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Friday, January 11, 2008

ssc aftermath

I'm still interested in this question of how the fact that the SSC (see here or here) wasn't built influenced the future of accelerator physics. Check out this list of technical notes and imagine the amount of work contained, much of it quite painful. Would these people ever have been motivated to do this had they known that the thing wouldn't have been built? The tools and insights forged in the process were quite valuable, but the whole issue of credit and respect seems to have become particularly skewed as the motivations shifted. Just my somewhat outsiders perspective.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

with or without beauty

I look out the window at black tree lines against bluish pink still dark sky.
There are oppressive structures that ask for simplicity and say that beauty is too complex/extraneous. But then they yield their own complexities: piles and crumples and extraneous things. The good art and science of aesthetics has been so quiet, standing back so shyly.

Friday, January 04, 2008

forming a discipline

There is something horribly redundant about the way work gets done in my group.
People push forward, and then months later its as if nothing was learned. The same concepts are being reimplimented and explored in new computing/people contexts. At some point it might be useful to outline the geography of the infrastructure that causes this to happen. The problem is that results are needed. So people somehow cannot afford to be outwardly interested in infrastructure.

The problem for me is that on the one hand I am good at building infrastructure, but on the other, this is not openly respected.

So my research projects move forward at a snail's pace. But what else can I do? If I push too hard in any direction, I fear that the delicate fabric will break. I see this has happened to some people. They have pushed very hard and in the end form a sub-discipline of whom there is only one expert. Then they spend years scratching their heads (or perhaps shouting and tearing themselves apart in frustration) wondering why all these idiots don't learn these perfectly obvious things that they know.

Without a robust connection to the world of ideas (which typically requires the environments that a university can offer), a subject will remain fractured and inefficient.