Thursday, June 01, 2006

In Medias Res

So you got a new blog, you want to join the mighty blogosphere, and what do you do? You wait for that exciting event that you will use as the grist for your first post. But life is usually not very exciting, is it? So what you reallyhave to do is just jump in.

This week I have been working with a physics major, Joshua Hignight, on simulation studies for the proposed International Linear Collider. This is fairly high level stuff, and normally a junior physics major would not be able to handle the work. Josh, though, is a pretty exceptional character - a graduate tof the Louisiana Academy for Math, Science, and the Arts. He came into LA Tech with several credit hours of college equivalent work, and he knows how to program. This is a rare art indeed, believe it or not. Most of our students are Window savvy, but would not know C++ from Sanskrit. And our grdauate students, who are predominantly Indian, claim to know C++ but usually really only know Telugu.

So Josh is helping me to get some tracking studies done before the big American Linear Collider Physics Conference in Vancouver in July. Working on the ILC is one of two major physics projects that I am involved in. The other is the DZero experiment (officially written D0 with a / trough the 0) at Fermi National Accelerator Lab in Batavia, IL. I have been a member of DZero since 1992, which means I am one of the (many many) co-discoverers of the top quark in 1995. I have a postdoc who works for me at Fermilab, and I have a couple of graduate students involved in DZero work.

The other thing I do to while away the hours in the piney woods of north Louisiana is adminster the chemistry and physics programs. Because of a major reorganization of the College of Engineering and Science at LA Tech a few years back, we no longer have departments. Instead we have "programs". and instead of having department heads, we have "Academic Directors" - 12 month adminstrators who oversee the faculty in one or more programs - and "program chairs", who are 9 month regular faculty who take on the responsibility of class scheduling and curriculum issues (such as student advising, new course offerings, etc.) in a particular program. Actually, lucky me, I am both Academic Director for Chemstry & Physics, and Program Chair for Physics.

In my copious spare time I have a family, I write, and I play bass guitar with a couple of other faculty members in a blues band. That's just about me all over - let's start blogging!

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