Saturday, April 12, 2008

Laptops and Bad Hair

Since I just spent a full day at the APS meeting in St. Louis, I thought I would share my impressions. I spent all day listening to talks on dark matter detectors and liquid argon purification. Amazing right? Actually, I really enjoyed it. I learned about a dark matter detector called LUX (site is still under construction)that I had not heard of before. Though it is not new in the techniques that it employs (it is a large liquid Xenon time projection chamber), it does have quite the measurement range. There are some exciting times ahead for those looking for dark matter.

(Dark Matter in a Box)

One the things that really blew my mind was the number of people with open laptops, working on their presentations during someone else's presentation. I can honestly that that number if approximately 1/3 of the total audience. If I had known there was free wireless, I would have brought my laptop and done some live blogging. There is always tomorrow (or Monday or Tuesday).

The highlight of the conference was, by far, the hair of the physicists. I saw long gray scraggly ponytails, frizzy scientist puffros, and foot-long beards. It was great. I can only hope there was a correlation between beard length and academic prominence.

Tomorrow, I will listen to more talks on dark matter. This time, it looks like it will be more theoretical. Joy! Sadly, I will be missing the morning talks because of a previous engagement. I will be missing the one talk I think will be crazy. I'll link to the abstract here. It is only a 10 minute talk but I think it would be a wonderfully strange 10 minutes. I should be able to make it in time to hear a few on gravitational wave detectors or x-ray bursts as well.

Tune in tomorrow for a live blogging on dark matter, if I remember to take my laptop.