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Posted in February 2012

Let it be

This is what is read in the church today: (Isaiah 2:4)
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

The message is clear: at least at the surface level. Make love no war. A detail: let’s beat the swords into plowshares was one of the heavily-used slogans of leftish peace movements in the second half of twentieth century. Being mostly atheistic, they never gave ref to the source. I know for a fact that many people of my cultural background regard the phrase as a stamp of communistic propaganda being unaware of its true origin.

Forgiveness Sunday 2012

Forgiveness Sunday, the gate to Great Lent, has taken place today. I have previously described the rite here
and here, I do not want to repeat myself since it went the same way. You can also see this here.

This time many people I love are ill or hit otherwise with no apparent reason, and/or unhappy. I feel confused and anxious. I shall pray.

Please forgive me my wrogdoings, dear reader.

Another Jubilee perfomance

There has been yet another pleasant diversion of usual course of my life. Our small amateur theatre collective has performed in Amsterdam today. This was in coffie-room of our parish. We did our usual hit Jubilee and scenes from An Ordinary Miracle by Evgeny Shvarts. The church is old and well-built, this means good acoustics not only in the hull but also in the coffie-room. Actually, we were first scared by our voices…

There was a warm reception with snacks afwerwards. It is pancake time now, last days before the Great Lent.

Third Lecture Quantum Transport 2012

has hardly started yet, I have shown only 3-4 transparencies of this. The audience this year is very much listening, and posing interesting questions. I still have to learn how to respond to this without ruining the time schedule.

To give an example: we have been talking about the Aharonov-Bohm effect, quantum interference of an electron about a magnetic coil. That provoked a question: “Is the interference affected by the measurement of magnetic field in the coil?”. This is a splendid question that reflects most of physics like a water droplet reflects most of the Universe. I enjoyed answering, yet 20 minutes have gone…

Third Lecture Advanced Statistical Mechanics 2012

This was more or less ok. The topic was important, this was the core of the course. We have discussed how to build up statististical mechanics, and this really resembled discussion. So we moved forward rather slowly. I have shown only the first two transparencies of the third lecture.

I was exhausted close to the end and began to mix up plus and minus signs. Need to take vitamines…

Crux Delft 2012

I have attended today the meeting of christian scientists of our University, something I did not do for a while. Well, the time of Great Lent is approaching, this is perhaps why.

There was very interesting and enthousiastic presentation of Martine van Veelen. She is busy with organazing science, and also is a program director of ForumC, a forum for science, faith and society.

She presented the results of a questionaire organized by Forum C. About 2000 Dutch profs have been asked about their beliefs, this has produced a set of interesting numbers. We have mostly discussed two of them: 44% of Dutch profs are atheists, 20% treat the colleagues who show their faith “less seriously”.

Anton Akhmerov

has been visiting the department today. Guess it’s been quite a preparation for him since he conquered many hearts of our faculty. His talk was prepared in a color scheme that I by the lack of experience regarded as gothic: However, the students have corrected me.

Anton combines intellegence and ambition with a great deal of flexibility and does not drink alcohol. I foresee splendid future for him.

Second Lecture Quantum Transport 2012

It is so that I still enjoy the audience which is unusually interactive and motivates me to explain more, perhaps even going lower than their level. It also creates time problem. So far we’ve done 1.5 lectures. No way I can catch up next time since the third lecture is overloaded with the material. Not sure what to do, perhaps I need an extra lecture this year.

However, I think it is the first time I could explain the details of Levitov formula. An achievement…

Second Lecture Advanced Statistical Mechanics 2012

To start with, I was pleasantly surprized with a number of students attending. It was the same as at the first lecture. I think I did not manage to explain last time how difficult the course is.

We went through the rest of thermodynamics rather quickly: even I had to make a break five minutes ahead of time. I got a resonable feedback. I was caught with minus sign and my unability to make a distinction between the work extracted from the system and put into the system. Otherwise, the presentation of thermodynamic potentials was better than a year ago.

Second half was the intro into probability. I guess my introductory story was too much aside the subject and was difficult to follow. I must devise something better. It was also long, so I had a time problem in the end and could not talk about Lagrange multipliers. Pity, I will have to do them next time without much preparation.

First lecture Fairy Tales 2012

has also happened today. In addition to this, there was a long real-time bureaucratic meeting and an organizational skype meeting, that made my day complete.

The interaction with the audience was somehow similar to that during the first lecture of quantum transport, and, being rather unprepared for, I’ve found a physical overlap between the audiences. It did not happen last year, if I recall correctly. So I went slow, did not say anything about inverse scattering matrix technology (could do this for sine-Gordon), yet we’ve explicitly done all simple variations of the Lagrangian: was nice.

It’s inspiring that there is still a group of students sufficiently charmed by theoretical physics.

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