It's been a busy week. On Monday I gave a colloquium at Pomona College, and visited both there and Harvey Mudd. It's great to see the quality of physics instruction and student research at these extremely good undergraduate institutions. Thanks to my host, optics guru Alfred Kwok, and the other faculty with whom I met, nano-CM expert and department chair David Tanenbaum; Dwight Whittaker, who taught me about the fascinating biomechanics of exploding plants (!); and Alma Zook, who described their 1 meter telescope. At Harvey Mudd, it was fun to visit and talk plasmonics with Peter Saeta and to meet John Townsend, the author of two books used in Rice's undergrad curriculum.
Then on Tuesday I gave a physical chemistry seminar at UCSD, hosted by Misha Galperin. Good conversations with Francesco Paesani and John Weare about various computational challenges, and Michael Tauber taught me about pump-probe Raman spectroscopy to understand the dynamics of charge and spin in carotenoids. Then it was on to the physicists, visiting with Max Di Ventra, Dimitri Basov, and Ivan Schuller. Whew! A great visit.
Finally, at the very end of the week, I came to Boston to hit one day of the AAAS meeting, where I got a chance to hear a talk by Susan Hockfield, who spoke about the essential role of government investment in basic research. I also got to hear a talk about geoneutrinos and a lecture by Silvan Schweber about Hans Bethe. Good stuff.