Friday, April 25, 2008

In the Greens

Now back in Dubai, but in an apartment in The Greens, about 10 minutes walk from the office.

In my two weeks back in the UK, I was able to immerse myself in Maxwell's equations and get my first Open University assignment completed (SMT359 - Electromagnetism). Now that I'm working 12 hour days with the client again, staying on track with course book two is as hard as ever.

I had a quick peek at the end of this particular unit, where it discusses electromagnetic theory and special relativity and introduces the electromagnetic tensor*. As with all good notations, there is a suggestion of a deeper reality lying behind the symmetries of the tensor. Unfortunately, the text stops there!

I'm working on a next-generation network design which conceptually stretches all the way from service-oriented architecture and IMS at the top through an IP/MPLS and fixed/wireless broadband network down to the fibre itself.

It occured to me that as I occupy the network middle ground, Maxwell's equations are defining the way the light transits the fibre (bottom of the stack) while cognitive and psychological sciences are defining the highest level of application functionality (smart application systems and users) at the top of the stack.

The difficulties of combining non-trivial physics with full-time consultancy has made me reflect a little on my plans for next year. I was going to do the quantum mechanics course, but without my full attention it might be smarter to take the less mathematical relativity course and postpone QM a couple of years to when I might be a little less busy.
*As is often the case, the Wikipedia article is too hard.