Category Archives: Science

Canyon Country

When you walk through the canyons of Chicago on a blustery day, not that Chicago is any windier than other American cities, you can feel like the walls are closing in on you.

Canyons of Chicago

Maybe it’s the hordes of people scrambling from the trains to their jobs at some perch high up on those canyon walls.

Maybe it’s the ambient noise of elevated trains, taxis and heeled shoes clipping the sidewalks.

Whatever it is, five-years-ago, I was a mess of a human being.

Canyons of Chicago

Daily panic attacks as I rode the trains to and from downtown Chicago. Elevated blood pressure. Irritability. Lack of creativity. Inability to be mindful. The list could go on.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love Chicago. I did. I had an amazing job working with some of the most talented people in public radio. I got to look at that amazing architecture every morning and afternoon. And I was part of this vibrant, thriving city for three years.

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” 
― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Because Science

Science is beautiful. If you stop to observe it.

It’s not just the results of experiments and their intrinsic  value that are gorgeous to see, it’s the structure and the mechanics of the science being done that are so delightful.

They are delightful, because so often we only read about the results. We never find out about the work that went into making the experiment.

Today I hit my friend Shane Caldwell up for a tour of Argonne National Laboratory, where he works as a nuclear physicist.

IMG_1529

Behind that concrete wall lies Blue Gene P, one of several generations of supercomputers used in many scientific applications.

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