The Quantum Pontiff

The Bar Scene

Someone at Caltech’s PR office sure was having fun:

Caltech Astronomers Describe the Bar Scene at the Beginning of the Universe

PASADENA, Calif.–Bars abound in spiral galaxies today, but this was not always the case. A group of 16 astronomers, led by Kartik Sheth of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, has found that bars tripled in number over the past seven billion years, indicating that spiral galaxies evolve in shape.

Oh, I can tell you all about the bar scene near Caltech. Dive bar: The Colorado. Beer for graduate students: Lucky Baldwin’s. Quantum margarita night: Amigos. Quantum beer night: drive five hours north to Albatross in Berkeley, CA.


  1. #1 Jonathan Vos Post
    July 30, 2008

    You’re forgetting the bar at the Athenaeum. As indicated by the logo on its matchbooks, it’s the h-bar.

    My wife and I could not convince Tommy Smothers that this was funny, when we bought him a drink there. I guess you have to have taken Quantum Mechnics…

  2. #2 John VP
    July 30, 2008

    I happened to be talking to Roger Penrose about this, a few nights ago in Tim Allen’s little house: he has a nice bar with quantum themes and Roger and I wondered how much Tim could really understand of quantum mechanics.

    Needless to say, when I saw Jon Stewart the next day, he had something clever to say about this. Unfortunately, my drinking binge last night with Charlie Sheen and Johnny Depp made me forget all of this again.

  3. #3 Jonathan Vos Post
    August 1, 2008

    It’s just cruel of you, John VP, to mention Johnny Depp in your parody. Everyone knows that I first spoke with Mr. Depp at the Memorial for Allen Ginsberg.

  4. #4 themadlolscientist, FCD
    August 1, 2008

    Mmmmmmmmmm, Johnny Depp! He could make me forget a lot of things even if I weren’t drunk, heh heh heh. 😉

  5. #5 Jonathan Vos Post
    August 1, 2008

    My High School and middle school students are not impressed by my Feynman stories, nor those involving other Nobel laureates I know, nor my conversations with Timothy Leary, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Castenada, or other 60s stars. Nor of Jimmy Carter or other relics of what, to them, in ancient history somewhere back around the Punic Wars. They are vaguely approving of my interactions with Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. They are impressed by my conversations with J. K. Rowling. But they go into ecstatic convulsions when I talk about meeting Johnny Depp. Their standard question: “Isn’t he hot?”

    “I’m a happily married man,” I say. “But I do think that he’s a great actor, deeply devoted to his craft, different in every role, and a perfect gentleman. Now, getting back to the rules for exponentiation, please get your homework ready to collect while I draw this picture on the whiteboard…”

  6. #6 John VP
    August 1, 2008

    I apologize to you, Jonathan Vos Post. Of course I knew you had met our mutual friend Johnny D. in 1997, years before I had the pleasure of having a conversation with him (Paris 2002, Sean P., etc.). I recall he dropped your name at some point.

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