Well, I’ve spent quite a bit of time away from the blog recently, feeling rather overwhelmed as a number of responsibilities accumulated over the last hectic year finally caught up with me. But, for now at least, things seem to be in check and I’m hoping to get a little more writing done.
The last few months of the year were quite a ride. For example,
- I started teaching again (after a sabbatical at Cornell, and then a one semester leave to help me settle in at Penn), and very much enjoyed introducing the complexities (no pun intended) of contour integration, asymptotic methods, Sturm-Liouville theory, etc. to a whole new batch of beginning graduate students at a whole new institution.
- The first (albeit limited) renovations were completed as part of the Center for Particle Cosmology, and helping oversee these, as well as planning for much larger future renovations took up a huge part of the Fall semester. In the end though, this should be well worth it, with a new and highly-functional space for us to work and collaborate in.
- I started doing significant service again; organizing departmental colloquia and sitting on our graduate admissions committee. Plus some new editorial work
- I went to Australia, to speak at the COSPA-09 meeting in Melbourne (if you look carefully you’ll see both Sean and me in the group picture on the main page.) This was my third visit to Melbourne, and once again I was struck by what a liveable and lovely city it is. The conference was great fun, and I saw a number of talks that gave me something to think about back in Philly.
- I finished some papers.
- We ran an intense and, I thought, successful workshop – New Horizons in Particle Cosmology – to inaugurate the Center for Particle Cosmology. This involved some of the biggest names in our field, and included a very well-attended public lecture by Paul Steinhardt. My colleague Justin Khoury deserves considerable praise for taking on most of the organizational work of the conference and lecture.
Right now I’m gearing up for next week’s beginning of my graduate General Relativity class, which is my absolute favorite subject to teach. I’m also preparing for quite a bit more travel this year, although not for a few weeks at least. But most importantly, of course, I’m hard at work on a number of projects that I hope will come to fruition in the pretty near future.
So this post is just intended to get back into the swing of things. I’ll leave you with an interesting new link. NPR is entering the science blogging field with a good-looking new blog featuring, among others, science writer and friend-of-the-blog, K.C. Cole, and former guest contributor, physicist Marcelo Gleiser. Their blog is called 13.7 (for reasons you might try guessing before checking on) and I hope you’ll check them out – we wish them all the best.