Blog » Connections

16 Jun 2005


Filed under: Personal, Studies — paulcook @ 11:20 pm

It’s now nearly two weeks into TASI 2005, and quite some weeks they’ve been!

For those that don’t know, TASI is a month-long program for graduate students, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It features four weeks of lectures by experts on various current issues of string theory. It’s an excellent chance to gain familiarity with aspects of string theory that one might not have come across yet as a grad student; but it’s also an excellent chance to get to meet and talk with leading current and future string theorists. Last, but not least, it’s really tiring — five hours of lectures plus an hour and a half of student seminars a day — and it’s all high-intensity stuff.

The networking opportunities are really fantastic. I’ve met a number of people who wrote papers I’ve used recently. For instance, a few months ago we looked for a while at applying some ideas of Samir Mathur on defining black holes in geometries which do not have an obvious simple horizon, to the formulism of Lin, Lunin and Maldacena for describing 1/2BPS (supersymmetric) 10-dimensional geometries with particular isometries (SO(4)xSO(4)). Today at lunch I was discussing some of our ideas with both Mathur and Lin. It’s also a very fun group of people, and we’ve hit the night-life of Boulder more than once.

But talking of connections, there have been some small-world experiences. Amongst the approximately 50 grad students, one is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, and grew up a few kilometres from me in Johannesburg. I’d never met her before — she, like most of the students here, is a few years older than me. But we know tons of people in common, and indeed her boyfriend (who arrived tonight for the weekend) and me are co-authors of a paper dating from a few years ago. I hadn’t seen him since.

The last type of connection, though, is really literal — yes, attaching oneself to rocks. There are about eight people here who are keen on rock climbing, and I’ve been going along. I bought a harness, and have been renting shoes. We went out last weekend, and should be heading out this Friday after lectures, and probably Saturday too. Boulder is excellent for climbing and similar outdoor activities — and judging by the cars parked all along the mountain access roads, that’s what everyone does come the weekend. So I’ll be looking for a climbing partner when I get back to Pasadena!

So yes, the TASI experience certainly keeps one busy — though it is getting a little hard to get out of bed each morning for another long day of lectures!

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1 Comment »

  1. Hey Paul,

    I finally found your blog. Nice! Anyway, I thought I’d add to your PUNishment section:

    “A seal walks into a club…”

    Comment by Jeff — 30 Jun 2005 @ 7:16 pm

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