Where I'm Going to Be

In the last couple of weeks, I have suddenly acquired a rather full travel schedule for the coming months. The odd thing is that none of these trips are book-publicity junkets-- they're all basically professional-type appearances, several of them taking place before How to Teach Physics to Your Dog hits stores on December 22. My schedule so far:

  • October 24, Waterloo, Ontario: I'm a late addition the Quantum to Cosmos Festival, as a panelist for a discussion on "Communicating Science in the 21st Century." This will also be webcast and recorded for television (my itinerary includes a "Speaker Call" 45 minutes before the panel, and the note "Speaker call includes make-up," which ought to be interesting...).
  • November 12-15, Houston, Texas (actually, "The Woodlands," which is somewhere sort of near Houston): I'll be the Union delegate to the annual meeting of Sigma Xi. This does not involve giving any presentations, just going to meetings and hanging out. I don't know anybody else who will be at this, so if you're in the Houston area, and would like to get together for a beer or something, drop me an email.
  • December 4, Lewiston, Maine: I'm giving a seminar talk at Bates College. Title is "Counting Atoms for Astrophysics: Atom Traps, Neutrino Detectors, and Radioactive Background Measurements." If any of the other Maine schools (Bowdoin, Colby, whatever) would like a seminar speaker around that time, drop me an email.
  • February 12-14, Boston, Massachusetts: Kate and I will both be going to Boskone as usual, and will almost certainly be on programming there.
  • March 15-19, Portland, Oregon: I'm giving an invited talk on the educational use of lasers at the APS March Meeting. Title is something like "Lasers in the Undergraduate Laboratory: Precision Measurement for the Masses." I've never been to a March Meeting before, though I was at the 1999 Centennial Meeting in Atlanta, which was probably about the same size.
  • April 9-10, Albany, New York: I'll be appearing at the Empire State Book Festival. OK, this isn't really travel, but it is a public event that I'll be at, so I include it for completeness.
  • May 25-29, Houston, Texas: Yes, that's right, I'm going to Houston twice. This trip is for DAMOP, the research conference I go to every May. My current thesis student is exceptionally good, and I'll have him apply for the undergraduate research session, and if he doesn't get that, we'll submit a poster.

Not listed are a personal trip to New York City in mid-November (Kate has a court appearance, and we're going to make a weekend of it), and most likely a quick trip to Maryland for a meeting with people at the APS (yet to be scheduled, but soon). There's another thing I'm involved with that will probably generate another 1-2 trips in the next year, but I don't have any details yet.

So it's going to be a busy year. I'll get to color in some big blank spaces on the map of states I've visited (I've never been to the West Coast north of San Francisco before, and I've only changed planes in Texas). And again, this does not include anything that's solely book publicity (though I will probably look into the possibility of doing some during the March Meeting and DAMOP).

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"November 12-15, Houston, Texas (actually, "The Woodlands," which is somewhere sort of near Houston)"

The Woodlands is about 30 miles north of downtown Houston. It's a big master-planned suburb, though it's grown enough to have its own business district and pseudo-downtown. This is probably your best bet for figuring out what to do while you're there, and the hotel you'll be in is right on one of the actually walkable attractions, the Woodlands waterway. BTW, if SteelyKid is traveling with you, the Woodlands Pavilion (large outdoor concert venue) is having a two-day Children's Festival on the 14th and 15th - see http://www.woodlandscenter.org/eventdetail.aspx?eid=581 for more. If you're lucky, the weather will be around 70 during the day, but it could be cold by our standards - say, in the 40s. For sure, it'll be warmer than what you're used to at this time of year. Do check the forecasts before you pack - there really is a range of about 40 degrees for the potential high temp. http://weather.chron.com/US/TX/Houston.html is as good a source as any.

"May 25-29, Houston, Texas: Yes, that's right, I'm going to Houston twice."

I can't quite tell from the link, which doesn't have much info yet, but it looks like this will be split between downtown and Rice University. There will be much of interest nearby to see and do, and best of all you'll be able to access a lot of it via the light rail line - if you take a shuttle to and from the hotel, you can get away with not having a car at all. Be advised, though, that temperatures may well be in the 90s at that time of year, so pack accordingly. Please feel free to drop me a note before you arrive if you'd like, I'd be more than happy to meet you for lunch or something - all this is near where I work and live.

I'd offer to get a beer with you, but I've gone on from Houston and Rice to grad school in California this year, so no luck. Make sure to check out the grad pub (Valhalla) when you're at Rice--interesting people and cheap beer.

Huh, I didn't even know that the Sigma Xi meeting *or* DAMOP were happening here, and I go to the University *of* Houston! The second maybe isn't surprising, since we don't seem to have an AMO group (though there is an interesting-sounding 'scattering' group), but the former is a lot more surprising, since there are a lot of student researchers and so on here (it seems every other physics major I know is doing research with *someone*). I suppose it's invitation-only?

I believe Charles has pretty much said that needs to be said about the Woodlands and Houston in general, so I don't have much to add there.

By truth is life (not verified) on 11 Oct 2009 #permalink