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Nicole Ackerman | SLAC | USA

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What a whirlwind!

In just a few hours I depart for Italy. I am greatly looking forward to visiting Rome and learning all about neutrinos at the Erice Nuclear School. I’m not sure which one I’m more excited about! I think I have everything in order – the places I want to visit, where I am staying, Italian phrasebooks, and emergency contacts. I’ve decided not to take my laptop, so I may not post at all for the next two weeks. After that I hope I will have many exciting stories to share about Italy, Erice, and the current state of neutrino physics. Before the jet lag wears off I will be on my way to New Mexico to take a commissioning shift on EXO. I will document “a day in the life of a miner” for you – it has been over a year since my last trip to WIPP and this will be my first commissioning shift!

Now, perhaps you are wondering how I (a computer-tethered physicist) will live without my laptop for two weeks. I won’t have any sort of working cell phone there or small wireless device either. I will be completely cut off! I think I can survive since I had no problem being cell-phone free for 3 months when I was last in Europe. I like to think of myself as not being gadget-dependent, though I will admit to buying a new digital camera for this trip. I had originally planned on bringing my laptop, but the cons finally outweighed the pros. I won’t have free internet in Rome, I’ll have to carry it with me in Rome the entire time, it might get stolen or damaged, and I might be tempted to check my e-mail instead of paying attention to the talks at Erice. What had previously outweighed all of that was the need to finish a paper. My conference proceedings needed to be submitted shortly after I return from Italy, so I had imagined spending some time on the paper. Amazingly, I finished it this weekend and already posted it to arxiv. While it is only a conference proceedings, it is only the 2nd paper ever to have my name on it and the first one I actually wrote. I think I should celebrate with a bit of a trip, don’t you think?

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