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2005 May 24 21:14

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Re: [vox-tech] tell gnuplot to use a single X11 window
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Re: [vox-tech] tell gnuplot to use a single X11 window



On Tuesday 24 May 2005 05:35, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> AFAIK, what you saw is the first numerical demonstration of quantum
> mechanical wavefunction collapse, and the first known numerical solution to
> the Schrodinger Newton quantum gravity scheme.
Awesome!
>
> > Was this a part of your dissertation?
>
> Yeah, if you change "was" to "is".   I'm still writing, but hope to be done
> in about 2 weeks.  Part of the problem is that I'm firmly, utterly, and
> completely a *theoretical* physicist, but my dissertation's main thesis is
> the proposal of an experiment to disprove a theory of quantum gravity.
I'll want to read it for sure.
>
> Unfortunately, experimentalists haven't been doing mass-on-spring or
> Young's double slit experiments for 2 or 3 hundred years.  Modern
> experiments are considerably complicated, and have a theoretical framework
> that is very challenging.  I know the gist of modern day matter-wave
> experiments, but I need to become an expert very quickly (if anybody really
> understands the Talbot effect, the Lau effect or Talbot-Lau interferometry,
> please email me!)
>
> One thing I've learned in grad school is respect for experimentalists.  The
> types of theory a *real* experimentalist does (not a grad student
> performing someone else's experiment) requires theory that's often less
> abstract but more complicated than what a theoretician does.  As an example
> of this, pick up any book on electricity and magnetism.  Very easy to
> expand the Coulomb potential if you know the theory of expanding 1/|x-x'|
> in terms of orthogonal functions like spherical harmonics.   But try to use
> the theory to calculate something useful, like the potential at the tip of
> a
> semi-spherical probe or even the electric field off-axis of a solenoid, and
> you have a problem that would make most theoreticians pee in their pants.
Completely right. Good experiments are very hard to do.
>
> Also, it didn't help that my main workstation died last week (hence, my
> recent postings on vox-tech).  Luckily, I back everything up like a crazed
> maniac on steroids.  I lost nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Except time.
>
> > Are you ever going to post your dissertation to your web site?  Your web
> > site looks like it hasn't been updated since you went east.
>
> That's pretty much true.  I had a full time professorship at a local
> college teaching physics and calculus.  You can't get away with the
> shenanigans that some professors do at UC Davis at community college.  Try
> it, and you'll have a 90% fail rate.  They definitely need a lot of hand
> holding because half of them are woefully unprepared for classes in math
> and physics.
>
> The metric that community colleges use to indicate success is graduation
> rates.  High graduation rate == college effectiveness, so it behooves them
> to push as many people through as possible as fast as possible.  It looks
> good for the college and they get loads of federal/state $$$ to do that.
> That also means when you teach calc, you have a class that couldn't graph
> y = mx + b without a graphing calculator.  BTW, it's not just community
> colleges --- many high schools are also guilty of this.
>
> The punchline is -- I didn't have much time to work on my dissertation in
> the past year.  I really tried, but it was beyond difficult.  The job was
> great experience, and is good resume material.  But was terrible for
> getting my thesis done.
>
> Luckily my position was eliminated, and I declined summer adjuncting, so
> I've been going full steam on my thesis.  Losing the job was the best thing
> that ever happened to me.
>
>
> I definitely plan on posting the dissertation.  I'll post an announcement.
> You'll probably hear me yell "huzzah" all the way from NJ.  ;)   I think
> the dissertation is also worth 2 or 3 physics papers, and perhaps another 2
> or 3 papers in some kind of numerical research journal.  Maybe
> computational fluids.  I've been thinking that some Dr. Dobbs articles
> might be
> appropriate too.  A lot of neat stuff went into solving this.  And the
> whole thing was done, from start to finish, using nothing but open source
> tools. In fact, in my dissertation, I spend a few paragraphs explaining why
> it would be detrimental from a *technical view* to use certain proprietary
> tools.
>
> I'll post those papers too, including latex source.   ;)
>
> > Its ok to be modest but don't over do it. One of my instructors told me
> > he was told he could not be a theoretical physicist because he
> > wasn't arrogant enough.
>
> I've heard that before.  I think "busy" often gets confused with arrogant.
> We normally talk with a daemon running in our head that filters or
> rearranges what comes out of our mouth.  So instead of saying "you are an
> idiot and have your head up your ass", most of us would say "I think you're
> looking at the problem the wrong way".
>
> Most successful researchers don't seem to want that daemon taking CPU
> cycles.  It's like running portmap when there's no RPC services.  They want
> to end whatever interaction they're engaged in quickly so they can get back
> to work.  It gets interpreted as arrogance, but I don't think it is.
>
> Honestly, the only people I met at UCD that I'd label as "arrogant" would
> be some of the grad students.
Actually, I have never been treated rudely by any physicist that I have met,
including some "big names". I was snubbed by the wife of one professor once.
The school held a festschrift for my advisor and when they didn't have as
much attendance as desired, they invited some of the graduate students,
who normally wouldn't have been able to attend. This one wife clearly resented
having mere graduate students there. This was not my advisors wife; she was
always very polite.

>
> Wow.  Sorry for the long email!
Don't be. I, at least enjoyed it. And I'll be looking more into the perl 
script. I don't know how many hours I've spent looking at gnuplot plots
and something like this may have been a great deal of help.
Richard

>
> Pete
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