the twilight hours of 2014

Some time has passed once again, in which a great deal has happened but I’ve left myself very little time or energy to talk about it. A lot is stuff I don’t necessarily want to post about anyway. But in the spirit of wanting to write more, and having a natural platform from which to write about things, I might as well briefly review what is new.

Within two weeks of returning from Uluru, I promptly left on a tour of the United States talking about my recent scientific results at conferences, in a series of colloquium talks, and similar. This was a whirlwind tour, which had its moments that I may describe later but which on the whole left me exhausted from caffeine surfeit and performance anxiety. I ended that tour with a week spent in San Diego, laid out on the couch of my brother’s house reading science fiction. Asimov, mostly. Not as good as I remember from when I was twelve — his plots have ambitious scope but there’s something cheap about his character interactions which bug me. More on that later perhaps.

My return to Australia in mid-October marked the start of job application season. This consumed more or less my entire field of attention until mid-December, when I hit a wall that could be circumvented only by dropping everything I was quietly refusing to do and going on holiday instead. I’ve applied to fourteen positions and have two applications left to turn in. Perhaps not in vain — so far I have, at least, had one interview. Perhaps I will have more.

All in all it’s been a productive year — three papers published, three more sketched out, new collaborations forged, my profile raised, my work in the news. My most successful year in the broader arc of my career, though exhausting. I have my ideas about how I need to deal with this, most of which have to do with the way I structure my time and (importantly) my attention. Too much precious energy goes boiling off into space, even now. Too much time spent worrying about this specific leverage point in my career, and not enough about what I want my life to be like or how I can protect my chosen life against the depredations of postmodernity.

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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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