Monday, June 18, 2007

Ups and downs

During the weekend my music in the flat was accompanied with the sounds of a pneumatic drill and a sledge hammer demolishing the chimney outside my window, from above. In fact given the confined space this is probably the best way of doing so, but it does look strange, especially when the workmen are standing precariously with no sign of safety gear.
Tower 3
(Safety gear in the above picture was quickly removed)

I managed to ignore this until the truck arrived at one in the morning in order to have bricks thrown into it and I became seriously unimpressed. I managed about 4 hours of disturbed sleep, which made the lecture this morning on experimental particle physics in China harder to sit through than it need otherwise have been. Talk of the future luminosity of BEPIII producing around 10^10 J/psi per year was extremely impressive. This was the first talk in a week long summer school on particle experiment and phenomenology, some of which I know already and some of which I've never studied in much detail (lectures on B-physics especially). So I'm sitting with my laptop, working and listening when they get onto topics I haven't covered.

The CAS campus is currently awash with conferences and schools on all manner of topics, from spectral analysis to logistics, and from quantum phases of matter to cosmology. I was astounded by the figure given to us today that the graduate school of the Chinese academy of sciences has 33000 graduate students! After 2 years in China I probably shouldn't be surprised by such figures any more, but it's still pretty mindblowing to me.


A quick weekend round-up, not including the usual cafe reading/work.

Saturday night was a rather spectacular one as I went with two friends, one of whom knows all the bar managers in Beijing, to the champagne party opening night of Haiku, set to become Beijing's most classy bar, taking over the top spot from Centro. The party was organised by Moet and Chandon and the contortionists contorting on the podiums and models slinking around with bottles of the finest made for a rather surreal evening. We managed an hour or so of people watching before our bottle was dry and we decided to make a move to rather more affordable destinations. Haiku has both a Japanese and Mediterraean restaurant attached and the Japanese restaurant, which has fish flown in freshly from Tokyo is supposed to be superb. Owned by the American born Chinese entrepreneur Alan Wong, famed in Beijing and Shanghai for his Hatsune restaurants (voted best Japanese restaurant in Beijing last year, Haiku looks to be another good bet for great food. At roughly 200 kuai per person (15 quid) it's very expensive by Beijing standards but I can't imagine getting anything decent in a Japanese restaurant in London for that price. If I get there for a meal I'll be sure to give a full review.

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