Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Don’t forget to remember what is important – The Holidays and Family Forget Politics Wikileaks, Korea, Dem Vs. Rep.

I want everyone to remember what is really important not just this time of year but every time of year. Family, friends, and loving your life whatever that life is. Enjoy what you have and never be jealous of what someone else may have that you don’t. I think that last one is what causes more problems in this country and around the world than anything else. Jealousy is just silly.

On that note I went to the mall with the wife and kid today for some obvious Christmas stuff. Such as pictures with SANTA!


Perspective on the world today from a World War II Era Woman

I was in downtown Boston over the weekend and had the chance to talk with a very long time resident.

When I say long time I really mean it in this case. She moved to Boston at age 20 during World War II!!

I asked her a lot of questions obviously but one of her answers sticks in my head. I asked her what she thought of the world today versus other periods in her life. Her answer was interesting and frightening: “It is far more dangerous.”

I of course had the immediate follow up of why do you think that…

Her answer was long so I am going to paraphrase but this is close….

Today we have North Korea, Iran and to a lessor extent China all being openly aggressive or in the case of China diplomatically aggressive. Her other concern was it took years for people like Hitler to come to power. In the modern day it can happen in months. From Junior Senator to President. (She nor I am saying President Obama is Hitler it is merely an example of rapid rise to power).

Now here is the other concern she had. Weapons and day to day tools are far more dangerous than they ever have been before. Airplanes flown into buildings can kill on the order of the same number of people as an organized attack by a large part of the Japanese Navy did at Pearl Harbor.

Here is her final concern: Celebrity Politicians have gotten worse. She cited John Kerry (to a lessor extent unless you are here in Boston), Hillary, Palin. Many to all of which are more concerned with their ‘brand’ so they can sell the next book than they are with world peace. She was very big on world peace and her dream that one day armies were unneeded (I’m sure all military members hope that day comes until then they proudly serve).

I have to say this was the most intersting and frightening random conversation I have had in a very long time.


One of those Career Moments – My meeting with a National Academy of Science Member

Every once in a while its nice in your career to have a good day. I recently experienced such a day.

I work relatively hard and although my business card says Systems Engineer I am a Physicist. That’s what I went to graduate school for, that’s what my Doctorial Degree is in, and that is what I claim as my real profession.

It is a challenging field that not a whole ton of people really understand. Sure everyone says oh Physics wow that’s hard, or that’s irrelevant, whatever the answer they give is usually there is some quick answer. I assure you physics is still relevant as an area of research. It is a field that can cause amazing differences in our everyday lives in ways most people don’t realize. This is usually true even after some researcher invents something that actually does change your life. The Physicst behind it is often the unsung hero. I’m fine with that.

Recently, however, it is tough to tell even if those I work for care or notice the contributions I attempt to make. Sometimes it is difficult to tell if other scientists even view the work you do as worthwhile. (Its a big field, lots of contibutors and worse lots of big mouths). But I had a meeting this week with a faculty member who is a member of the national academy of sciences. He is a guy who has been one of the early contributors to Photonic Crystals. If you aren’t sure what that is, it is one of those fields that can fundamentally alter our lives, trust me, its a big deal.

While in that meeting I asked for some career advice and he told me that the position I was considering while I found it interesting was far beneath me. He actually said that he viewed me as a peer and I’d be insane not to persue something greater than the position I was considering, in fact greater than the position I am in. I haven’t recieved such a compliment in a very long time and it has honestly renewed my interest in a some research I was starting to view as unimportant.

Just my comment for the day. If anyone finds this useful the lesson learned here is every once in a while its nice to sit down with someone and ask career advice. Someone you trust, someone you look up to. Very highly recommended activity once a year or so.

Marriage and funny moments

I am going to take a departure moment from my normal rants to give something funny, or at least thought provoking?  Ok I think its funny.

Marriage is a challenge, anyone married longer than 5 minutes past honeymoon can tell you that.  It is however, with the right partner, a very worthwhile challenge.  Throw in a child and the challenges are different but very worthwhile.

That being said there are still moments of miscommunication that to me are sometimes frustrating but if you look at them from a bit back from the immediate situation are just funny.

Let me give you an example.  My wife will be the first to tell you I am stubborn, but I contend she is also and neither of us will back down.

I have some hearing loss in both ears, long story involving the army when I was on active duty, enclosed spaces, a rifle and no hearing protection.  Almost every day when I get home first my wife gets home to find me watching TV.  Immediately says, why is it so loud and turns it down below where I can really hear it.  Then proceeds to speak loudly.

Now the funny part if you look at it from afar.  If I wouldn’t be stubborn and would get hearing aids (which I probably need) this wouldn’t be a problem.  If she would understand that I can’t hear it at the volume she really likes it wouldn’t happen.

From a daily thing I think we both get a little stressed out about it but if you step back, here we are in our 30s having arguments I heard my grandparents have.  I for one think its kinda funny.  Not sure why I see the humor but I do.

My family

Christmas photo

The family

The science guy does indeed have a family.  That is me, the wife, and the son just before Christmas.  He grows pretty fast so he’s about twice that size now but this was a ‘wife approved’ photo for public release.  (Ok she didn’t think this was a great one but she says that about virtually all of her photos).  I like this one so its going up there.

She puts up with a lot being married to a scientist but she is a Chemical Engineer so I think that goes both ways just a little bit 😉  Love you honey!!!