– by Nigel S. Lockyer, Director
Every month TRIUMF publishes in its HR (human resources) newsletter the pictures of the new employees (with short bio-sketches) joining the lab each month. My executive assistant promptly invites them for coffee with me so that I can welcome them to Vancouver and TRIUMF. The fact is most do not want coffee but rather prefer coke or espresso. It is an excuse for me to have a cappuccino and chat it up with the new folks.
This month we had four new postdocs arrive at TRIUMF: one from India (speaks Hindi), one from France (speaks French, not French Canadian), one from Venezuela (speaks Spanish), and one from Italy (speaks guess what). Fortunately for me they all speak “anglais.” I asked each of them what research they’d be working on at TRIUMF. This is where I give them a bit of a hard time and really get to know what they’re interested in and excited about. It’s my job and its fun.
For whatever reason, my blogs on Quantum Diaries (QD) came up. Turns out the new French postdoc had spent time in Ireland and had watched a 5-day cricket match with India (guess who won!). The French postdoc, let’s call him Pierre (not his real name), said he could not understand the rules of cricket. Well, I was surprised, because I thought all Europeans played cricket…but apparently not. So my new friend the postdoc from India and I proceeded to double team him with information about cricket. On the screen in my office, we pulled up my QD post on the subject (which my new Indian friend had read; now he was much more than a mere new friend…he had excellent taste and was heading directly to Go and would collect $200!).
My description of cricket was so masterfully simple that even Pierre, overcoming a cultural barrier, could understand. He left with a new-found understanding of cricket, and I felt like a professor again, making a difference in the lives of one of his students. Any more cricket questions? One. How do you get a batter out, Pierre asked My new Indian friend said if the batter gets hit in the leg by the ball, they are out. I knew that! Any more cricket questions?