Done with 3+5 hours of https://twitter.com/imperia...
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
Done with 3+5 hours of https://twitter.com/imperialphysics<@imperialphysics> tutorials in 1+1 days. (Fun, but exhausting ..read more
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Academic Blogging Still Dangerous?
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
Nearly a decade ago, blogging was young, and its place in the academic world wasn’t clear. Back in 2005, I wrote about an anonymous article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a so-called “advice” column admonishing academic job seekers to avoid blogging, mostly because it let the hiring committee find out things that had nothing whatever to do with their academic job, and reject them on those (inappropriate) grounds. I thought things had changed. Many academics have blogs, and indeed many institutions encourage it (here at Imperial, there’s a College-wide list of blogs written by people at ..read more
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Teaching mistakes
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
The academic year has begun, and I’m teaching our second-year Quantum Mechanics course again. I was pretty happy with last year’s version, and the students didn’t completely disagree. This year, there have been a few changes to the structure of the course — although not as much to the content as I might have liked (“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, although I’d still love to use more of the elegant Dirac notation and perhaps discuss quantum information a bit more). We’ve moved some of the material to the first year, so the students should already come into the course with at least some exposu ..read more
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Songs about f*&%ing
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
First, my apologies that I couldn’t resist the almost not-safe-for-work title, especially to those expecting posts about astrophysics and cosmology rather than a reference to a 1987 record by Big Black (which it’s worth pointing out can be found in its entirety on YouTube). But this is not a post about Big Black. Rather, it’s a brief reminiscence of another album with a similar subject matter and a very different style, Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, which I was shocked to discover is about to have its 20th anniversary, also commemorated with an article and interview in the Chicago Tribune. I ..read more
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The next generation of large satellites: PRISM and/or eLISA?
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
Today was the deadline for submitting so-called “White Papers” proposing the next generation of the European Space Agency satellite missions. Because of the long lead times for these sorts of complicated technical achievements, this call is for launches in the faraway years of 2028 or 2034. (These dates would be harder to wrap my head around if I weren’t writing this on the same weekend that I’m attending the 25th reunion of my university graduation, an event about which it’s difficult to avoid the clichéd thought that May, 1988 feels like the day before yesterday.) At least two of the ideas a ..read more
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Reformat
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
Another technical note: I’ve just reformatted the whole blog. Let me know if there are any problems (or if you just think it’s ugly ..read more
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Infrastructure problems
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
Just a quick note that the blog has been having some issues with its infrastructure: pointers to individual entries seem to be broken. I’m on the case — apologies if you can’t get to anything you’re looking for. Update: fixed, I think. Let me know if there are any further problems. (The blog should be a bit faster, too, as I’ve moved over to statically publishing all the pages. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means ..read more
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TimeWave — Quest for the Grail: An International Adventure Game
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
About a year ago, I wrote about TimeWave a festival of art, science and technology coming this May to London, with tendrils snaking out to New York and LA. As part of the festival, we’re organising Quest for the Grail: An International Adventure Game, later this month: from noon to 5pm in London and right afterwards, noon to 5pm in Manhattan, New York. The London teams will “hunt for objects in Clerkenwell hotspots…from the Order of St. John to Blackfriars Bridge to the International Magic Shop. You may be looking for a charm against the Plague, a tombstone or a silver goblet. Your team may be ..read more
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Planck 2013: the PR
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
Yesterday’s release of the Planck papers and data wasn’t just aimed at the scientific community, of course. We wanted to let the rest of the world know about our results. The main press conference was at ESA HQ in Paris, and there was a smaller event here in London run by the UKSA, which I participated in as part of a panel of eight Planck scientists. The reporters tried to keep us honest, asking us to keep simplifying our explanations so that they — and their readers — could understand them. We struggled with describing how our measurements of the typical size of spots in our map of the CMB e ..read more
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Planck 2013: the science
Andrew Jaffe: Leaves on the Line
by Andrew
2y ago
If you’re the kind of person who reads this blog, then you won’t have missed yesterday’s announcement of the first Planck cosmology results. The most important is our picture of the cosmic microwave background itself: But it takes a lot of work to go from the data coming off the Planck satellite to this picture. First, we have to make nine different maps, one at each of the frequencies in which Planck observes, from 30 GHz (with a wavelength of 1 cm) up to 850 GHz (0.350 mm) — note that the colour scales here are the same: At low and high frequencies, these are dominated by the emission of o ..read more
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