The Quantum Pontiff

See Planets!

Direct imaging of extra solar planets. The cat dynamicist has the details. (because, linking, I’ve heard, is good.) Fomalhaut b, a nice name.

When I was on the road to becoming an astrophysicist, as a young grad student, I remember thinking how cool it would be to join the planet hunters. I mean being able to say that in your research you “discovered a planet” well how cool would that be. Alas I caught the quantum bug and so all those days spent studying the interstellar tedium are now lost, like tears in the rain.


  1. #1 Stephen
    November 14, 2008

    Interstellar tedium?

  2. #2 Ian
    November 14, 2008

    So you think your career works better if you don’t planet?

  3. #3 Dave Bacon
    November 14, 2008

    Stephen: have you seen how much chemistry you need to understand to the interstellar medium. Definitely the interstellar tedium. 🙂

  4. #4 Ian Durham
    November 14, 2008

    Dave: that’s funny. I was literally doing the same thing. Started out in grad school in astrophysics thinking I might do extrasolar planet hunting until I got the quantum bug.

    Ian: absolutely! :))

  5. #5 Mike
    November 14, 2008

    You’ve done a man’s job, sir. It’s too bad she won’t live… but then again, who does?

  6. #6 John Sidles
    November 14, 2008

    Thank you, Dave, for quoting the line “lost like tears in the rain“, which is surely among the most wonderful ad-libs in movie history …

    The study of complexity—when regarded as the study of rain as contrasted with the study of tears—is perhaps the perfect line of research for all who like to contemplate the “big picture.”

  7. #7 John Sidles
    November 17, 2008

    Just `cuz I too admire this topic, I would like to point out that NASA’s planet-searching New Worlds Mission is on-track to receive three billion dollars in funding.

    What have they good that quantum information science has not got? Well, QIS arguably has better mathematics and sexier physics than planet-searching (although planet-searching does pretty well in both categories).

    But planet-searching arguably has better engineering and a more-readily comprehensible mission. The result is that planet-searching ends up with top-quality fundamental research *and* top-quality engineering and applications.

    The point being, the QIS might benefit from a similar upgrade.

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