Thursday, May 25, 2006

Return to the Fold

I'm back in a newly cleansed Beijing after a colossal storm that most appeared to miss as it went on to the early hours of the morning. Thunder and lightning clanged and clashed for a good four hours purging the air of the clammy pressure which had been building up for days. Prior to this the train back to Beijing had been a relatively uneventful 13 hours punctuated frequently by a kid playing on her phone in our shoebox-sized cabin without noticing that perhaps it might have made the other passengers a wee bit tense. Had it not been for her grandmother playing on the phone when her granddaughter had been taking respite, said phone may have accidentally been dismantled by the two temporarily short-fused physicists.

Lightning over Beijing, unfortunately not my picture:


I've got a few things I really want to talk about:

This paper, by my former PhD supervisor amongst others, came out today and I want to talk about the results which are interesting, surprising and could, I hope, be extended in interesting directions.

I want to talk about the semantic web which has been in the news on and off recently and I'd like to explore some of the possible interesting avenues that this could take the web in. I may discuss generative grammar if time permits and see where that takes us too.

I want to talk about the agreement to build ITER in the South of France and some of the really long terms goals of the fusion project.

Having finished the book I mentioned before on gauge theory, gravity and knot theory I'd like to discuss a few interesting subjects I've just become aware of which had passed me by before.

Ermm, and probably some other stuff as well. However, having not practiced my hanzi (Chinese writing) for about three weeks and with a lesson tonight (which has just finished) I've done a total of almost 8 hours Chinese scribbling today and my brain has turned to mush. Lesson went well in the end but I'm looking to step up the number of lessons I have per week when time permits.

Lots to do at the moment with a few project ideas to test out and a proposal to write before a string summer school which begins at the institute in a couple of weeks, continuing nicely into Strings 2006 which itself looks like being a superb event. At some point I may write a Beijing Strings 2006 survival guide for foreign visitors who I can see having a few hurdles to get over. There will be a lot of help on hand I've no doubt but with almost 600 people attending this event the likelihood of a few theorists going AWOL on the Beijing streets is pretty high. On top of all this is a busy weekend and another two hour English Corner to prepare for Monday. Anyway, before I do all that I figure an uninterrupted night's sleep would give me a decent head-start so everything else can wait till tomorrow.

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P.S Some good news today with my latest paper being accepted to our first journal of choice with only some minor alterations to be made.

3 comments:

Shelley said...

Congrats on the paper!!

Justin Tact said...

Can I come out for string summer school? It sounds top dollar.

Jonathan Shock said...

Cheers Shelley, I'm still waiting on my previous paper but yes, this is good news.

JT, anyone who knows the dance and the secret handshake is more than welcome.

Saying that, having witnessed some extremely famous physicists dancing in the wee small hours I may petition to rely on the handshake this year.

In fact all lines are now closed for the summer school. The conference is still inviting all who want to attend. It should be a lot of fun.