Confused at a higher level

The view from Carleton College's physics department

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Posted by Arjendu on February 27, 2010

It had been a hard week for all sorts of reasons.

To top it off, early on Thu morning I flew to Toronto, to give a seminar at the Center for Quantum Information and Quantum Control on “Non-monotonicity in the quantum-classical transition” and then turned around and flew back on Friday evening for a net of about 24 hours in the U of T neighborhood. It was my first time back on campus since I left for Rice University over a decade ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting my favorite city, seeing how spiffy the new digs are for the Chemical Physics Theory Group, catching up and talking physics with my old boss and friend Paul Brumer (and one of his postdocs), and some of the many others in the city I’ve known for varying degrees of time. This included my host Aephraim Steinberg (and his students), Shohini Ghose (at Wilfrid Laurier and the Perimeter Institute), my collaborator Arie Kapulkin, and Danny Gruner. I also got time to chat with Daniel James (and one of his students), Greg Scholes, and Lindsey LeBlanc.

This talk is one of my favorite ones ever. It is a substantially expanded version of stuff I’d been talking about for a couple of years. I made the commitment to telling this new story/presenting this new set of results knowing that I didn’t have everything wrapped up yet. My students (Andrew McClung, Qi Li, and Ryan Babbush did most/all of the work) and I raced to get results in presentable form. The experience of relevant results/figures rolling in the last couple of days before the talk again brought home the value of well-chosen deadline-driven commitments when it comes to research: I promised a good new story to people I admire, respect, and like, and my group did its best to get me what I thought I needed.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself both days, and learned a bit, just enough to make me wish I could spend more time there, about the remarkable work that’s going on there. My talk seemed to go over well, and I got good interested and interesting feedback overall, with some pointing at future directions or collaborations.

I’m glad I went, and glad to be back, with a couple more big on-campus commitments and projects to tackle before the end of the term. For now, getting caught up, taking a breath.


One Response to “Toronto”

  1. […] parental constraint et al, a visit was possible, and I’m off to speak there next week. The last time I visited was 2010; the research story has progressed just about enough since then for me to have something […]

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