Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Time management

[plovdiv mosque]
In principle, when attending a conference, it would always be nice to prepare the talk carefully, long in advance, preferably before travelling.  I have been accused of having bad time management for not (always) doing so. With so many things I want to do, I find it optimises my time best to use the journey to prepare my talk, though it doesn't always work out as swimmingly as I plan.  It seems that things have never been much different.  I am sitting having lunch in Plovdiv, reading George Gamow's Thirty Years that Shook Physics, about the early history of Quantum Physics, and I came across the following anectode:
[I was] asked to deliver a lecture in the institute of Henri Poincaré, of which he [de Broglie] was a director. I decided to come well prepared. I planned to write the lecture down in my (still) poor French on board the liner crossing the Atlantic, have somebody in Paris correct the text, and use it as notes at the lecture. But, as everyone knows, all good resolutions collapse on an ocean voyage offering many distractions, and I had to face the audience in the Sorbonne completely unprepared.
If it's good enough for Gamow...

P.S. I am writing this sitting in a café in Plovdiv, next to the ruins of the Roman hippodrome. From my seat, I can't take such a great picture of it (since it's basically underground), so the picture attached to the post is of the square, with the Djumaya mosque to the right). The sundial on the corner of the mosque is about an hour out, but I guess it doesn't cope with summer time very well.