Sunday, December 25, 2005


Would you trust this man?


Andrew - 1. Black bear - 0.


Nice Beaver at Science World


Our Christmas Dinner... note we haven't cut the turkey yet and the plate is already full.


Our Christmas turkey


Our cold Christmas morning. Not quiet white... only 5 degrees.


Merry Christmas


They breed their Ibis a little different over here!


More Beluga's


Artic Beluga Whales... an amazing sight


The otter's at Vancouver Aquarium


Science is Cool! Jac's busy playing with Bernoulli's Balls

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Our Christmas Tree! Its little, but its real!



Pictures from Mount Seymour where Jac and I have been learning to snowboarding. Pictures of actual snowboarding will appear in the future.


Jacqui and I - see the steam, that means it's really cold (as does our red noses!)


Flowers of light - all the living flowers are dead due to the cold!


The Festival of Lights at the VanDusan botanical gardens. Jacqui is in there somewhere.


More Festival of Lights - I loved this place!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The Fog

I had my first experience of a midday fog today. Being from Brisbane, we have the odd fog of a morning which rapidly clears as the sun rises higher in the sky. Today in Vancouver was a little different. I headed to the bus stop from my apartment in an unseasonably (but very welcome) bright, clear and sunny day. I think it may have even hit 7 degrees Celsius! Walking down Dunbar (the main street near where I now live), I could clearly see the mountains, but there was a thick layer of fog over the inlet at their base. Wishing I had my camera, I thought this looked pretty cool.

It then literally started to cool. Turning around and look up the street, the sun had begun to darken, as this sea of fog came rolling down the street, engulfing all light, happiness and warmth in its path. Seriously. Gone was the bright sunny day, vanquished by the irrepressible fog.

I felt like I was in the middle of a Stephen King story - the "Strawberry Spring" short story from "Night Shift" to be exact. This was only heightened on the bus ride, upon looking down the fog-filled paths lined with leaf-less trees in the forest around UBC. Spooky, but cool at the same time. I almost got off the bus early to walk through the forest.

Who knows what might have happened...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Sustainability at UBC

I read an article in the UBC newspaper (called "The Ubyssey"... get it, that's the joke), which discussed how the university is well ahead of its Kyoto protocol goals for reducing energy consumption. I think this is fantastic, considering the huge amounts of energy that university campuses use (I know my computer is on all day).

The university supplied funds to set up a sustainability office (hence the stickers about switching off lights under many light switches). It is obviously doing its job, paying for itself in terms of savings on electricity bills. University are huge consumers of energy, though we should know better, and it's inspiring to be somewhere that is being proactive.


Fairfield triple-choc cookies usurped!!

I didn't think it was possible, but I have found a better cookie than those produced by the bakery in Fairfield gardens, back in Brisbane. My new landlady was nice enough to give me a box of cookies from "Cookies by George" for my birthday yesterday (that's right everyone, my new landlady remembered my birthday!!!). Damn those cookies are good. Considering that one of the major ingredients is Belgium chocolate, it is hardly surprising. Last night, I had a Milk chocolate chunk, and half a Peanut-butter and chocolate chunck. Bloody awesome!

Sorry Fairfield.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Meeting of ex-Villanova School Captains at UBC

In an effort to alleviate the drastic shortage of Bundaberg rum in the greater Vancouver area, three ex-school captains of Villanova College (AJ Bremner, Michael Lyons and myself) met in a residence on the UBC campus to discuss tactics. Unfortunately, this meeting only served to worsen the situation, thanks largely in part to numerous games of "4-Kings" (the drinking game).

Above is a photo of AJ, me and Michael. Can you tell the lawyers from the physicist?
(The lawyers have either a beer or nothing in front of them. The physicist has two empty shot glasses.)


Three ex-Villanova skippers discuss the availability of Bundaberg rum in the Vancouver area.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


New place, new physics

Being in a very strongly quantum information oriented group during my PhD at UQ, it was very easy to get lured into the trap of focusing solely on this area, forsaking all others. This is true anywhere I suppose. Especially with the vast amount of literature, it can be difficult to keep up with your own area of research, let alone worry about something else. Coming to a department with a strong focus on condensed matter theory at UBC, is giving me the opportunity to really try and expand my knowledge base into new areas of physics (and let's face it, my knowledge needs some expanding).

More importantly, ideas and techniques from one area of physics can be very useful and applicable to another. Often similar results are known by different names, or in different contexts, and the differing approaches can open new doors and prevent research from re-inventing the wheel.

Multi-disciplinary research groups are in no way new, however I think a lot of the notions of collaboration can sometimes get lost in the fight for funding.

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