Give me a break…

Posted: May 8, 2010 in General, Science

Friday I got to give group meeting. I spent an hour and a half talking with ridiculously smart people about science that I know nothing about. On the plus side, no one in the world really knows about it either, so that’s nice. Being on the cutting edge of science is nice. Being on the bleeding edge is scary. Moral of story: my group meeting went far better than I thought it would, and my boss wasn’t upset at all. He even smiled. I like it when my boss smiles.

I spend a great deal of time wondering if the things I’m working on are actually going to work. Quite often they don’t, and that can be frustrating, especially when your boss is reasonably famous in your field. On the plus side, this is one of the advantages of working in basic, rather than applied, research. I can spend time working on things which don’t pan out, and my boss doesn’t get terribly upset as long as I can explain WHY it doesn’t work. In basic research, a whole lot of ideas don’t pan out before one finally does. When working on applications, your job involves producing something that’s actually useful out of science which has been understood. I’ve never been good at producing useful things.

The point of this rant (is this a rant?) is that I’ve been working my tail off for the last month, and am finally “done” with the craziness. I’m not done with my projects by any means, but I’m currently not under deadline.

In other news, my partner’s nephew is in town for the weekend. Last night we had dinner and went to see Iron Man 2. I enjoyed the movie right up until the facepalm moment: science montage is going on, and Tony Stark uses a giant monkey wrench to change the path of a live laser beam to direct it to a target. Then the computer voice in the background emits the following words: “You’ve created a new element.”

FACE-FUCKING-PALM.

Science never, ever, works like that. EVER. I mean, yeah, I’m a theorist, but even I know that you don’t alter the path of a high energy laser beam (which I think was supposed to be the beamline from a particle accelerator, which was being leveled with a frakking hubcap, BTW) with a frakking monkey wrench. Oh well, at least it wasn’t The Core, and Scarlett Johannson was da bomb. But still, really bad science. Appallingly. Bad. I-can’t-believe-they-called-it-science.

The rest of the weekend, we’re going to go out and have fun. The plan is to show her nephew around the city, see cool stuff, eat good food, and in general have a vacation-type time. He’s on vacation, and we’re going to take it as an excuse to not work on the weekend, which we’ve been doing far too much of lately. So I know I’m only at about 500 words, but I’m going to end here and go out and enjoy the sunshine.


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