Archive for the ‘Santa Barbara’ Category

University of California, Santa Barbara
Tenure-Track Faculty Position
Theoretical High Energy Physics
Job #JPF00230

The Physics Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara, is seeking candidates for a tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant Professor level in theoretical high energy physics, or theoretical astrophysics, with an appointment to start in Fall of 2014. We are particularly interested in candidates with interests in the phenomenological areas of particle physics and related areas of astrophysics and cosmology. The ideal candidate will benefit from interactions with the strong existing groups in high energy theory and experiment, as well as the presence of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Candidates are expected to have a Ph.D. in physics or a closely related field, and will teach a range of courses in the physics department. Applicants must send a statement of research interests, a curriculum vitae, and a list of publications, and should arrange for at least three letters of recommendation. All application materials should be submitted via UC Recruit: https://recruit.ap.ucsb.edu

Applications will be considered starting November 20, 2013 and will be accepted until the position is filled.

The department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching and service. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer.

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It’s always nice to celebrate when classes are over for the quarter. But the spring quarter is special. When it is over it gives me a change of perspective and I can look forward to more free time to do research for the summer. The change also signals that most committee work is also on hold until the fall.

Just to celebrate I have added a picture of the beach below. This picture was taken recently from my phone at a beach.

Picture of the beach


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-Happy new year!

-Wait, it’s January 23rd, – you’re going to say – aren’t you a bit late?

-Sure, I’m late. So?



Well, that’s one more imaginary conversation with the audience of this blog. You might wonder if I disappeared from the face of the earth. As you can see, I’m still alive and the radio silence is over. I took a holiday break after my sabbatical quarter in the fall, and when I came back there was a tsunami of paperwork and stuff I didn’t have to care about in the fall waiting for me. The mountain of accumulated stuff pounced onto any available time that I had to do anything and it played with me like a kitty plays with its food before eating it.

Needless to say, my research and any reasonable activity took a hit. Which made me even  persevere more in keeping my weekends free from work or any activity that could be construed as being even remotely related to work.

I’m finally getting caught up with this stuff so things will hopefully go back to normal.


In the meantime I’m going to open this post as a suggestion for topics that I could cover in the near future. Just in case there is some nagging question out there that anyone might want to have answered and that I might know the answer to, or any discussion that people are waiting to have and have found n other forum.



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Well, the last few weeks have been busy. The quarter finished this week. My final was on Monday, the grading was finished on Tuesday and technical problems with submitting the grades remained until Wednesday.

In the meantime, the BP deep water horizon disaster keeps on getting worse and nobody knows when it’s going to get fixed.

I’m looking forward to a few days rest before I can go back to doing what I actually like to do: research. I’ve seen very little of that lately, with all the committees, meetings, exams, grading and whatnot. I’m also looking forward to start posting stuff here again.

Finally, the world cup starts tomorrow. I have to find a place to see some of the matches.

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Yesterday was a cause for great celebration in the physics department at UCSB. Gary Horowitz was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Of course, this is a great honor for UCSB, and we all think Gary is very deserving of such recognition.  Gary has been one of the champions of pushing towards understanding gravity in higher dimensions. His most cited paper was the one that introduced Calabi-Yau manifolds to superstrings. At the time it was thought that there were very few such objects. Now we know better.

He has done a lot of other stuff, much too much to mention.  Lately, he has been applying supergravity in higher dimensions to the study of superconductivity via various gauge/gravity dualities. He is great to have around and he is one of the nicest persons I know.

Apart from various rounds of clapping we also heard from some of the other members of the NAS that reside in the physics department  as to what the nomination entails. First, the members receive a bill for their dues to the academy. Secondly, they get a lot of extra e-mail (some might call it spam). Third, they get to sit on even more committees that do important stuff. They also get an extra line in their resume.

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Spring Break!

Spring break is finally here.

Ok, no real big news here. Final grades have been turned in for all classes and I can get a week of rest. I will comment some more on the issues of handing out grades and such in the future.

I’m also happy that the Health legislation vote passed and that we can look forward to a more modern health care system in the US.

Things to do this week:

  • Post a paper to the arxiv (it will appear tonight, so it’s done).
  • Finish the “First law trilogy” by Joe Abercrombie (I’m having a lot of fun reading this one).
  • Lots of hiking.
  • Ignore work from Tuesday until Friday: have a hectic Monday instead (in the process).
  • Write a blog post: this one.
  • Change the skin of my Firefox browser: done.

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Turning of the seasons

Time keeps on passing by. Right now, apples, pumpkins, squashes and persimmons are in season, amongst other vegetables and fruits. The fall weather has settled in nicely, and the usual seasonal events are happening. For example, this is the season when postdoctoral applications are made, and I find myself writing a lot of letters of recommendation. In over a month, I will be reading these applications with the rest of the folks here, to make decisions on who we are going to hire.

Imagine my surprise this week when going to a grocery store, they are already setting up their Christmas decorations. Isn’t it a bit early for that? I was hoping that they wold be setting up the `Turkey day’ decorations after Hallowe’en. This is not the only place. To me, it’s too early for the end of year Holiday decorations. Seems to me they want to rush the end of the year. Or maybe they have nothing to be thankful for.

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Yesterday night I attended a reception for the international scholars to UCSB. This was the first time that such a celebration took place in Santa Barbara, thanks to an anonymous donor. It was a lively event, and various important people from the UCSB campus showed up. I won’t bore you with the details.

Amongst the interesting facts that I collected yesterday, was that most international students in the US come to study in the science and technology fields, while very few people from the US go out to study and when they do, the statistic is mostly on humanities. I also found out that there are about 640000 students from abroad in US Universities, and that US Universities graduate about 30000 PhD’s annually.

Not surprisingly, current cuts in US University funding (especially state Universities) will hurt the efforts to get the best (graduate) students to the US, with the consequent deterioration of the pool of people with talent contributing to the US economy. An interesting article regarding this issue can be found here.

If you couple all of this progressive lack of investment by the states into the education system, the future starts looking pretty bad, not just for education, but for the US economy.

This year I am working on a University committee in charge of international education. So I have to learn quite a bit about this stuff.

Simple observation: if you lose loose the people from abroad (who are extremely good students), and you lose loose the local people (because they can not afford to go to school any longer), where is the human capital investment in the future development of technology going to come from?

Remember, modern economies depend on having the best and most innovative modern technology in order to compete. And, new ideas for technology come from people who know what the current technologies are, what they can do and how to make them. Ideas are not born from thin air.

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So far I have not blogged about something that has a lot of impact on my life. Especially on my bottom line. Turns out the University of California system has lost a lot of state financing (California is in quite a mess right now) and painful cuts are on their way. It is clear that the University will not come out unscathed from this incident. Although it will survive.

This finally made it to the main news media centers recently, as you can see from the New York Times article.  Bottom line is it seems I will be getting some furlough days: these are so to speak ‘unpaid vacation’. There is little point in complaining too much about it as the budget shortfalls will not evaporate by doing so. We are not allowed to take those furlough days when we teach, or when we grade, so I’m wondering what needs to be sacrificed in order not to work for free (or just plain less).

The simplest thing to do is to stop researching, but that is a bad idea: no research, no grants. No grants, no summer salary. I’m looking for creative ways to do what I do in less time so that I can make a point of taking those furlough days off somehow.

There is also the issue of what to do with the extra `free time’. I probably should take up consulting, but I’m not sure what or whom I would be consulting for. Or maybe I should take up writing a novel. I also thought of becoming entrepenurial and writting some apps for  iphones in the hope of winning the app lotery and getting rich quick. Additional days spent just surfing the internet and watching television is not that appealing to me. So if you have any ideas about what to do, please drop them in this post.

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Santa Barbara Fire

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, if you live in the Santa Barbara area you might have noticed the Jesusita fire. Many people I know have already been evacuated from their houses, and the view of the fire from my house last night was rather impressive. I was hiking in the affected areas just two weekends ago. When I was there, the grasses were tall and the brush was rather dry. With the very high winds and hot temperatures of the last two days, it is not surprising that the fire has been out of control. It is rather frightening how bad it is instead.

While I was surfing for information about it today I ended up in some Blog agregator site that sent me straight to a ‘you have a virus mock up scan’.

In the interest of depriving some of the traffic for those sites, I thought I would connect you to the official site for information:

The Santa Barbara city safety website

Another very useful place to collect information is the Santa Barbara Independent.

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