Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Seems I've been too busy to even give you the family update last month, so here's to catch up.

Lara and Gloria can meanwhile climb up and down chairs quite well, which makes life easier for me, except that they often attempt to climb upwards from there. They can now reach the light switches, and last week they learned to open doors so it's difficult now to keep them in a room. Their favorite pastime is presently hitting me with empty plastic bottles, which seems to be infinitely entertaining. They also have developed the unfortunate habit of throwing their toys in direction of my laptop screen.

The girls have increased their vocabulary with various nouns and can identify images in their picture books. They still haven't learned a single verb, though Stefan insists "cookie" means "look."

Gloria is inseparable from her plush moose, Bo. She takes him everywhere and sleeps with him. Since I'd really like to wash it on occasion, I've now bought a second one and we're doing our best to avoid she sees both at once. (We also have to maneuver carefully around the Arlanda Duty Free shop, where there sits a whole pile of them.) Gloria has developed a bad case of motion sickness in which she'll be sick after ten minutes on the road. We now got some medication from our pediatrician that seems to help, so our mobility radius has expanded again. Lara meanwhile is squinting and we'll have to do something about this.

Right now, they're sitting behind me with their Swedish-English picture book. I am often amazed how well they understand what we say, especially because Stefan and I don't speak the same accent and we both mumble one way or the other. I guess it's because I judge their progress by my lack of progress in learning Swedish. Last week I took a taxi in Stockholm, and this was the first time I had a taxi driver who was actually Swedish. Ironically I noticed that because he spoke British English that was at least to my ears basically accent free. He didn't even try to address me in Swedish. When I asked him about it he said, well, there's so few people on the planet for whom Swedish is useful that they don't expect others to speak it. The Swedes are just so damned nice to immigrants.

We were lucky to get two daycare places starting in January. It's a half-day place, but this will be quite a change for all of us.

The organization of the PI conference on Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity is going very well, thanks to Astrid Eichhorn who has done a great job. We now have a schedule that should appear on the website within the next days. We'll probably have most of the talks recorded, so it's something for all of you. The organization of the November program on Perspectives of Fundamental Cosmology is running a little behind, but it seems everything is slowly falling into place there too.

Besides this, I have been trying to convince my colleagues at Nordita to engage more in public outreach, as I think we're behind in making use of the communication channels the online world has to offer. I'm happy to report that we did get some funding approved by the board last week. Part of this will go into a few videos, another part will go to a workshop for science writers - an idea that goes back to a discussion I had with George Musser earlier this year. I'll let you know how this goes, and I'm open to suggestions for what else we could do. I think I don't have to explain you my motivation for doing this - I'd be preaching to the choir. So let me instead say that it can be difficult to get scientists to make a time commitment to anything that's not research, so the biggest constraint on the matter is personnel.


  1. Hi Bee,

    Nice to see Gloria, Lara and all are doing well. It also appears you have your hands full between conferences about to be attended and or being planned. However you have left me to wonder how Stefan, that other Backreactor we hear seldom from is faring. That is wondering for instance if whether he is also the focus of water bottle ambushes or perhaps maybe he being their strategist :-)



  2. Hi Phil,

    Yes, hands full is a good way to put it. Stefan gets his share of bruises and scratches, though I seem to be the primary target of plastic bottle attacks. Don't know why, maybe my head makes a nicer ring when hit ;o) Best,


  3. "Their favorite pastime is presently hitting me with empty plastic bottles, which seems to be infinitely entertaining. They also have developed the unfortunate habit of throwing their toys in direction of my laptop screen."

    You must stop this behaviuor NOW.

    Do not repeat mistakes of overpermitting parents.

    Thou shall not hit me with plastic bottles. Or anything else. Period.

  4. "Lara meanwhile is squinting" Visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist right now. Squinting corrects focus (like a pinhole camera), light scattering (paraxial rays versus cataract), and other things. You want to know why Lara is squinting. Both doctors have a machine that measures spherical correction like an inverse camera autofocus, no patient response required. Eyeglasses are better than squinting. Or maybe Lara needs designer sunglasses as an early fashion statement.

    Ophthalmologists here are installing optical coherence tomography (optisk koherens tomografi). The whole eye can be rapidly high resolution imaged in 2-D slices with no patient process awareness (near-IR scan). It doesn’t hurt to look.

  5. This sounds very familiar. Wait until they get a favorite sweater!

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  7. I see Stefan greying at the temples.:)

    The successes of the little ones helps one realize how beautiful life seems for any accomplishments....climbing and independence to explore...for what one may hope for their own siblings for the future.

    You want them to be strong and to be able to stand on their own so you look for ways to encourage this independence and willingness to try. To explore.

    Not to be unteachable to to conduct becoming.

    Thank's for the updates and to see the growth of your family.


  8. At least they are not pouring the contents of the plastic bottles on you :)


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