Alumni Magazines in Economic Bad Times

As an alumnus of the California Institute of Technology (thats “Caltech” not “CalTech” peoples!) and a member of the Caltech alumni association, I get a quarterly copy of Engineering and Science (E&S). In this month’s issue there is a letter from the editor concerning the future of the print version of Engineering and Science. It seems that, like much print media today, this esteemed publication’s print edition may go the way of the dodo.
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Back to Caltech, Back to Unreality

Dum, dum, dum, DUM DUM

No, it’s not the monolith from 2001, but instead Millikan library at Caltech which I’m visiting. If you’re ever around Caltech on Halloween, be sure to check out the pumpkin drop where frozen pumpkins are dropped off this gigantic monolith. I thought I saw a blue spark…
Always a bit strange going back to the place where you spent seven plus years of your life. Especially when it’s a place like Caltech, I suppose.

The Bar Scene

Someone at Caltech’s PR office sure was having fun:

Caltech Astronomers Describe the Bar Scene at the Beginning of the Universe
PASADENA, Calif.–Bars abound in spiral galaxies today, but this was not always the case. A group of 16 astronomers, led by Kartik Sheth of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, has found that bars tripled in number over the past seven billion years, indicating that spiral galaxies evolve in shape.

Oh, I can tell you all about the bar scene near Caltech. Dive bar: The Colorado. Beer for graduate students: Lucky Baldwin’s. Quantum margarita night: Amigos. Quantum beer night: drive five hours north to Albatross in Berkeley, CA.

Quantum Hoops

Last night I got a chance to go see Quantum Hoops which is playing at the Landmark Metro in Seattle for a limited time. For those who haven’t heard of this movie, “Quantum Hoops” is a documentary about the Caltech basketball team, which currently owns the longest losing streak without a conference win in NCAA basketball (22 years.) The movie is narrated by David Duchovny, and, with the exception of an opening “old time cinema” introduction to Caltech, is actually quite enjoyable. Of course I’m biased. Not only did I go to Caltech as an undergrad (and returned as a postdoc) and thus knew some of the people in the film (“Gillllbeaaar!”), but my grandfather went to Caltech, graduating in 1934, where he played on championship football teams while at Caltech.
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A Many Worlds Puzzle of a Different Kind

Fortune has put out its list of the top 100 companies to work for. The Google Monster is number one. Washington state does pretty good, as it is in a tie for fourth in the total number of companies on the list with headquarters in the state. (Per capita it comes in third, losing to Delaware and D.C.)
Looking through their article on “10 fascinating Googlers” I found Wei-Hwa Huang. Hey, he was in my class at Caltech! Indeed Wei-Hwa was responsible for one of my favorite stories about the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory. Huh?
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