Monday, June 25, 2007

Loops'07 in Morelia

The conference Loops'07 takes place this week in Morelia, Mexico.

The Colegio de San Nicolás in Morelia, where the Loops'07 takes place this week.
(Credits: Wikipedia)

Well, I can't tell you much more than what you can read on the web page. Bee could, as she has just arrived there, after a neat 36 hour trip (I guess she has wasted at least one week sitting around in airports and train stations over the last month or so...). But there seems to be no stable Internet connection at the conference venue, or at the hotel where she stays.

So, we will have to be a little patient to hear first-hand accounts about the latest news in "Foundational questions of quantum gravity, Loop quantum gravity, Spin foam models, Dynamical triangulations, Causal sets, String theory, Cosmology related to quantum gravity, Phenomenology of quantum gravity" (topics from the conference web page) - and the same for photos with loopy physicists in Mexico ;-)

Update: here is a short first report by Bee sent via BlackBerry (June 26, 2007 8:26:10 PM GMT+02:00):

Morelia is a charming city, though quite noisy, and it's hard to get around with my Spanish skills or rather absense thereof (my Spanish is even worse than my Italian and Polish). The trip (air france, Frankfurt-Paris-Mexico City-Morelia) was somewhat annoying. My-stupid-bag remained in Paris, the transatlantic flight was delayed and so I missed the onward flight. Since it turned out to have been the last flight to Morelia that evening I had to spend a very mediocre night in Mexico City, and arrived in Morelia yesterday morning just in time for the first talk. (The hotel people then insisted I had no reservation, and my bag still hasn't reappeared - so much about the joys of travelling).

The conference is very interesting so far. It is my first time at the Loops and since I'm new in the community I'm somewhat nervous about my talk on Friday. The topics are very diverse, ranging from foundations of quantum mechanics over loop quantum gravity to semiclassical quantum field theory in curved backgrounds etc. The Strings 07 is also this week in Madrid, so its unsurprising that there isn't much stringy stuff around here (e.g. I haven't seen any ducks, just chickens).

Being the phenomenologist I of course find the phenomenology somewhat underrepresented - the Trieste workshop was much better balanced for my interests.

I've meet a lot of people here in Morelia I only knew by email so far, and my hair is standing upright - not only because I couldn't comb it for several days but because the atmosphere is very stimulating - there are so many interesting aspects I only begin to understand... (Plus the absence of a wireless significantly increases my attention span, I'll have to think about this...)

My name-tag says International Conference on Quantum Gravity and I can't avoid but think this is what I've always wanted to work on, and that I am very happy to be part of it - baggage or no baggage.

Rumors reached me that the hotel across the street from mine has internet access, so I'll try to check the arxiv in the evening...

Sent from a researcher in motion


  1. 36 hours...! I estimated that she had about a 24 hour trip ahead of her, so I was way wrong, obviously. And with a 9 hour time difference, she must be exhausted.

  2. Stafen, tell Bee to settle down for a few days, perhaps rest of week, while you take over blog. Her schedule may be a bit overwhelming ...

  3. Plus the absence of a wireless significantly increases my attention span, I'll have to think about this...

    Quick, get back to the grid so that you can't think :)

  4. Dear Amara:

    It took me some while to figure it out, but the time difference is actually only 7 hours (so I think, not completely sure though). But admittedly I've been completely destroyed the first two days. Then someone told me the altitude of Morelia is above 2,500 m! Multiply that with the permanent smog in the streets of the town from all the old VW beetles, and me recovering from a cold, and you get me gasping for air with every step. Feel like my own grandmother (the one who died last year). Today I feel somewhat better though (i.e. like to other grandmother who's like 90 or so).

    Dear Anonymous:

    I generally don't listen to anonymous advises... But right now I am settling involuntarily, there's literally nothing one can do in this place except sitting in Cafes or risking being run over on the street.

    Dear Arun:

    It's not that I don't think... it's rather what I think about. I.e. without a wireless I think about the haircut of the guy in front of me (just kidding). But I actually appreciate a wireless during talks because I like to look up some papers by the speaker. Sometimes it really helps to get the point.

    As you see, I've managed to find a wireless that is sufficiently stable...



  5. Dear Bee: If the city lights are not too bright, and since you are at 2500m, then maybe your night sky is somewhat dark? The planets are pretty in the evening now. Saturn and Venus are close together in the west close to sunset near Regulus in Leo. And Jupiter in the south at nightfall is extremely bright (-2.5mag).

    I am curious how many days you are without your luggage in Morelia compared to the days you were without it in Frascati. (comparing airport service...)

    I think Mexico still has a VW factory making Beetles. I remember a large number of Beetle taxis when I visited ten years ago. As a former Beetle owner (two), it made my heart warm to see them.

  6. Since the stupid-bag is so often getting lost, you need an intelligent bag.

    Or, if travelling to places less expensive than your home country: Discard all items of clothing and paraphernalia that don't fit into your cabin luggage, buy new ones at the destination and charge to expenses.

    Actually, I love travelling West, since for once in life it leads to me getting up before almost everyone else. Usually I spend the time in the swimming pool...

  7. Dear All:

    I am very happy to report that my-stupid-bag is reunited with me, contents scrambled upside down and inside out - I believe customs must have found my candy and gummy bear supply looked somewhat funny on the x-ray.

    Dear Amara: Unfortunately it's the rain season here and cloudy most of the time. It's even rather chilly, even though in the some minutes when sun breaks through I notice how far South I am. Yes, I too like beetles, but I prefer them running on unleaded fuel. It's really hard to breathe here, especially since there's little wind, and streets are narrow.

    Dear Thomas: Yes, indeed, there are advantages to traveling West... Though today I was already late for the morning session, which means I am at least halfways through the jet-lag. I've been thinking about getting a new bag for some while. On the other hand, I wouldn't miss my-stupid-bag tremendously once it doesn't reappear. (To me it's kind of a miracle that at last it's always showed up again.)




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