The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

Surviving the week

Summertime is the worst time of the year for physics. I’ve said this many times before, but no season is busier. I suppose it’s timed to coincide with professorial “free time”, when classes end and researchers can get back to their life of labs and meetings. For a post-doc or a grad student, this is no time to slack off at the beach . . . though we all desperately want to do just that! To illustrate: in order to get the project I am working on to the ICHEP, my two colleagues and I had to work on both days of July 3rd and 4th. Two of us are Americans, and the other knows a good holiday when he sees one. Regardless, we all sweated out those two days just to make the deadline, watched a few fireworks and drank a few beers, and then went back to our normal research lives again on July 5th.

Jodi is faring no better. It’s crunch time for her experiment, and everybody is working overtime – as if such a thing existed in science – to make a good show of it. We’d both planned to skive off this week, taking a day to make up for the holiday physics ripped from our grasps. Alas it was not to be: Jodi had more of the same work on Wednesday, Thursday, and today. I had papers to read and edit, other analyses to think about, and just generally a lot of collaboration business to attend. Jodi and I were both simply very glad when we could leave the office, walking into a VERY hot California afternoon, and go home for a few hours, at least, away from the summer physics cram.