Some neat science that I saw today:
- Buckley Prize talk by Jim Eisenstein, covering his work on liquid crystalline phenomena in high Landau levels of 2d electron systems, and his work on exciton superfluidity in 2d electron bilayers. I want to get him to come to Rice for a Keck seminar or physics colloquium this fall - the physics is really pretty.
- STM experiments by Mike Crommie's group at Berkeley looking at optically induced isomerization switching of azobenzene molecules. Now I know why our own efforts in this direction met with some difficulties. The switching gets quenched in regular azobenzene when the molecule is physisorbed on Au(111). Functionalizing the molecules to weaken their coupling to the metal surface leads to some switching, though even then the cross-section seems to be very small - long exposure to lots of photons = switching of maybe 5% of the molecules.