A Grad Student’s Wish List

Dear Santa,

I think I’ve been a good grad student this year.  I turned in my homework on time, didn’t sleep through class too often, and I studied hard.  So here is my humble Christmas wish list:

364 days a year, Santa is a plasma physicist.  This explains the North Pole location, as it is good for observing the aurora borealis.

364 days a year, Santa is a plasma physicist. This explains the North Pole location, as it is good for observing the aurora borealis.

  • First of all, coming off of finals week, I want sleep, lots of sleep.
  • No more problems at the LHC.  It was really exciting to begin my graduate career at the same time that the LHC began operation, and a big letdown when it had to be shut down before any collisions could even take place.  Once you take care of that one, we can move on to the next thing on my list…
  • Meaningful results from the LHC this year… pretty please…?  I know, I know, I really shouldn’t be getting greedy, but it sure would be nice.  I’m not even going to ask for new physics, just some results of some kind.  I’d really like to avoid getting involved in an area of research that is ruled out by results at the LHC when I’m halfway through my thesis.  New results this year could help prevent that.
  • With the above in mind, how about a plush version of the Higgs boson?  It’s sure to become a collector’s item no matter what ends up being discovered at the LHC.
  • On a different note, I’m hoping that the new Presidential administration is as favorable to science as it currently seems.  You’ve no doubt heard of the physicists who have been appointed to cabinet posts.  And then there’s this gem from President-elect Obama himself:

Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient—especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States—and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.

Man, it will be great to have a president who understands the value of science for our society.

  • Could I please TA for engineers instead of pre-meds?  Now, to be fair, the pre-meds really weren’t as bad as we like to make them out to be, but it would be nice to have fewer blank stares while I’m talking, and I doubt that the light bulb will come on for the pre-meds when we switch to electricity.  (The bad pun was unintentional, but I like it, so it stays.)
  • Good professors for my classes next semester, especially for the Particle and Nuclear Physics survey class that I’m really looking forward to.
  • The fortitude to survive a full semester of Jackson’s Electrodynamics homework, and of course…
  • Please, please, please… let me pass my qualifying exam.

And instead of milk and cookies for Santa, I will continue to ignore the physical impossibility of your yearly ’round the globe trip.


A post at Asymptotia about tracking Santa Claus with NORAD and Google Maps.

Merry Christmas to all!


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