Archive for August, 2007

Unlike my experimentalist friends, I don’t play with use multimillion dollar equipment in my research. Apart from a computer, I’m mostly a pen and paper jockey. However, I am rather fussy about that pen and paper. Psychologically I take my work more seriously when I’m using a high-quality pen and a nice notebook. This also […]


The reason why our professors are so accomplished is that they didn’t have the Internet distracting them when they were grad students. – [paraphrased] Navin Sivanandam, some years ago. (Nav has recently wrote a curiously relevant op-ed piece recently.) Professor Gordon Watts wasn’t the only one `roughing it‘ without an Internet connection at home this […]


Update: As I was completing this post, U.S. News & World Report, released their 2008 university rankings. I guess it’s as good a time as any to get in on the blogosphere chatter. Part of the motivation for this blog is to document the academic differences between the US and UK. In the past I’ve […]


Eh, Levels?

17Aug07

Yesterday results of the UK’s Advanced Level (A-Level) exams were announced, prompting a blip of excitement among university-bound British students and my own sympathetic blip of curiosity. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, the exam culture in the UK (and perhaps the rest of the world) is a bit more pronounced than in the […]


Another hallmark of graduate life: not being able to find your favourite food at the grocery because it’s no longer on the discount shelf. (Green beans, by the way, are not my favourite food… but at ¬£1 for two large¬†packs, they’re close.)


A news snippit from back home: Robert Dynes, a low temperature physicist, is stepping down from the presidency of the University of California. Local news reports can be found here, here, here, and here. Among other accomplishments, Dynes presided over the growth of the UC system’s relations with industry, worked on budget compromises with the […]


As political figures continue to maneuver for the 2008 US presidential election, I’ve yet to hear a candidate really put their foot down and say, “It’s the education system, stupid.” Nothing I’m going to say below is new or deeper than what people should already know. But I think they deserve to be repeated. Fair […]


I used to have a fear of loop diagrams — something about being intimidated by having to integrate over loop momenta. I’ve gotten over this loop-a-phobia after being faced with several such integrals as part of my work this summer, where I’ve been calculating box and penguin diagrams for B-mesons. The Form of the Beast […]


For me, at least, the difference between doing a calculation for homework and doing a calculation for research is how much you check your work. Where one might be happy to get the right integral form or the right combination of coefficients for an academic exercise, there’s no wiggle room for stray factors of pi […]


Mark, my office mate, has written a nice bit of code to include an arXiv and SPIRES searches in the Firefox 1.x search bar. One can find the install them here. He asks me to note that these are not yet compatible with version 2 of Firefox. Thanks Mark!