Friday, October 9, 2009

Random convo between two huge nerds

(9:24:39 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Apparently with a particle accelerator you can burn a tumor deep inside a person without even making an incision.
(9:24:51 PM) Me: I see
(9:26:37 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: The particle beams can be steered very precisely, and only deposit their energy at a particular penetration depth.
(9:26:58 PM) Me: I see.
(9:27:06 PM) Me: Very targeted.
(9:27:22 PM) Me: I'm curious
(9:27:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: If you want to hit a tumor in the middle of somebody's brain, you can't really do damage to all the surrounding tissue.
(9:27:39 PM) Me: I'm taking quantum mech now since I think circuits are getting small
(9:27:48 PM) Me: amazing.
(9:28:24 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Anyways, particle accelerators cost billions so hospitals aren't getting them any time soon.
(9:28:25 PM) Me: but I guess this technology is not portable and very expensive
(9:28:32 PM) Me: aahahah
(9:28:46 PM) Me: hospitals are trying to make things *cheap* and *small*
(9:29:06 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Not really, those MRI machines probably cost tens of millions.
(9:29:10 PM) Me: I know
(9:29:17 PM) Me: they want portable MRI's
(9:29:23 PM) Me: I think many groups are working on that
(9:29:31 PM) Me: some group @ Harvard has a prototype
(9:30:00 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yeah
(9:30:18 PM) Me: I'm trying to figure out exactly what my research is.
(9:30:25 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: By taking QM?
(9:30:25 PM) Me: I don't have an advisor yet
(9:30:33 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Does the teacher have a german accent at least?
(9:30:47 PM) Me: oh, QM is what I think I should know for any research in circuits, devices, etc.
(9:30:53 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You can't learn QM from somebody that doesn't have a german accent.
(9:31:08 PM) Me: Mine has an... Australian???
(9:31:15 PM) Me: Scottish?? Welsh??
(9:31:18 PM) Me: I don't know
(9:31:30 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: 4 out of 5 of my QM professors were german.
(9:31:31 PM) Me: But I don't think is German
(9:31:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Fail.
(9:31:45 PM) Me: lemme check his CV.
(9:31:45 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Tell him to learn a german accent.
(9:31:49 PM) Me: HAHAHAHHA
(9:32:00 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: So he doesn't sound like an imposter.
(9:32:36 PM) Me: He's a Scot.
(9:33:06 PM) Me: well, his undergrad is in Scotland
(9:33:17 PM) Me: so that's prolly where he's from.
(9:33:18 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: There's a lot of people working on quantum computing right now, but I don't know if that's really covered in most QM classes.
(9:33:25 PM) Me: nope
(9:33:36 PM) Me: not at this elementary level I'm doing :P
(9:33:37 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Most classes just go on and on about atoms.
(9:33:51 PM) Me: I'm doing this operator thing
(9:34:04 PM) Me: expectation values? of momentum and position operators
(9:34:12 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: It's all just linear algebra.
(9:34:20 PM) Me: we went right into Schrodingers
(9:34:24 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You should be familiar with that from those circuit thingies.
(9:34:29 PM) Me: oh
(9:34:36 PM) Me: But I guess I don't know how to set it up
(9:34:49 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Oh you're doing the schrodinger formalism.
(9:35:00 PM) Me: since this was actually pset from my semiconductor physics class.
(9:35:06 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: That's just messy because you have to take integrals all day long for your homework.
(9:35:23 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Later on in life you learn the dirac formalism, and the math gets simpler.
(9:35:23 PM) Me: oh, I didn't actually do that fortunately
(9:35:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Apparently schrodinger was some kind of man slut.
(9:35:42 PM) Me: yes
(9:35:51 PM) Me: I'm doing QM in like 2 classes right now
(9:35:57 PM) Me: one is called QM
(9:36:04 PM) Me: the other is semiconductor physics
(9:36:38 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yeah. I guess they usually call it solid state physics.
(9:37:10 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I think schrodinger also had something against cats.
(9:37:22 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I'm allergic to them, but I have nothing against them.
(9:37:22 PM) Me: sigh.
(9:37:30 PM) Me: I'm allergic to them
(9:37:34 PM) Me: and I like cats.
(9:38:46 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I don't know any solid state physics, since I work on miniature particle accelerators.
(9:39:01 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: But I hear the hot topic is graphene.
(9:39:11 PM) Me: and carbon nanotubes
(9:39:18 PM) Me: and solar cells
(9:39:18 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yes.
(9:39:29 PM) Me: these are the groups here that are getting $
(9:39:45 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Apparently you can produce nanotubes by rolling up graphene like making an eggroll or something.
(9:39:57 PM) Me: yeah ahahah
(9:40:00 PM) Me: mmmm
(9:40:19 PM) Me: That sounds like cool stuff, but I don't wanna spend time in a bunny suit all day.
(9:40:28 PM) Me: So I guess I shall do the modeling
(9:40:33 PM) Me: if I actually research about this
(9:40:41 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: See, half the people that start grad school here think they're going to work on string theory with steve weinburg and become the next einstein. The truth is there's no money in string theory, so they all end up doing experimental solid state physics, where the benjamins are.
(9:41:12 PM) Me: I can see that
(9:41:31 PM) Me: there're many groups here doing optical waveguides
(9:41:38 PM) Me: something I should know about for my stupid quals
(9:41:53 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Actually the solid state people spend most of their time wondering why their afm or sem or stm or whatever doesn't work.
(9:42:03 PM) Me: sigh
(9:42:06 PM) Me: how depressing
(9:42:14 PM) Me: Just like the PhD comics
(9:42:28 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Part of my group does optical waveguides.
(9:42:59 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You're just getting older.
(9:43:02 PM) Me: Here, the professors explicitly said they don't know jack about their students' work
(9:43:06 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Reality is starting to stare you in the face more.
(9:43:09 PM) Me: And they're PROUD OF IT
(9:43:22 PM) Me: ahahaha
(9:43:32 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Professors don't really care about the details of your work, they just expect results.
(9:43:39 PM) Me: heh
(9:43:52 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: It's not really academia, these research groups are mini research factories.
(9:44:07 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Or research paper factories.
(9:44:09 PM) Me: Intel is one big ass research factory
(9:44:13 PM) Me: yeah
(9:44:16 PM) Me: lol
(9:44:19 PM) Me: I need papers
(9:45:01 PM) Me: well I mean, I'm still dealing with classes and ... qual prep... that's not getting done
(9:45:38 PM) Me: Actually, my ultimate life goal is to be like Henry Thoreau.
(9:46:09 PM) Me: I don't think there's a place for that
(9:47:52 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Hell, they just gave a guy a nobel prize just for not being bush.
(9:49:11 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: To get a nobel prize in physics, you have to invent the ccd or the fiber optic cable. Then you have to stick around and not die for 40 years until everybody agrees your earth-changing invention is nobel prize worthy.
(9:49:22 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: But in politics, you just have to not be bush.
(9:49:24 PM) Me: That's why I say
(9:49:45 PM) Me: The Physics Prize should have more $$$
(9:49:56 PM) Me: and they should give it to their grad students.
(9:50:10 PM) Me: That goes for the prize for medicine
(9:50:12 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: What does an 80 year old emeritus professor need a million dollars for, to buy a sports car?
(9:50:12 PM) Me: and chemistry
(9:50:25 PM) Me: I think the insulin one
(9:50:40 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Actually, lots of the old 70 year old professors in my department do in fact drive sports cars.
(9:50:44 PM) Me: the guy who won it gave to his grad student collaborator
(9:51:07 PM) Me: That's because they didn't have sports cars when they were young and dirt poor
(9:51:10 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: porsche, bmw, one guy had a ferrari that he crashed I think.
(9:51:11 PM) Me: like we are now
(9:52:09 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I find it ironic that 90% of sports car owners are bald old men.
(9:52:24 PM) Me: They want to think they're still young
(9:52:30 PM) Me: suave and cool
(9:52:34 PM) Me: like James Bond
(9:52:55 PM) Me: People who wear helmets while biking - safe and uncool
(9:53:05 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Maybe they go cruising picking up girls 1/10th their age.
(9:53:10 PM) Me: People who don't wear helmets - dangerous but cool
(9:53:24 PM) Me: like James Bond
(9:53:31 PM) Me: except his death rate is 0%
(9:53:35 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: This post doc I work with doesn't stop talking about his sport bike.
(9:53:39 PM) Me: lol
(9:53:53 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: And won't stop watching motorcycle crashes on youtube.
(9:53:56 PM) Me: Dr. Yang of parity violation fame
(9:54:04 PM) Me: he married a girl 50 years younger
(9:54:08 PM) Me: freaking sick
(9:54:24 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: It be ironic if her name was yin.
(9:54:29 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Yin and yang's parity violation.
(9:54:33 PM) Me: Some people like to live on the dangerous side
(9:54:42 PM) Me: wow that was the funniest thing I've heard all day
(9:55:55 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You know there's a tv show on cbs based on making fun of physicists?
(9:56:14 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: They tell jokes like that to try to pick up blond bimbos and get laughed at. But not in the good way.
(9:56:41 PM) Me: Big Bang Theory?
(9:56:57 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: You know, some physicist probably invented the cathode ray tube, which lead to the tv, and they use the tv to make fun of physicists.
(9:57:00 PM) Me: I watched the first 10 minutes of the 1st ep
(9:57:05 PM) Me: and got annoyed at it
(9:57:48 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I've never seen a tv show before where I got every single reference.
(9:58:06 PM) Me: wahaahah
(9:58:08 PM) Me: amazing
(9:58:09 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: I even have digital copies of some of the posters they have in the background.
(9:58:14 PM) Me: dude
(9:58:20 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Nasa public pics and stuff.
(9:58:33 PM) ParticlePhysicistFriend: Sad.
(9:58:49 PM) Me: no it's not
(9:59:12 PM) Me: physicists don't have to be freaking inept like that
(9:59:25 PM) Me: they could be cool and suave like freaking James Bond

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