist in the field; I’m the one who looks like a theoretical physicist who someone dragged into the sunlight. He was also voted one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in 1997. But I am better at calculus!
Sadly, the seeming ubiquity of the internet has not managed to extend its way to the Kedesh Ranch. So no blogging. Cell phones don’t work there, either. In fact I’m pretty sure that this particular part of Wyoming is absolutely free of electromagnetic radiation of any sort. That’s the only explanation I can think of.