Gratitude List: Prague (May 31 – June 10)

The next few Gratitude Lists are arranged by locations rather than dates. We have and will be traveling a lot this summer. This list is about our trip to Prague, where I presented on DUNE at the 15th Conference on Flavor Physics and CP Violation.

  1. Ride to the airport on the first leg of our trip to Prague
  2. On time flight from RAP to MSP
  3. Our next scheduled flight from MSP to Amsterdam was cancelled due to an oil leak in an engine and other issues. I am not grateful for this; in fact, I am annoyed that Delta did not have better contingency plans in case of a problem like this. I am grateful that our original plans had us arriving in Prague two days before the conference and thus that after our delay, we still had time for some sightseeing and I could attend the entire conference. Also, I am grateful that…
  4. …we were rerouted through JFK and lost less than a day of our trip
  5. …Delta paid for a hotel room for the night we were stuck in Minneapolis
  6. …Delta gave us pizza while we were waiting for our hotel and re-booking information.
  7. …Delta gave me extra frequent flyer miles for my trouble
  8. Seeing an ad for my institution in the MSP airport
  9. Finally arriving in Prague! (June 3)

    The view from our hotel window.

  10. The excellent public transit (bus, train, tram) in Prague
  11. Beautiful moonrise from hour hotel window
  12. Good food and conversations at the conference dinner
  13. Musicians performing in the Old Town Square 
  14. Seeing the famous astronomical clock perform on the hour

    If I understand correctly, the clock is here indicating the time is just past 10 am (an hour off due to daylight saving time); the moon is waxing gibbous and in the constellation Libra, and the sun is in Gemini.

  15. We packed our umbrellas and thus were prepared for the rain
  16. Bubble performance in the Old Town Square
  17. We saw the Museum of Asian, African, and American Cultures, although the attire of Sitting Bull was not on display.
  18. Beautiful mural on the floor of the museum
  19. Tasty doughnuts!

    We both agreed that the mixed berry (left) was better.

  20. Beautiful views of the Vltava River, which flows through the center of Prague, and the ducks in it.
  21. Our accidental find of the museum of Bedřich Smetana, who is one of the great Czech composers. 
  22. A truly astonishing (in scale and quality) hotel buffet breakfast
  23. Crossing the famous Charles Bridge.
  24. The beautiful artwork and views on the bridge
  25. A crucifix with Hebrew writing
  26. Some of my colleagues at the conference were from Israel and thus could read the writing. They told us the individual words were correct, but they were out of order.
  27. Vertical flags outside of our hotel.
  28. Giant, delicious macarons 
  29. The panorama function of Google Photos Assistant
  30. Our tour of the Jewish Quarter, including the oldest synagogue in Prague 
  31. The The Church of Mother of God before Týn on the Old Town Square
  32. Seeing remnants of ancient stone buildings. I don’t remember the era.
  33. Beautiful view of the Prague Castle
  34. The narrowest alley in Prague
  35. A guided tour that was part of the conference registration
  36. A concert in the gorgeous Smetana Hall: “Gershwin & Jazz Mass.” The title made it sound light and fun, but it was musically perfect and more moving than many church services I have attended. We were truly astonished by this concert’s power and quality.
  37. Pretty flowers in a box outside of a hotel
  38. Lots of tasty traditional Czech food
  39. A relaxing cruise along the river
  40. Drinks and a fake fireplace after our guided tour
  41. Beautiful and peaceful Jewish Cemetery across the street from our hotel
  42. Our hotel room was clean, quiet, and comfortable.
  43. Delicious desserts overall
  44. Our flight from Prague to Amsterdam, while early, was on time and safe.
  45. We passed through passport control (out of the Schengen Area) quickly and easily
  46. The long flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis went smoothly. I even watched a movie.
  47. We passed through customs and back through security without incident
  48. We made use of the nap pads at MSP
  49. Our flight from MSP to Rapid City was short, punctual, and safe
  50. We made it home before midnight
  51. I was able to talk to many colleagues at the conference, including one I had not seen in many years
  52. My talk went well. It was within time, and the audience asked several questions.
  53. Since the majority of the speakers at the conference were from other subfields within particle physics, I learned a lot about those areas.
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Gratitude (May 24 – 30)

  1. Useful training on online student feedback forms
  2. My wife mailing gifts I bought on my trip to friends
  3. Setting up my rehearsal talk to prepare for an upcoming conference
  4. Useful phone meetings (May 25)
  5. An important meeting with a student
  6. A volunteer appreciation gathering for ICPC volunteers
  7. Multiple shirts as a reward for volunteering
  8. The tubing on our radon monitor is reassembled and ready for the next test
  9. Getting started on my presentation for the conference
  10. Mowing our lawns
  11. Watching funny videos with my wife
  12. Making scrambled eggs with fresh garden greens
  13. Buying a new weed whacker
  14. Notifying our credit union of our upcoming travel
  15. My rehearsal talk for the upcoming conference went well.
  16. Cleaning our house for community meal
  17. Good food at the meal
  18. Coloring and playing Lego with our friends’ daughter
  19. Showing her, at her request, around our garage
  20. Listening to a member of my former church on the radio over the internet.
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South Dakota Neutrinos in the News!


Earlier this month, I helped organize the second Conference on Science at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. It was a very successful gathering of scientists and engineers from multiple disciplines to discuss all of the science being conducted and planned deep underground in a re-purposed gold mine in Lead, SD.

The lead organizer (Dr. Richards Schnee) and I were interviewed about it multiple times.

I’m glad we live in a place where getting on TV and radio for a good reason is this easy.

South Dakota Public Radio

Source: Scientists Gather To Explore Neutrinos | SDPB Radio

NewsCenter1 NBC (KNBN)

Source: The world’s leading scientists coverage at SDSM&T

Black Hills Fox (KEVN)

Those studying the universe underground came back up to the surface this weekend to share their research and experiments.

Source: Sanford Underground Lab hosts international conference

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Three generations of neutrino experiments are captured in one photo

Image Credit: Bill Miller

Three generations of American long-baseline neutrino experiments are captured in one photograph!

The black rectangles near the bottom are pieces of steel from the decommissioned MINOS far detector, which was part of the previous generation of long-baseline neutrino experiments. They are hanging in the hall housing the NOvA far detector, part of the current generation of experiments. We are using them as loads to test a trolley for transporting parts of a prototype for DUNE, a planned experiment in the next generation.

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Gratitude (May 17 – 23)

  1. Helpful tutorial session on physics software my students and I will need to use
  2. Wonderful dinner with a friend in Illinois
  3. Catching up with my friend
  4. Ice cream at one of my favorite places in Batavia
  5. Buying breakfast supplies at Walgreens
  6. Good discussion with a student via Skype
  7. Catching up with colleagues at the Collaboration Meeting
  8. Buying gifts at the Fermilab gift shop
  9. Good collaboration dinner
  10. Dinner with friends and one of their little children
  11. Giving a gift to the little one
  12. Delicious breakfast at one of my favorite places in Batavia
  13. Returning rental car easily.
  14. Making a connection despite the previous flight’s delay
  15. A colleague was on the same flight
  16. Colleagues were greeting other passengers who were contestants in the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).
  17. My wife gave me a ride home from the airport
  18. Ice cream and dinner with friends
  19. Volunteering as a tour guide with ICPC
  20. A surprise trip to Mt. Rushmore as part of being a volunteer
  21. A locksmith quickly opened and replaced a door handle in our basement
  22. Successfully cleaning some of the house
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Gratitude (May 10 – 16)

  1. Finished grading final exams for my class!
  2. Entered the final grades for my class
  3. Skype conversation with a colleague about a great app that I will probably write more about soon.
  4. Skype conversation with a good friend
  5. Helping my wife with her grading
  6. Buying pizza as part of a fundraiser
  7. Grocery shopping trip (May 11)
  8. The banner for our upcoming conference arrived
  9. Our secretary is back from her successful surgery
  10. Settling some details about an upcoming trip.
  11. Preparing our basement for plumbing work
  12. Harvesting the first (small) radish from our garden
  13. Booking a rental car for my upcoming trip
  14. Planning dinner with friends on an upcoming trip
  15. Our conference (CoSSURF) is off to a good start
  16. Being interviewed on SDPB about the conference
  17. Buying rain barrels from a friend and former pastor
  18. TV interview with KNBN
  19. Good food at the CoSSURF banquet
  20. Fun, good, and important conversations at the banquet.
  21. Riding to and from the banquet with my wife
  22. My wife driving me to the airport
  23. A surprisingly strong positive reaction to one of the presentations
  24. Safe and punctual flights from RAP to MSP to ORD.
  25. Despite some delays and impatience, I had a rental car from the airport to my hotel
  26. Recommendation from a colleague for a less expensive hotel than the one I had originally chosen.
  27. Staying in touch with my wife while traveling.
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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to some of the women who made me possible! Below, from right to left, are my mother Anita, her mother Lucille, and her mother Agnes. Thank you for everything!

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Gratitude List (May 4 – 9)

  1. Mass transit in Twin Cities means I didn’t need to rent a car while here
  2. Delicious food at Annie’s Parlour
  3. Good conversation with friends at Annie’s
  4. My “shadow” shift was helpful and informative
  5. I also helped to improve the remote control room where I am working
  6. Good conversation with a colleague about teaching and diversity in physics
  7. Helping my shadow shifter prepare for his upcoming shift
  8. Dinner with a friend from high school (May 5)
  9. Despite forgetting my lunch, I was able to go back to my hotel and return only slightly late for my shift, thank in part to a bus that was going my direction on the way back.
  10. Good internet connection in the hotel room.
  11. The Target Express near my hotel where I have been able to buy breakfast lunch supplies
  12. Smoothie and conversation with friends who picked me up at the hotel.
  13. They also gave me a ride to another friend’s house (Katie)
  14. Katie’s family gave me dinner and we were able to catch up on our lives. I was able to meet her husband and cute sons.
  15. Successfully packing for my return trip.
  16. The problems encountered by the experiment overnight seem to be resolved.
  17. My wife getting to donate food to an animal shelter and visit some kittens.
  18. Good conversation with a friend via Facebook
  19. Good food at the MSP airport
  20. Safe and punctual flight back to Rapid City
  21. Watching my wife play on our church’s softball team
  22. Cheering with friends at the game
  23. Good meeting about our upcoming conference
  24. Attending public hearings on a proposed uranium mine in South Dakota
  25. Good food and friends at community meal
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Review of Farewell to the Master

Farewell to the MasterFarewell to the Master by Harry Bates
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As with many readers, I read this story because it is the basis of one of my favorite movies, the original The Day The Earth Stood Still. However, the movie has almost nothing to do with the story. Except for the landing and the names of Klaatu and Gort, the plots are completely different.

The original story has a few interesting twists; however, this is a rare case in which I think the movie was better.

View all my reviews

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Gratitude List (Apr. 26 – May 3)

  1. Teaching my final class of the semester!
  2. Lunch club at Noodles & Co.
  3. Good meeting about upcoming construction near my lab
  4. Testing the latest version of a colleague’s cosmic ray detector app on my phone
  5. Dinner at Pizza Ranch
  6. Making more plans with friends on my upcoming trip to Minneapolis
  7. Deleting enough from my e-mail mailbox so it is no longer full
  8. Important decisions and information regarding graduate admissions
  9. Finished writing the final exam for my class
  10. Reception for our departing school president
  11. Planning signs for our upcoming conference
  12. Beautiful singing and friends at a choral concert (April 28)
  13. Helping my wife get ready for her trip
  14. Her safe (if delayed) trip to San Antonio
  15. Keeping in touch with her while she is travelling
  16. Finishing laundry
  17. Mowing our front lawn
  18. Watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 on a free trial of Netflix.
  19. Safe and punctual flight from RAP to MSP
  20. Good conversation with colleagues at the U of Minnesota
  21. Lots of good restaurants near my hotel
  22. Target grocery near my hotel
  23. Artwork on a bridge where I caught the bus to my hotel 
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