Confused at a higher level

The view from Carleton College's physics department

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Dislocations, a placeholder

Posted by Arjendu on February 3, 2008

Last weekend I went to the 4th HHMI symposium on Diversity in the Sciences, in Chevy Chase, MD. The meeting started with a Sunday evening reception, where I grabbed a beer, had a great conversation with a favorite alum’s dad (a Prof at Kalamazoo), attended the first plenary session, and then headed off to the hotel for a well-deserved rest.  I woke up at 3:30 AM with my right shoulder dislocated. This is the 6th time it has popped out, but in the past, I was at least doing something, even if something as minor as reaching below a hotel-room table to put in a cord for the high-speed connection or something. This time I was only sleeping. Aaargh. 6 excruciating hours of ER waiting later (shoulder dislocations, while painful, are naturally pushed aside by people having heart-attacks) I was somewhat functional and actually learned a fair bit from the conference, and made some new friends or at least acquaintances.

All this to note that I have had a slowed-down week: I can teach (scanned lecture notes, with my marginal scribblings to myself serving to edify my quantum students no end; the ‘Revolutions’ class laughing politely at my ‘at least I am not an economist, unable to say “on the one hand, on the other hand”‘ joke) and can get around, but grading is not moving very fast, nor is typing long blog posts.

This week also saw a visit to Carleton by the remarkable Freeman Hrabowski, president of UMBC. He is one of the most charismatic, focused, blunt, and intense people with whom I have had the privilege to spend time. And he has some very very impressive ideas and results on how to improve student performance in the sciences, particularly for under-represented minorities. My colleagues and I were very struck by him — the best way to summarize this is to note that at some point, one suggested that he’d be an amazing Education Secretary. Every other friend agreed when I told them about this idea. You heard it here first.

So this will have to serve mostly as a placeholder post to say that there’s plenty happening within me without me, but time, and a suitably mobile arm are at a premium.

Now playing: Radiohead – True Love Waits
via FoxyTunes


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