Anyway, after nearly a week spent in Paris, we took the train through the Chunnel from Paris to London. There I gave my talk to the physics group at King's College, London, which went quite well. We also got a chance to see some good friends from New York that had moved to London, who we hadn't seen in ages. That was really nice. We did a few things around town, including going to the British Museum (which is far and away the coolest museum I've ever been to) and walking around Soho and Chelsea and what-have-you. At some point, we took a train to Wales, where I gave a talk at Swansea University. Also went reasonably well. I can't say that Swansea was the most exciting town, though the people were friendly. Kristen felt right at home, too - apparently Swansea is bizarrely similar to the Bronx. No Italian food, though.
Now we're back in SA, finally having finished this month-long trip. It was totally exhausting, emotionally and physically, but overall I think it went really well. Highlights?
- The winter school at CERN was really nice - I was especially impressed with the series of lectures given by Samir Mathur on black holes in string theory. Here's a link to his webpage, where he has a pdf giving an explanation and extensive list of questions regarding the topic. I really felt like it reaffirmed my hope for string theory as a physically interesting topic. There's been a lot of negative press lately, e.g., here and here, in the public media as well as with a lot of people in my department at UCT, and it's kind of gotten me down. I really felt like this work on black holes is so dramatic, it makes a significant case for string theory regardless of all the rest of the crap. I really want to give a series of seminars at UCT on the topic to give people a positive view of the subject at some point. If I do, maybe I'll give a summary here.
- The visit to University of Amsterdam was really nice. The department is really a pleasure, the people are really nice, and I got some great feedback on my work there (which has significantly improved the research).
- Paris was certainly the largest highlight. See previous blog entry.