Go out, look up, see the Geminids

The other night, while driving home, I saw the constellation Orion looming large over the horizon. This leaning ancient warrior was fighting off Taurus the Bull as he does every winter from here in the Northern Hemisphere. The return of this particular set of stars to my home commute can only mean 2 things, 1) I stayed on campus far too late (which wasn’t the case) or 2) it’s almost the end of the semester (which was the case). For me, the end of the semester marks several coincident things that I need to pay attention to. The first is final’s week (next Monday through Friday), the second is my Birthday (Wednesday) and the third is the Geminids meteor shower ( now through about December 17, peaking December 13-14. (see here for free chart...

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Making Math Model Nature: Soot, Scale, and Special Numbers

Making Math Model Nature: Soot, Scale, and Special Numbers

Tonight at my home university (SIUE) we have a special guest speaker, Dr. Christopher Sorensen of Kansas State University, giving a talk on his research (more on that below). I’m currently sitting in the audience waiting through the 10 million distinguished introductions for the talk to begin. I had the opportunity to meet with Sorensen earlier today and was struck with what a cordial person he is. He was interested in learning a little bit about everyone around him and honestly was interested in talking with students and the most junior of faculty. While there are many extremely nice people in science, I’m still always caught off guard when the most distinguished individuals come off as just the nice guy next door. Sorensen, in reality, isn’t...

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Go Faster to Go Slower

As the semester seems to rush to a close, everyone is raising around, desperately trying to get things down. There are papers to write, papers to grade, tests to write, tests to grade, and a never ending parade of end of semester functions to enjoy and suffer through in turn. The faster we move, the faster time seems to go, which isn’t exactly how physics works. Many times I’ve been told, if you need something to get done, give it to a busy person. (This is often be said as something is handed to me, unfortunately, but I first heard it as someone volunteered the very capable Karen Meech to do some work.) The idea is, someone who is usy has to be able to better manage their time, and is able to work more efficiently and with more focus. Not sure if...

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Random

This is the last week of the semester, which means my students have sucked all the physical and emotional energy out of me (which is only fair – I’ll suck it back when I give them an exam later this week). I’m trying very hard not to get sick, and when I am done writing I’m going to seek the aid of Nitequil (the good stuff that you get behind the counter, not the silly new formulation). To keep you busy while I survive writing exams and dealing with panicky students, here are some links: An interview I did on Brains Matter is here [mp3]. There is a blog carnival like thing that includes some of my content and other stuff you may be interested in over at Sorting Out Science. Tomorrow I’m going to be writing about the perception of...

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