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Kavli Newsletter

has appeared in press today. This is an initiative of Cees Dekker and I think a nice one, at least the first issue is quite interesting. You can find it here.

Here is my column for the newsletter:

For a sufficiently deep physicist, time is
both relative and irrelevant. This is why
only recently I came to a new insight: neither Cees Dekker, nor me, nor Leo Kouwenhoven are just-started faculties. Even
Herre van der Zant has accomplished
his studies a while ago. The marvelous
and heretic scientific developments that
energized our early careers became a
commonplace. They have formed well-established fields, that have already
traditions, rituals, known pathways and
no-trespassing signs that indicate the subfields. They wrote about our research:
“New times ahead”. Now they’d write:
“New times long past”. Fortunately, we
have enough influence to prevent this.

The immediate reason for the new insight were new appointments made in
2010. Finally, new faces! Really new:
for a change, they are not our students
and postdocs and KNAW/NWO fellows (well, almost). From bio side, there
are Bertus Beaumont, Christtophe Danelon, David Grunwald (Sorry Sander, for
me your face doesn’t count new). From
quantum side, those are Leo DiCarlo,
Gary Steele, Sander Otte. This is a real
change of guard, the whole new generation to shape the future of our Kavli
Institute. Frankly and strictly personally,
I’d love to see you more frequently:
some I’ve seen only once. Yet this does
not count, I understand how busy you
are setting up your environment. What
does count is the long-awaited novelty
you bring, and the hope that your active research will make your novel fields
outdated as fast as ours did.

Since I was a starting faculty only yesterday, would you mind a piece of advice
(sure you need one).
a. In the course of my first year, I got a
new surprise every day. Once that
was a pleasant one.
b. Shortly after I started, they announced
budget and job cuts. (Does this sound
a history? Then it repeats itself). The
natural and just law: “last in, first
out” was not applied to me only because somebody said: “over my dead
body”. Always have somebody (disposable) around.
c. If confronted with a (scientific) no-trespassing sign, just go ahead. Yes, they
will shoot. Yet your little sacrifice will
advance science as whole.
d. If not satisfied with your working
conditions (no separate room, no
promotion rights, closed toilets, etc.),
fight for those and unite for fight. Annoy your colleague to make her/him
equally unsatisfied. Friends are nice,
allies are important.
Welcome from the deep of my heart!

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