I have returned from a 3-day workshop on quantum mechanics. My brain is still throbbing from the experience. The workshop took place at the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland. The workshop is named The Schrodinger Sessions and is modeled after Launch Pad. We were treated to lectures from a variety of instructors who told us about various aspects of quantum mechanics. Over a two-day period, we were given a tour of four labs working on various quantum experiments including quantum teleportation. One of the biggest disappointments was the cancellation of the reactor tour - more about this in a moment.
On the second day, Eric Choi put together a mixer and invited several of his friends and acquaintances from the International Space University. This event took place in a bar appropriately named Science Club. It was during this event that I met and had a long talk with Michael Capobianco - former President of SFWA. I don't need to go into the details of that discussion but I will say that he inspired me to become more involved in SFWA activities.
On the last night of the workshop, we were treated to a dinner at a very interesting restaurant called Busboys and Poets. The guest speaker was Jim Gates, winner of the National Medal of Science, former science adviser to the Obama administration, and a highly respected theoretical physicist.
One of the most interesting instructors--Raman Sundrum--spoke to us on the very last day. He presented a lot of information of great interest to science fiction writers and was such a clear and informative speaker that many of us kept him talking even while we was trying to eat lunch.
All-in-all, it was a wonderful experience that I hope to see repeated. It was obvious that this was the first time the workshop has been done and it did not run as smoothly as Launch Pad now does. Transportation to and from the airport as well as locally was a constant issue. One of the biggest complaints was the cancellation of the reactor tour. We were told that the university Director has the authority to allow anyone to visit the reactor except writers. At first, we thought they were joking, but this is an actual university policy. This struck many of the class as being discriminatory and several people felt offended. So, perhaps after attending the workshop there will be a few stories written about a certain nuclear reactor at the University of Maryland.
Thanks to the workshop, I now have a lot to process. Thanks to the people this workshop allowed me to meet, I have a lot of things to do relating to my writing.
Finally - and I'm asking everyone who reads this blog to please respond - Mr. Capobianco asked if I had any idea if the people who read my books are also the same people who attend conventions and read traditionally published science fiction. In order to try to answer that question I'm asking everyone who reads this blog to answer a few simple questions:
- Have you read at least one of my books?
- Do you also read traditionally published science fiction?
- Have you or do you think you might attend a science fiction convention?
Please send the answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org