My Speech from the Rapid City March for Science

This is what I looked like giving my speech after the sound system was working.

Amazingly, a recording of (almost) my entire speech is on the South Dakota Public Radio website! It is missing a part of the beginning due to issues involving sound system problems and a bullhorn. You can listen by pressing play below:

My best transcript of the part of the speech that isn’t on the recording is below:

Good morning everyone. My name is Luke Corwin. I am a Physics Professor here in Rapid City, but I am speaking for no one but myself today.

I thank the organizers of this event for the opportunity to speak to you today and for the great honor of sharing the stage with Chas Jewett, who has done so much to advance the causes of justice, education, and reconciliation in our community.

As the Facebook page says, “The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” Thank you all for taking the time to be here on a Saturday morning to show your passion and support.

Many of us are here because we are concerned about the perceived lack support and trust of science in our city, state, and nation. Today, I want to talk about what we can do about this distrust, and why it exists in the first place. Before that, we have some things to celebrate.

Only 46 miles from here, in the former Homestake gold mine in Lead, we are building the Sanford Underground Research Facility, which is one of the most advanced physics laboratories in the world.  South Dakota has invested a great deal in this facility from public and private sources. Mr. Sanford himself donated 70 million dollars, and the State of South Dakota has invested more than 45 million dollars (source). I am a member of the largest collaboration preparing to build an experiment at Sanford Lab. My job and the jobs of several of my colleagues would not exist without these investments.

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Gratitude List (Apr. 5 – 25)

I have not posted  one of these in a while for multiple reasons. With a friend’s daughter dying, I didn’t feel like being grateful. Of course, that is the time when it is most important to be grateful, so here is a triple edition of my gratitude list.

  1. All of the donors who have contributed to Anna’s medical expenses and memorial fund
  2. Our department wanting to care for colleagues who have lost loved ones.
  3. The hope of the Resurrection:
    “Death has been swallowed up in victory.
    Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?” (I Corinthians 15:54-55)
  4. The hope of the Resurrection:  “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…” (Ephesians 1:19-20)
  5. Lunch club at Murphy’s
  6. Interesting colloquium about astrophysical neutrinos
  7. Meeting with the colloquium speaker
  8. Tubas earned a 3.9 (out of 4) on our latest playing test.
  9. Having time to take care of my wife while she is sick
  10. My wife made an amazing homemade pizza crust
  11. Friends and a wife who show me the truth about myself even when it is unpleasant
  12. Having so many good books to read
  13. The amazing power of a hard reboot.
  14. Our Symphonic Band concert went very well (Apr. 23)
  15. The Facebook live feed of our concert worked well
  16. The hilarious performance of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum by the School’s drama club
  17. We had wonderful weather for the March for Science
  18. Excellent turnout for the March for Science
  19. My speech at the March was well-received
  20. Chas Jewett’s speech at the March for Science
  21. News coverage of the March
  22. The new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000
  23. One of our students passed a candidacy exam
  24. Title IX training that was actually useful
  25. Being asked to give a presentation of DUNE at a conference in Prague
  26. Seeing our students win awards at the annual convocation
  27. Enjoying the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra concert with friends (Apr. 8)
  28. Fixing my bike by replacing a bolt that had fallen off
  29. Buying ice cream for us
  30. My wife taking care of me while I was sick
  31. Finishing the yoga class for this semester
  32. Our garden is sprouting
  33. The seeds my wife planted indoors are sprouting
  34. Planning for the conference is going well
  35. Training my fellow committee members in editing the conference website
  36. Writing a flyer advertising our new course in the fall
  37. Settling several other logistical questions about the course
  38. Lunch Club at Fuji Steakhouse and Sushi Bar
  39. Useful and important grad student admission discussions
  40. Ribbon cutting on the remodeled Chemistry Building
  41. Skype conversation with a good friend
  42. Good discussion on Daniel with the Wobbly Table
  43. Friends willing to hear and critique my speech before I gave it
  44. My wife being willing to hear and critique my speech before I gave it
  45. Watering the garden
  46. Successfully using my bicycle pump on a Presta valve
  47. A potential new funding opportunity
  48. Lunch Club at Panera
  49. Ordering gaskets for my lab
  50. Visiting the booths at the Earth Day Expo
  51. Interesting physics colloquium from the new postdoc in our department
  52. Colloquium by the Society of Physics Students on their activities over the past year
  53. Praying with InterVarsity
  54. Ice cream social for the final band rehearsal of the semeseter
  55. My wife starting softball practice for the upcoming season
  56. The University Orchestra concert
  57. The amazing string bass soloist in the concert
  58. Dunn Bros. being such a good meeting place
  59. Starting a new discussion series at The Well
  60. Dinner with my wife at Saigon (Apr. 25)
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I will be Marching and Speaking for Science Tomorrow!

The March for Science is an international set of marches that intends to be “the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.”

I will be speaking at the end of the march here in Rapid City, which starts Saturday at 9am. You can read more on the March for Science Rapid City SD Facebook page and from a recent story on Sound Dakota Public Radio; I am one of the “local scientists” who will be speaking.

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Come to our Concert Sunday! Listen in Person or on Facebook!

To listen live, come to the SDSM&T Music Center (Map).

To listen on Facebook wherever you are, go the the SDSM&T Music Center page.

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Mourning Friday

Yes, “Friday is good because of Sunday,” but I wish we used the German term for this day: Karfreitag (Mourning Friday).

Yes, “Sunday’s coming,” but it is not here yet. Skipping to Sunday skips the real and necessary grief that that we need (or at least I need) to feel before the Resurrection and many other times in life.

Before Sunday, let me grieve Jesus’ torture and death along with the innumerable other evils in the world right now. Let me grieve my own sins and shortcomings along with what they apparently required of the Son of God. Let me grieve how far short of his example I fall every minute of my life.

On Sunday, I will take all the hope, forgiveness, and love that I can get, but for now, let me grieve.

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Gratitude (Mar. 29 – Apr. 4)

  1. The deeply moving presentation by Dr. Donna Beegle helped me to better understand my neighbors living in generational poverty.
  2. Lunch club at Hu Hot
  3. Getting thank-you cards to people whom I have been meaning to give them to for weeks
  4. Important conversation with my counselor
  5. My new gum balls and a good book arrived
  6. Opening a package of scientific items to test
  7. Starting a new book
  8. Lots of good food and music at the Cultural Expo
  9. Meeting people interested in my research at the expo
  10. Making plans for an upcoming trip to Minneapolis, including plane tickets and hotel reservations
  11. Good conversation about Daniel 7 at the Wobbly Table
  12. Dinner at the buffet in Deadwood
  13. Productive meeting planning for the CoSSURF conference in May.
  14. Confirming a speaker for the conference
  15. Great potential upcoming speaking opportunities
  16. Judging presentations at the student research symposium
  17. Multiple people associated with physics won prizes at the symposium
  18. Multiple interesting seminars this week
  19. Prayer group on Tuesday
  20. Good food and time with friends at community meal
  21. Meeting a friend’s baby for the first time at the meal
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Tuba Beard

I have played the tuba since 5th grade (1991), and I have had a beard since last December. These two parts of my life did not get along well at first. Playing the tuba with facial hair presents a problem because some of the hair prevents a good seal between my mouth and the mouthpiece. I spent several frustrating weeks barely able to play, and I seriously considered shaving it all off!

Fortunately, I found a much last drastic approach to be effective. After some experimentation, I have found that if I trim the hair right below my lower lip (soul patch) and my mustache for a bit above my upper lip, I can maintain the seal and play just as well as I did when I was clean shaven!

Behold, my tuba beard 🙂

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Gratitude (Mar. 22 – 28)

  1. Installing UV shielding sleeves over my lab lights
  2. The exam I wrote for my class was not too long
  3. My presentation at a colleague’s group meeting went well, and I came away with several good ideas
  4. Lunch club at Gyro Hub
  5. Learning about Korean naming traditions
  6. Learning about the origin of the names of some of my friends’ children
  7. Beautiful weather for biking (Mar. 22)
  8. Presentation to a NOvA task force went well
  9. Dinner at Saigon with my wife
  10. Learning important plans for the campus at a faculty forum
  11. Uninstalling unneeded software from a laptop
  12. Ice cream from Armadillo’s
  13. Seeing a colleague while waiting in a long line for ice cream
  14. Good discussion about consumption at The Well
  15. My colleague’s daughter is still alive.
  16. Finding and fixing a problem (replaced bad part) in our radon monitor
  17. Starting a new test with our radon monitor
  18. Data from the new test looks good so far
  19. Judging the 2017 High Plains Regional Science and Engineering Fair
  20. Learning many things at the fair including…
  21. …pickle juice is very high in electrolytes
  22. …an electromagnet using single D-cell battery is not enough to pick up a paperclip
  23. …sixth graders can give amazingly good verbal presentations
  24. …making lye at home is hard
  25. …with lye, one can make homemade soap that is quite effective.
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Accomplishments of the Weekend: Food Processor Lid and Entertainment PC

The lid to this food processor was jammed shut, and neither of us could twist it open. I suggested using WD-40, but we didn’t want to put that on a container that would hold food. So, I tried cooking oil (safflower), applying it by using a toothpick to drip it into the seam between the lid and the vessel. After letting it sit for a few minutes, putting on some high traction rubber gloves, and more manual torqui, the lid came free!

I also had a problem with the video playback on my MythTV. The video was translucent and flickering with the MythTV menu visible through it, almost like a double exposed photograph. I fixed it the frontend setup menu: Setup->Video->Playback, changing Current Video Playback Profile to “High Quality.”

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Gratitude (Mar. 15 – 21)

  1. Lunch club at Pacific Rim
  2. Trimming my mustache makes it much easier for me to play the tuba with facial hair
  3. Started writing an exam
  4. Tests complete on part of my radon monitor
  5. Holding the side plank pose in yoga for a few seconds
  6. Watching Here Comes Garfield with my wife
  7. Having backup plans in case of various problems
  8. Picking up 5 pounds of trash from our yard with a large magnet sweeper, which is a four-foot long bar magnet on wheels.

    Yes, the hammer was one of the things we pulled out of the yard with the sweeper.

  9. Fitting the magnet sweeper in the van
  10. Returning the magnet sweeper on time
  11. Good discussion on Daniel at the Wobbly Table
  12. New software for my computer
  13. More free time due to yoga class cancellation (Mar. 21)
  14. I am doing well in my tasks for the upcoming conference
  15. Good meeting planning for our advanced lab class next semester
  16. Interesting colloquium by one of our students
  17. Productive Graduate Committee meeting
  18. Getting house prepared for community meal
  19. Good food and friends at the meal
  20. Helping one of my students improve his code.
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