building connections

Have had my head down for some weeks now, blinders on, banging at the keyboard until I expire.  Science is hard.

Submitted another paper today.  This time I just went ahead and put it on the arXiv instead of waiting for the referee process to play out:  I have 39 co-authors on this paper, some of whom have gone through it with a finer-toothed comb than many referees I’ve had, and the referees take forever.  When to post your paper to the arXiv — a free, open-access preprint server — is a matter of taste; although the overwhelming majority of astrophysics submissions to the arXiv (“astro-ph”) are also submitted to a refereed journal, some preprints are posted right after submission, while others are withheld by the authors until acceptance by the journal.  Since I’ve had some lousy referee experiences during my time at RSAA, some delaying my papers by months or even years and not improving the quality of the final product that dramatically, I’ve decided to see how posting right after submission works for me, career-wise.  I may post something about the science in this paper later.

We have a Distinguished Visitor here at RSAA, Bruno Leibundgut from ESO — he and his students wrote some of the papers on SN Ia bolometric light curves which I cite in practically all of my own papers, and which form the foundation for my entire line of research.  It turns out Bruno is a great guy to have around — affable, curious, and committed to thinking hard about important unsolved problems in our field and writing high-impact papers.  He also thinks of himself as a “bridge” between theorists and experimentalists, just as I do, talking to whomever he has to talk to in order to solve the most important problems in the field.  I’ve been logging about an hour a day so far this week just chatting about physics with him, and I hope to translate that into a very productive trip to Europe later in June.  Too much to include here in detail, but we are thinking about similar problems from similar angles and he’s quite keen to collaborate, and to promote what I’m doing (can’t be too grateful for that in a job search year).

So at least I’m enjoying being snowed under, but I have no idea how I’m going to get everything done that I want to get done in the next two weeks:  job applications, yet another paper to submit, more informal science chats, an “invited talk” at a RSAA-hosted workshop, and service work.  More service work!  I probably have to make some choices here, meaning I’ll have to blow someone or something off…


About Richard

I'm an American scientist who is building a new life in Australia. This space will contain words about science and math, but also philosophy, policy, literature, my travels, occasional rants, all sorts of things I find strange and awesome. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer at the time (currently University of Sydney), though personally, I think they should.
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