Friday, 7 August 2020

Deep Summer in Bishop's Stortford


It's a strange time right now, of course, with the Covid-19 pandemic ongoing.  I've been taking summer holiday in the form of working a couple of days per week and having more days off than on.  This week, I'm on holiday, and we have made a trip to visit my parents, following both our households isolating for an extended period.  I don't have a car, which is usually no problem, but we didn't fancy travelling by public transport right now, and fortunately my parents came to pick us up and bring us all up to their house, while my mother-in-law lent us her car, too, so that we could have the two-cars needed for the 6 of us.

So ... we have been carrying on the lifestyle of staying in and isolating from other people with the exception of my parents, at their house. It's nice spending so much time with them.  They've lived in this house for more than twenty years, and this two-week visit is the longest time I have continuously been here.  With 4 kids to play with and look after, there is no shortage of things to do, and my parents have (unlike us at home) subscriptions to the likes of Disney+ and Netflix.  

While I've been working just enough to keep up with MSc, PhD and undergraduate summer project students, a paper I worked on as part of a large supergroup of theorists to map out the next steps in understanding nuclear fission from a microscopic point of view was published.  It's a comprehensive (86 page!) paper bringing together expertise from a lot of different people to try to figure out how to move towards a unified theory of fission, a process which consists of many stages, operating a different timescales, with different degrees of freedom coming into play;  this calls out for a different range of approximations for each stage, and an understanding of how to link them together ideally with a single framework.  The paper is an attempt to put down all our ideas on how to proceed here.  I contributed what I could to those parts I felt sufficiently expert in, and the whole paper was put together by Prof Dobaczewski from the University of York.  It's available now, via its doi: 10.1088/1361-6471/abab4f, though it has not yet been assigned a page or article number.  Because there are UK-based co-authors, it is fully open-access, as is the case with all J Phys G papers with UK authors.

At the top is a picture of me photobombing my 8 month old son Kit, outside at my parents' house.