Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Classic pix: spot the murderer

More pictures from before this blog got started, back in 2005.

2005: Even then the author tried his family's patience

How am I getting on with my Christmas present, "Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur"? Thanks for asking. You see, QFT is like a big jigsaw puzzle where each of the pieces is itself pretty incomprehensible. You spend a long time delving into Lagrangians (that's a piece of the puzzle), quantum simple harmonic oscillators (another piece), calculus of variations and the Euler-Lagrange equation (another), and so on, without much sense of overall direction.

Gradually, the individual pieces themselves begin to make sense (you grasp enough of the trees to see the local wood) .. and with enough pieces under your belt, you can begin to assemble them to get a picture of QFT as an entirety. (Also see this interesting piece from Sean Carroll).

You see why the big picture of quantum field theory is so inaccessible. I'm about a third of the way through the book, currently looking at quantum (operator-valued) fields. It would be a pretty special amateur to get through the whole of this book, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, Clare is preparing a new hat for me, to update the one in the picture above. Seems to feature the letter 'D' ...


2004: working on a contract with Samsung

I was assigned to help Samsung with their bid into BT's 21st Century Network (their transition to a multi-media IP network). My task was to help them both with understanding BT's idiosyncratic ways and with the phrasing of the English response-text. As usual, on the last day we pulled an all-nighter. Young Samsung engineers were out for the count, lying on desks and flopped over chairs. I was busy till dawn when the Samsung VP approached me in surprise. "We were told that all you westerners were decadent; that you all went home at 5.30 at night. We were the ones who worked till we dropped!"

It was clear that that Samsung executive had never worked in consulting - nor experienced a Western corporate bid team in action!

One is en vacances, the other is an author with a penchant for murder (2004)

Click on the image to probe further ...

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