Tuesday at the Laser World of Photonics

Of dwarves, giants, weissbier and attosecond pulses!

That was my day in a nut shell.

Well I’ll begin by summarizing some of the technical stuff:

The talk on attosecond science was a tutorial type 1hour long talk by Paul Corkum. For me this field is completely new and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about pulses created from sub cycle phenomena! The idea is that when the E field of an em wave helps an electron tunnel away from the atom (in the process gaining some kinetic energy without dephasing) then on its return to the atom, the electron gives up this energy in the form of an attosecond pulse.  So there is plenty involved in creating and detecting these pulses. how can this be used? Well for me the use might be in exploring the response of materials at attosecond scale and see if we discover new physics. While in the talk Prof. Corkum discussed how these pulses are being used to image orbitals in atoms. Imagine that!

Now to dwarves and giants:

If you have been to a conference, you will know what I mean when I describe this: tall guys (giants) who gravitate towards the front end of the seats, right in the middle of the row so that shorter people (dwarves such as myself) can only see about 20% of any slide. We dwarves then have to constantly move left and right like crazed tennis watch matchers to find a chink in the wall of attendees ahead of us, to catch a glimpse of the slides. It is very annoying! Why cant the giants sit nearer the back? They will still be able to see the slides. Also, the dwarves will silently thank them for it!

The weissbier!

The conference dinner was another traditional Bavarian affair in a big restaurant/hall where we were served some delicious local cuisine. But the best was the excellent weissbeer. This beer contains a good proportion of wheat and hence tastes different from most beer. Now I am not a beer fan, so I tried this somewhat gingerly, but I found it most refreshing and tasty. So while I am in Munich I think I will be visiting some beer gardens and chugging down some more weissbier, though not quite as many 500ml tankards as the locals!


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