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Paul Jackson | CERN | Switzerland

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Random encounters

Not trying to open up a quantum diarists “travel off”, particular given some of the posts Ingrid and Frank have put up in recent months regarding their away from home shenanigans I wanted to mention a peculiarity I realised yesterday. During the last week I was back in the bay area visiting SLAC, which is always a great pleasure as I have many old friends and colleagues there, and spending a couple of days at LBL, starting to learn some new hardware I hope to work on as part of the inner detector upgrade for ATLAS. A very productive trip. On my way back I flew on United. As a US department of energy employee I have to fly on a US carrier whenever there is a chance to do so and United is usually a safe bet, given they now have a flight from Geneva to Washington-Dulles. So, while strolling through Dulles (that I have now taken to calling “Dullest” due to it’s lack of flair and general drab decor) I saw a fellow physicist who was on her way to a meeting in the US. She was as surprised as I when I interrupted her and said hello. We chatted about physics, unsurprisingly, and the state of our mutual endeavours for a few minutes and then parted ways, off to catch our respective flights. While walking away I then bumped into another physicist I know, this time only exchanging a brief hello as it’s fair to say it seemed a bit weird to me to bump into two people I know in a large airport within seconds of each other.

This happens often when people are leaving Geneva or all going to or from the same conference, but it’s much less common to just happen across someone while traversing the globe. If it wasn’t for physics I could pretty safely say that I would not be bumping into people I know in Washington airport, one of the many quirks of the quarks.

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