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23 Jun 2006

Strings 2006

Filed under: Personal, Physics — paulcook @ 7:06 am

One more day of the Strings 2006 conference to go! It’s been a very intense conference, with many ideas and talks. I’ve gained some ideas which are at least somewhat related to things I’ve been thinking about, but I’m not sure how they’ll turn out.

I have been a little disappointed that there have been no “big picture” talks — string theory has had a slow year, and I would have been interested to hear what some of the big names were thinking about for the coming year. Though I suppose if anyone did have a big idea, they would have already published.

I’ve been contributing a little to Jonathan Shock’s very ambitious efforts to summarise proceedings at the conference, over at his blog. It’s turning into a useful reference (judging by his page hits, if nothing else), and it’s certainly be useful for me to review the talks. Though it is hard trying to write down succinct summaries of talks in other areas of string theory, especially when there are 5.5 hours of talks a day!

8 Jun 2006

China: Impromptu teaching

Filed under: Personal — paulcook @ 3:22 am

I’m in China! Beijing, specifically! I’ve been here nearly two days now, teaching scientific English to 28 graduate students at the National Institute of Biological Sciences. It’s a 10 day course I’m co-teaching with Valerie (whom some of you have met) who is currently working here. Thereafter, I’m attending the Strings 2006 string theory conference, and then doing some touring.

The course is going well so far, and the students are getting involved nicely. They been given the afternoon to read and prepare 15min journal club talks on Nature papers, in groups, so no doubt they’re working hard now! It certainly is a disadvantage not have English as a first language — they’re clever people, but miss a lot of what I say first time round.