Been a crazy few months

Since I last posted in August there’s been weddings, funerals, multiple countries, a workshop I organized, a conference where I spoke, not to mention all the usual craziness. I can’t even begin to summarize everything, so let’s just skip most of that and focus on recent events.

For most of January I was on the road, I only spent 3 days in Hannover. I was lucky enough to attend QIP in Singapore and then the fantastic Sydney Quantum Information Theory Workshop. Both conferences were pretty amazing in their own ways.

QIP, as ever, was loaded with tons of the best and brightest in quantum information theory. I was really lucky to be given the opportunity to talk. I find talking at big conferences like QIP a pretty humbling experience. There are so many brilliant old heads and bright PhD students that while speaking I find it hard to not feel like the dumbest person in the room. Still, I didn’t actually pass out on stage so that is a big plus. All the talks were taped and can be watched at the conference website, which I think is pretty awesome as I’ve been able to re-watch some of the good ones. Unfortunately, it means that I’ll be haunted by my own talk…

The Sydney workshop was one of the best I’ve been to for ages. The organizers planned a great schedule with a really nice bunch of speakers. There was a lot of interesting math and physics going down in a really friendly atmosphere. It’s been years since I hung out with the Sydney quantum information theory types, so I guess I missed how much that community has developed. It was really great to see how vibrant and active those groups are.

After a hectic couple of weeks conferencing I had a little holiday in Brisbane. That was definitely one of my weirder visits home. Brisbane was pretty smashed in January floods, it was terrible watching it happen from afar. Arriving there a few weeks later I was amazed how much work people had done to clean up the city. You could sense the determination to rebuild and the community spirit absolutely everywhere. Catching up with old friends and family I heard so many stories about the trials they endured and the efforts of the clean up. It’s nice to see that for such a big city Brisbane still is as friendly as a county town.

Well, now I’m back in Hannover writing papers and prepping for teaching in the next semester and hoping that Winter will end soon…

Below are some photos from my travels in the last few months:

Faermannsfest 2010

It’s fair to say that my weekend has been dominated by Faermannsfest 2010. This is the first festival I’ve been to where I literally had to walk less than 20m from my front door to the grounds. I’m actually sitting at my kitchen table right now looking at the festival grounds!

For those of you that don’t speak German, a “faermann” is a ferry-man. You know, the guy who pilots a ferry across a river. The Faermannsfest is an annual festival held here in Linden (clearly the funkiest of Hannover suburbs :-)). The location is on two sides of a creek, with a bridge joining up the two sites – hence the association with ferries. Oh, look, the festival promoter was good enough to add a link to google maps.

As ever, the Lindenish crowd was mellow and varied. Lots of hipsters, families, punks and intermingled with the normal folk. For the Brisbane folk – imagine it is something like the old 4ZZZ Market Day, or maybe a small version of the Valley Fiesta.

The best band that I saw was probably Karamelo Santo, they were a ska outfit coming from South America. They really managed to get the crowd moving with a very chilled out vibe.

In between having a bit of a dance and drinking beer, I managed to take quite a few photos. If you’d like to check them out, I’ve put some of them up Facebook (for those of you that are my friends) and on Picasa.