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Posted in May 2010

Chekhov’s jubilee

is not a jubilee of Anton Chekhov, as it may seem, though, to add to the confusion, his 150th jubilee is celebrated this year. This is a short play, a strange comedy written with almost mathematical elegance. It is considered by many as a forerunner of XXth century Theatre of Absurd.
Me and four my friends have performed this play today in a local community center. It was in Russian and collected corresponding audience, and as I told has been a sucsess. It is my first experience in actual performing, not counting 30 years of staging a scientist and 15 years of mimicking a teacher. I liked that, perhaps I find there something that I cannot find in the research. Namely: immediate result…

Anniversary of graduation

is hardly celebrated, have you ever even remembered that, dear reader?

Yet I’m proud to belong to a small community where this anniversary does matter. I graduated from Moscow Physical-Technical Institute and in my first years I’ve been specializing in experimental physics of elementary particles. Though I changed this towards the end of the course, I still kept the links with old friends. On May 29th, 1982 we had a marvelous deep-night picnic celebrating the graduation. That outing was so sucsessful that it would be a sin not to repeat it in a year, and then in a year, so it became a tradition that helps us to bear the rush of years…

My friends have been scattered over the world, some in US,  some in RU, and some in a micro-state called CERN that borders France and Switzerland. The celebration still goes on, tough this year at Swiss site only. I wish I could be present: these memories are sweet.



Departure Raoul Bino

Our dean Raoul Bino leaves his post from June 1. He was executing the function for nine full months.

There are traditions everywhere, there are traditions in Delft. It comes frequently that people are so immersed in a tradition as to regard it as a law of Nature. I’ve seen many deans in Delft, and for many I know from personal experience that they are gentle, intellectual and compassionary beings. Yet everybody, while in function, found it appropriate to wear a sort of ritual mask, a kind of Europeans buy for an African ritual mask, you know, that with frightening features and long sharp teeth. I never saw Raoul Bino wearing this mask, though in the course of his deanship he had to make tough decisions. I liked this fact and hoped he’d stay longer with us.

Fare well, Raoul, full suscess with managing Agro- and Food Sciences, we know you’ll do it well.


finally, all controversies have been resolved, and we could come together praying of sending Holy Spirit to us. What a joy! What a wonderful feast! I feel like a kid rejoycing. Happy Birthday,the whole Church of our Savior! As it’s been said: whatever high the separation walls between the Christians may seem, they do not reach the Heaven. Let us enjoy the day, all followers of God who makes wonders. Let us hope that we witness these wonders, that they become a part of our life, and will bring us to Christ like wings propelled by fresh wind.
Glory to God.

AQM book: magnet gets magnons

As mentioned, Jeroen Danon and me are writting a book on Advanced Quantum Mechanics. We are expanding and elaborating exsisting lecture notes, making it more complete and interesting.

There was a lecture on magnets introducing many-body trial wave function and spontaneous symmetry breaking. Some time ago we got an idea to add magnons to this Chapter thereby introducing Goldstone boson idea, a bit of gauge techniques and random phase approximation. It looked like two-day job, but it took most of my working time for the last two weeks. This included refreshing master-level physics I happened to need, and analythical and numerical evaluation of magnon spectrum: something I always wanted to do but never dared to. 

Despite a huge time loss, I enjoyed the activity, perhaps even more than the "real" research. 

Top 100 scientists 2010

yes, here am I, in this prestigiuos list, perhaps just opening it. Finally noticed by International Bibliographical Centre. Very good for my career.

The only detail is that this is a so-called phony award, I’d pay for silver medal "designed by regalia-makers to the World’s Monarchies" and certificate (and I won’t), and the distinction will not be made public. Some people are upset while receiving such spam. However, others proudly include those in their CV’s along with real awards. That’s wise because everything is vanity.  


Maple 13

There are no bad programs: there are silly users. This is what I’ve learned in hard and harsh way in course of my research life. I could tell many entertaining stories about, starting form my first computer experience in 1974 (when, listen to grandaddy, the computers looked very-very different) but I rather skip it in favour of that of yesterday.

Learning never ends, you know. One could hypothesize that if you (or your institution) pays heaps of euros for a well-established prog advertised as indispensible tool for learning math, the requirements on user intellegence/awarness might be somehow relaxed in comparison with, say, open source solutions. In order to check, I installed Maple 13 yesterday and made a couple of  checks. The image above represents the result of the second one.

For non-experts: the integral to take is one of the simplest possible, and the answer is good except the overall sign. Vividly imagine a bridge desinged with the aid of Maple sofware …

And silly me: of course I would make a better time investment if I computed the integrals by hand. There are no bad programs!  

Once again about disentangling

That product of experimetal-theoretical collaboration (see did not make it to Phys. Rev. Lett. as intended. The referees somehow doubted our priority: there was a similar experiment that, in distinction from ours, was not at all understood. So the manuscript went to Phys. Rev. B as a Rapid Communication.

Today I’ve learned they’ve chosen it as Editor’s suggestion kind of appreciating its greatness. 

WWII song

I should have posted this 5 days ago when me and my mother observed Russian V-day which is simultaneously remembrance day of all perished during WWII. Mother remembers the time vividly. I was also born early enough to hear and learn about WWII from my folks who took part in, and from books and movies which were plenty till, say, 1975. To some extent, my feelings about WWII are personal coming from intense impressions of my childhood, like stories about my relatives who did not make it through.

Among other activities, we listen to WWII songs, mostly scrolling youtube. Bad thing about Russian culture is that good songs are somber, and best songs really intend to crash your emotions to complete misery (very mush like Portugese ones do). So after some time we started to look for something merrier. I recalled one American song translated and promoted in Russia by a celebrated jazz-man of the time. Here it goes

One of our planes was missing 
Two hours overdue, 
One of our planes was missing 
With all it’s gallant crew, 
The radio sets were humming, 
They waited for a word, 
Then a voice broke through the humming 
And this is what they heard: 

Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer, 
Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer, 
Though there’s one motor gone 
We can still carry on, 
Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer. 

What a show! What a fight! 
Yes, we really hit our target for tonight! 

How we sing as we limp through the air, 
Look below, there’s our field over there, 
With our full crew aboard 
And our trust in the Lord 

We’re comin’ in on a wing and a prayer. 

 You can listen to it at



is today, a great feast in all Christian churches.

I never manage to understand the time-line of the events, neither with my ratio nor with my heart, perhaps just because never manage to live this period properly, with persistent memory of Christ. For me, it’d be natural if Pentecost and Ascension happen in the same day. I experience the ten-day pause as a period of confusion. Where is He and where am I? I’m here and He must be everywhere, so why do I see him leaving me?

"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?"

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