Anti-Steve: The Weeks in Review, Feb. 6 – 18

This sign hangs on the door of an office not far from my own office at CERN. Seeing it was a delightful moment of science humor on a walk back to work.

I am on an approved leave from teaching and university service this semester so that I can focus on research. While I’ve had a number of things going since before the New Year, the last two weeks have been the start of the “traveling” phase of my semester. For me, it’s “Phase 1” – I’ll be in Dallas for much of March while Jodi is away at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Now that this part of my semester has begun, I thought it would be useful to reflect on the last couple of weeks of “HEP Life.”

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review, February 8-12, 2016

A scene from the SMU Research Day on Feb. 10.
A scene from the SMU Research Day on Feb. 10.

This was an incredible week, not because of anything that happened specifically to me but because of what happened for all humankind. At SMU, we were visited by Prof. Tony Gherghetta from the University of Minnesota who gave a fantastic seminar at SMU on the subject of composite theories of new physics at the LHC. The physics community was abuzz with rumours about the press conferences and seminars planned by members of the LIGO Science Collaboration on Thursday, Feb. 11. The rumours, this time, proved to be true. The LIGO Science Collaboration announced the discovery of gravitational waves and the birth of a new form of astronomy. Jodi delivered the Clare Boothe Luce lecture at the University of Dallas that same day. The week closed out with a trip to Wisconsin for a nephew birthday party. What a week.

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Northbound

A toppled tractor trailer truck lying in the median ditch of I-35, a victim of the forces of nature parading through the central United States this week.
A toppled tractor trailer truck lying in the median ditch of I-35, a victim of the forces of nature parading through the central United States this week.

Tornadoes, thunderstorms and heavy rains, floods, and a blizzard. And we’re not even there yet. Some observations on our northbound new year’s travel to see family in Wisconsin, with some photos. This has been a tour of the damage wrought by arctic air combining with the force of the El Nino in the Pacific and the general saturation of air due to global climate change (warm air holds more moisture, a simple fact learned in high school). In two days and five states, we’ve experienced a little menagerie of the wild weather conditions that are made possible by periodic phenomena like El Nino and the long-term lever arm of human-induced climate change.

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Intersections in space but not in time – an afternoon in Jerusalem

During this week’s ATLAS Experiment Beyond-the-Standard Model Higgs working group meeting in Israel, our hosts at the Weizmann Institute of Science organized an afternoon and evening trip to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is about 45 minutes from Rehovot, so we boarded a bus around 14:00 and arrived in Jerusalem about an hour later. We were guided through the city – starting at David’s Gate, walking through the Jerusalem Market, then to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the site honored as the location of Golgatha, the “place of skulls,” where Jesus Christ was crucified and then resurrected 3 days later), then up to the rooftops above another market, then down to the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) of the second temple built by King Herod. Our tour concluded with a second organized tour of the tunnels under the Western Wall, going about half a kilometer from the exposed “Wailing Wall” underneath the Muslim Quarter to the end of the wall, where it meets Mount Moriah, the mythological location where Abraham was to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to demonstrate his faith in God.

Below are some photos from our tour of these parts of Jerusalem.

 

A panorama of the locations named "David's Tower" and "David's Gate." They mark a boundary of the Old City of Jerusalem. They are only named in honor of King David; they do not date from his time.
A panorama of the locations named “David’s Tower” and “David’s Gate.” They mark a boundary of the Old City of Jerusalem. They are only named in honor of King David; they do not date from his time.
A view down one street that makes up the bustling Jerusalem Market.
A view down one street that makes up the bustling Jerusalem Market.
The plaza and entrance to The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This site is honored as the site of Golgotha, the "Place of Skulls," where Jesus Christ was crucified and later resurrected. History and archaeology place the location of crucifixions in this city at the outskirts of the city, not in what would have been a center of the city in 33 A.D. Many religions lay claim to this church; it is subdivided into many pieces, each claimed by a sect of Christianity.
The plaza and entrance to The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This site is honored as the site of Golgotha, the “Place of Skulls,” where Jesus Christ was crucified and later resurrected. History and archaeology place the location of crucifixions in this city at the outskirts of the city, not in what would have been a center of the city in 33 A.D. Many religions lay claim to this church; it is subdivided into many pieces, each claimed by a sect of Christianity.
A panorama of the courtyard and entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
A panorama of the courtyard and entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
A view inside the subdued atmosphere of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
A view inside the subdued atmosphere of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Golgatha Altar, marking the traditional location where the cross was mounted on Calvary during the crucifixion. The stone encased in glass on the left is the "rock of Calvary," marking the 12th station of the cross. The altar is Greek Orthodox.
The Golgatha Altar, marking the traditional location where the cross was mounted on Calvary during the crucifixion. The stone encased in glass on the left is the “rock of Calvary,” marking the 12th station of the cross. The altar is Greek Orthodox.
A panorama of the The Aedicule, which is home to the traditional location of the burial and resurrection tomb of Jesus Christ.
A panorama of the The Aedicule, which is home to the traditional location of the burial and resurrection tomb of Jesus Christ.
A Greek Orthodox mural of the crucifixion.
A Greek Orthodox mural of the crucifixion.
A panorama of the old city from rooftops near the Jewish Quarter. Visible is the Mount of Olives (far right, in the distance) and the Temple Mount (right quarter of the image, marked by the gold-domed Mosque).
A panorama of the old city from rooftops near the Jewish Quarter. Visible is the Mount of Olives (far right, in the distance) and the Temple Mount (right quarter of the image, marked by the gold-domed Mosque).
The remains of a Roman Cardo, a "North-South Running Road"
The remains of a Roman Cardo, a “North-South Running Road”

 

Our excellent tour guide in Jerusalem
Our excellent tour guide in Jerusalem
There are few places in Jerusalem where the literal word of the Bible and real modern life intersect in a clear fashion. This is one of them. Here is the remains of a demolished house (lower right), a thick wall (on the ground, and above it a playground in the Jewish Quarter teeming with energetic, happy children and their families. This place is mentioned in the Bible: "You counted the buildings in Jerusalem  and tore down houses to strengthen the wall. (Isaiah 22:10)" This location, archaeologically, is the one place so far found where the old defensive wall thickens to repel attack from the outside, at the cost of houses right next to where the wall was reinforced.
There are few places in Jerusalem where the literal word of the Bible and real modern life intersect in a clear fashion. This is one of them. Here are the remains of a demolished house (lower right), a thick wall (on the ground, and above it a playground in the Jewish Quarter teeming with energetic, happy children and their families. This place is mentioned in the Bible: “You counted the buildings in Jerusalem and tore down houses to strengthen the wall. (Isaiah 22:10)” This location, archaeologically, is the one place so far found where the old defensive wall thickens to repel attack from the outside, at the cost of houses right next to where the wall was reinforced.

 

The plaza in front of the exposed section of the Western Wall of the second Jewish Temple (the "Wailing Wall"). Visible in the panorama is the Mount of Olives and various key locations in Jewish and Muslim theology, including the place of resurrection of all Jews and both Jewish (Gehenna) and Muslim hells (Jahannam).
The plaza in front of the exposed section of the Western Wall of the second Jewish Temple (the “Wailing Wall”). Visible in the panorama is the Mount of Olives and various key locations in Jewish and Muslim theology, including the place of resurrection of all Jews and both Jewish (Gehenna) and Muslim hells (Jahannam).

 

The plaza in front of the Wailing Wall, an exposed section of the retaining wall of the second Jewish Temple.
The plaza in front of the Wailing Wall, an exposed section of the retaining wall of the second Jewish Temple.

 

The tunnels running along side the Western Wall. They are subterranean because they support the Muslim Quarter build atop this area.
The tunnels running along side the Western Wall (visible in the background). They are subterranean because they support the Muslim Quarter build atop this area.
A model of the Second Jewish Temple, built by King Herod. Here is the bridge atop what is now known as "Wilson's Arch." The bridge allowed the Priests to enter the Temple each day without mingling with the people visiting the Temple.
A model of the Second Jewish Temple, built by King Herod. Here is the bridge atop what is now known as “Wilson’s Arch.” The bridge allowed the Priests to enter the Temple each day without mingling with the people visiting the Temple.

 

The place where the wall meets Mount Moriah. Here, the mountain was hewn away and, rather than building an actual wall here, was carved to LOOK like part of the wall.
The place where the wall meets Mount Moriah. Here, the mountain was hewn away and, rather than building an actual wall here, was carved to LOOK like part of the wall.
The plaza in front of the Wailing Wall at night. May more people have gathered to pray.
The plaza in front of the Wailing Wall at night. May more people have gathered to pray.