Monday, June 25, 2007

A Physics Field Trip

Maybe it’s just me but I’d be a tad cautious about attending any conference in Iran right now, no matter how long in advance the meeting room has been reserved.

Beloit prof takes top U.S. physics students to Iran: At a time when the international community has heightened sensitivity to the work of Iranian physicists, more than 350 of the brightest young physics minds from 80 countries around the world will gather in Isfahan, Iran, in mid-July to compete in the 2007 International Physics Olympiad.

When they're not competing, students have plenty of time to look around -- with constant supervision. Each international team is assigned an Iranian host who will be responsible for guiding them everywhere from breakfast to touring local museums or mosques. "The fact that we have a female on our team probably means we'll have two hosts, a male and a female, to look after the team," Stanley said. "The students will be expected to follow their hosts like sheep."

Like sheep? I’d be worried my presence would have data distorting quantum effects on their ongoing experiment to measure how much force is needed to crush resistance into inert mass. Networking opportunities are nice and all, but if I was a bright young physicist I’d be teleconferencing this meeting so as not to disrupt my personal observational research at Miller Park.