Of Telescopes and Microscopes

By Mark Trodden | February 23, 2009 7:55 pm

It’s been a bit of a hectic week. Last Monday I took the train (can’t tell you how happy I am whenever I avoid flying these days) to Washington DC, for a couple of days of government work, finishing up quite late on Wednesday. The next morning I flew from DC to Vancouver (you can’t always avoid it), where on Friday I delivered the departmental colloquium at Simon Fraser University. My friend, and former postdoc, Levon Pogosian is a Professor there, and I spent a very stimulating couple of days discussing physics with him and his colleague Andrei Frolov. Everyone is always telling me how beautiful Vancouver is, but on my previous visits there has been nothing but rain and cloud, and I haven’t seen anything of the area’s natural assets. This time however, it was fifty degrees and sunny, without a cloud in the sky for the entire visit, and I was just blown away by the breathtaking scenery entirely surrounding the city. Completely gorgeous! I also managed to squeeze in a wonderful dinner with friend, UBC Professor and blogger, Moshe Rozali.

On Saturday morning I was up bright and early to fly back to Philadelphia, arriving late on Saturday, in time for a quick dinner and sleep before the firefighter and I had to drive up to Syracuse for some personal business that was going to take 25 minutes, but needed us to be there in person. We completed that this morning, and then I rented a car and drove immediately back to Philadelphia.

After a week like that, I’d normally think about taking a day off before driving back, but in this case that wasn’t an option because tomorrow is a big day for us here at Penn. You may recall me mentioning that the university was setting up a new Center for Particle Cosmology. Well, tomorrow is our launch event! The first part is a panel discussion, with program

The Center for Particle Cosmology presents Of Telescopes and Microscopes
A Panel Discussion and Q&A

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall
3417 Spruce Street

The study of the microscopically small and the unimaginably large are no longer distinct realms of inquiry. In the first of a series of events hosted by the Center for Particle Cosmology, leading experts will consider what insights modern observations might provide into phenomena such as dark matter, dark energy and the physics of the early universe.

Panelists Include:
Vijay Balasubramanian, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Bhuvnesh Jain, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Janna Levin, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy (Barnard College of Columbia University) and author of A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, winner of the 2007 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers
Mark Trodden, Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Moderated By:
Gino Segre, Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy and author of Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics

Introduction By:
Tom Lubensky, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Sponsored by the Center for Particle Cosmology and the School of Arts and Sciences.

This is then followed by:

Guests are invited to mingle with Center faculty who will be happy to answer questions and talk about their research. As part of the reception, attendees will also enjoy multimedia presentations by:

Mark Devlin, Professor of Physics and Astronomy and a principal investigator of BLAST (the “Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope”)

Evelyn Thomson, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy and a member of the ATLAS collaboration, a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN

Refreshments will be served.

which we expect to go on until around 7pm. Well, we’ll see about that “leading experts” stuff, but I’m hoping it’ll be a lot of fun. And with Gino and Janna involved, how could it not be? After all, if Janna can handle Stephen Colbert, and Gino can hold his own in the New York Times, they should be OK with us.

If you’re in the Philadelphia area you’re welcome to attend – you just need to register. This has taken up quite some time over the last two weeks, and so on Wednesday it’s back to work finishing a couple of papers that are begging for final edits.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Academia, Science and Society, Travel

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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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