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Thursday, May 14, 2009

anchors across the sea

Trying to make a home, or at least imagine a home while working at BNL is challenging.
Firstly, there is Long Island itself, which is not an easy place to live for a Californian.
Some of it seems cultural, some is the landscape, some simply the lack of time and the feedback loop of too much work and lack of engagement.
Another aspect is the transiency of the people I meet in similar situations as me. The graduate students and postdocs are often only there for a few years and either plan to go back to where they came from, or on to somewhere else beyond BNL. Many are from across the Atlantic. This is a difficult situation. Its not that I don't want to travel to Europe, and can imagine living in Europe, but there is still a gap. If I were to live in Europe, it would be a jump. And my approach seems to be to continue moving in some direction. I feel like I need to consolidate rather than expand. So I make friends with those with anchors elsewhere, and I'm pulled. At the same time I search for grounding in this sandy land, and it seems rather inhospitable. And somehow, I feel that there is still something to learn, connections to be made before moving on.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

commissioning a machine

For complex machinery such as a synchrotron light source, one of the major considerations is the commissioning process. This is the process where all of the diagnostics need to be turned on and calibrated and the machine is tested component by component. This is what the LHC is going through right now, and what its recent problems relate to.
I keep trying to avoid some realities about this field I am in. One is the size and complexity of the machines. In order to come to terms with this, I have to come to terms with the commissioning process. I suppose the basic idea is to do it step by step. First you commission the linac and get the electrons looking good there. Then you inject into the booster and see if you can ramp it up to high enough energy. Then you inject into the storage ring, turning on your BPM's and trying to get a good orbit.
Somehow this seems so engineering oriented, I want to run away from the whole thing. I guess the problem for me is the stress level involved. I worry that there aren't enough people, and it will just turn into a mess. It also sounds like the end of research for me. The process also seems backwards, in that I'm building something without really knowing how it works first.
For practice, looks like I may be able to be involved with/observe the PETRA III commissioning.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Conference goals

1) get papers in proceedings and present posters
2) find out directions that field is going
3) get myself some job offers or leads on jobs
4) meet other theorists in this field and see what they are doing and
how they make it.
5) See what universities hire accelerator physicists and what the
options are.
6) Find out whether anyone has done the same thing on this non-linear dynamics problem.
Explain it to people.
7) Tell people who I am- get to be better known in this field.
8) Talk about wiki and openness in field.