I’ve spent the last two days in the San Francisco bay area visiting first Stanford and then Berkeley.
Highlights of the trip included:
- Talking to Jelena Vuckovic about the work she and her group have been performing on strongly coupling photonic crystals to quantum dots.
- Talking to Thaddeus Ladd and Yoshihisa Yamamoto about their work on ultrafast pulses for controlling electron spin which appears in Nature Physics. Picosecond single qubit gates, mmmm.
- Talking with Vaughan Pratt. I did not tell him that I am teaching his (and Knuth and Morris’) algorithm this Friday! Oh, and I shook Donald Knuth’s hand. I also forgot to thank him for TeX.
- Seeing Hideo Mabuchi’s new setup in Stanford and in particular his cool tracking device for tracking fluorescent biomolecules.
- Talking with quantum theorists in Berkeley. Berkeley’s quantum group has an amazing cool setup in the Hearst Mining Building. While I was there I had an office in a basement and in a damn long room which was repeatedly mistaken for a classroom. As graduate students we ran a competitions to establish a pecking order on who had to get up and answer the door. You can look at my thesis for a final ranking on that score.
All in all a good trip. Stanford and Cal never fail to impress, the former at the heart of so much in Silicon Valley and the later certainly the premier public research university around. Indeed I’d probably argue that these two institutions benefit immensely from their pseudo-near location. It probably helps that they are stereotyped differently, though, if you ask me, they have a lot more in common than anyone in Berkeley or in Palo Alto would care to admit ?