Monday, May 05, 2008

German Interlude

With apologies to those who don't speak German, here's my Ph.D. advisor Prof. Dr. Horst Stöcker (presently scientific director of the GSI) who demonstrates very nicely how to just ignore the interviewer and continue talking (in this case about black holes at the LHC and the GSI FAIR project)



Horst, I'm so proud! You didn't say anything utterly wrong! Just what you said about supersymmetry doesn't quite make sense.

But seriously, very nice interview, well done :-)

Stefan tells me the video was recorded last October at the Frankfurt book fair and was broadcasted yesterday evening on SAT1. The interviewer is Alexander Kluge. The above YouTube video is part 1 of 5 (you find link to the other parts on YouTube).

12 comments:

Bee said...

it just crossed my mind he might have meant to say 'superstringtheory' instead of 'supersymmetry', that would have made sense.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

With your Prof. Dr. Horst Stöcker’s ability to not allow the interviewer to get a word in edgewise did you experience the same difficulty when he was your
advisor? I would also be curious if he was present at your dissertation for then that truly could prove to be a problem :-)

By the way, even though I don’t sprechen Deutsch, Ich verstehen vieles von dem, was gesagt wurde, with all those words of science that are common within the languages.

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

No I didn't have any specific problem with my advisor. Yes, he was present during my defense if that's what you mean? As far as I can recall he was very well behaved ;-) I don't know what other people's experience is but the way I perceived it the defense after the years of PhD is more or less a formality anyhow. All the people at the department already know you, have had all their time to ask you anything they want to, and you've probably already given several seminars on the topic. What made me nervous were the experimentalists, because it isn't hard to ask me questions about detector characteristics or background subtraction that I can't answer (but they were all very nice). Best,

B.

Rhys said...

This is a real test of my very poor German! (But there were definitely some "kleine schwarze Löcher explodieren", and I think we only have to be scared "wenn ein schwarzes Loch schwer ist" ;-) )

I think you're right, Bee - it only seems to make sense if he meant superstrings, not supersymmetry.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“I don't know what other people's experience is but the way I perceived it the defense after the years of PhD is more or less a formality anyhow.”

Well as you can imagine I have no first hand experience. From the few I know that have been through it I would say it has somewhat to do with how provocative the concept your defending, as it relates to how mainstream it is. For instance, to defend a thesis related to string theory 25 years ago might have been the end of ones academic career, where today it would be considered almost ho hum. It would be interesting to see the reaction to Garrett Lisi’s concept if presented as a dissertation. What do you think, smooth sailing or direct passage back to the surf hut?

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Just as a P.S. to the above. As you are in Germany giving a talk on the false perceptions people have as to the dangers in regards to the LHC, Prof. Dr. Gerard t Hooft will be giving a PI public lecture entitled “Science Fiction & Reality”. Now I’m aware that Dr.t Hooft is Dutch and not German, yet it is interesting to note that both you and he, with you there and him here, will try to have people distinguish what is real from what is fantasy :-)

Best,

Phil

Chris Oakley said...

Sorry, but even with my limited German I can tell that what Stöcker is saying is mostly speculative hype - the kind of thing that Peter Woit has been justifiably complaining about for years. He would be better off telling the truth: all this will do is to marshall a few crazies who think that the LHC is going to destroy the universe.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Yes, and I'm really sorry I will miss t'Hooft's public lecture, but I didn't know that when I scheduled my talk. Are you going?

Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Yes I will be there (that is ruling out a freak snow storm). It seems we are destined to remain somewhat separated in terms of space time:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Chris, I think you better not criticise interviews if you don't speak the language. Horst didn't say anywhere the LHC is going to test string theory, so your accusation is completely unjustified. Best, B.

Chris Oakley said...


Chris, I think you better not criticise interviews if you don't speak the language. Horst didn't say anywhere the LHC is going to test string theory, so your accusation is completely unjustified.


Sure, but he did talk about the early universe and black holes ... all ammunition for the crazies.

Although it is highly likely that the early universe has some connection - if only because it was probably v. v. hot, with no usable quantum theory of gravity, does he really think it sensible to talk about black holes here?