Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Lara, putting on her shoes.
May 1st is a national holiday both in Sweden and in Germany. A good opportunity, I thought, to update you on our attempts at normal family life.

Lara and Gloria are now talking basically non-stop. Half of the time we have no idea what they are trying to say, the other half are refusals. Gloria literally wakes up in the morning yelling "Nein-nein-nein". Saying it's difficult to get her dressed, fed, and to daycare makes quantizing gravity sound like an easy task. Yesterday she insisted on going in her pajamas. Good mother that I am, I thought that was a brilliant idea.

Gloria is proud of her new hat.
Lara isn't quite as difficult as Gloria, but she is very easily distracted. If I ask her to get into the stroller, she'll first spend five minutes inspecting the stones by the road or take off her shoes and put them back on, just because.Time clearly flows very differently when you're two years old than when you're forty. I try to use the occasions to check my email. Time flows through my iPhone, I'm sure it does.

We finally made progress on our daycare issue, which is presently only half a solution. A new daycare place opened in the area, and due to my time spent on the phone last year, asking people to please write down my name and call me back if the situation unexpectedly changes, somebody indeed recalled my name and we made it top of the list for the new place. So there'll be another adaption phase at another place, but this time it's a full-day care that will indeed cover our working hours. It is also, I should add, considerably less expensive than the present solution with a self-employed nanny. This, I hope, will make my commuting easier for Stefan to cope with.

I'm really excited about the workshop for science writers that I'm organizing with George. We now have an (almost) complete schedule, I've ordered food and drinks and sorted out the lab visit, and I'm very much looking forward to the meeting. Directly after this workshop, I'll attend another workshop in Munich, "Quantum Gravity in Perspective", where I'll be speaking about the phenomenology of quantum gravity. I have some more trips upcoming this summer, to Bielefeld and Aachen and, in fall, to Vienna to speak at a conference on "Emergent Quantum Mechanics."

I was invited to take part in this KITP workshop on black hole firewalls but I eventually decided not to go. Partly because I'm trying to keep my travels limited to not burden Stefan too much with the childcare. But primarily because I don't believe that anything insightful will come out of this debate. It seems to me there are more fruitful research topics to explore, and this discussion is a waste of time. I also never liked SoCal in late summer; too dry for my central-European genes.

Lara and Gloria, eating cookies at a visit to the zoo.

We'll be away for the next couple of days because Stefan's brother is getting married. This means a several-hours long road trip with two toddlers who don't want to sit still for a minute; we're all looking forward to it...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ms Lara is getting more and more similar to Bee every day...;-)

  3. Bee - I think the fires have an early start in Cali this year too. Good call.

  4. Hi Snowboarder,

    Yeah, when I think of SB in late August, what comes to my mind first is the view North from the mountains into the countryside, with the dry grass a meter high, square mile after square mile. It isn't hard to imagine what a single spark can do in this situation :/ Best,


  5. I don't believe you Sabine...

    You are invited to one of the top institutes in US to participate in a workshop about the hottest topic in theoretical physics these days, and you decline??

    Important people will notice you there and this would be benefit your career for sure. You should reconsider; I'm telling you this as a friend:-)

    Unless you think you belong to a certain camp and the firewall business is an illusion of the people belonging to ST camp.

    If this is the case I disagree; physics is one discipline and there are no camps.

  6. Hi Giotis,

    I find it interesting you don't believe me for two reasons.

    First, you evidently think the reasons you name matter more to me than the reasons I listed in my post above. Let me rephrase it this way: I don't like to waste my time, and I don't believe this discussion is going to lead to progress on the issue of quantum gravity, so why should I spend more time on it than I already have? It's a criticism on a solution to the information loss problem (bh complementarity) that I never believed in to begin with. I am primarily interested in the topic because I think the issue they pointed out tells us something new about the breakdown of the semi-classical approximation if dealing with a heavily entangled state, but then I'm in the business of phenomenology and that interest is rather peripheral.

    Second, it is interesting that you evidently believe I would publicly lie.

    Besides this, I didn't actually decline, I just didn't reply to the invitation. (To my shame, after I previously expressed interest. But then, I am very sure they'll have absolutely no problem to fill seats in the room.)



  7. I didn't say you are lying!

    "I don't believe you" is an oral expression meaning I find it very strange that you didn't accept.

    Sorry it 'sounded' like this but I guess these are the shortcomings of written language...

  8. Ok, sorry for the misunderstanding. Best,



COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG ARE PERMANENTLY CLOSED. You can join the discussion on Patreon.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.