Monday, March 26, 2007

Quarks, Gluons and Aspic

TC, X-man and I went to my home town this weekend. That also happens to be the home of our alma mater and TC had a meeting there for a science and math board he's on. My parents still live there so we get a free place to stay and free babysitting should we need it.

And my sister happened to have the weekend free so she got to come for the weekend, too! She hasn't see X-man since last summer so she was super excited about that!

Anyway, TC's meeting was at lunch on Saturday and that afternoon there was a lecture by a Nobel Laureate who was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. TC wanted me to go with him because after the lecture was a dinner and we were going.

I really wanted to be interested in the lecture but I have to admit, that although Mr. PhysicsMan spoke on very elementary terms, most of it went way over my head. I did pick up on a few concepts:

1. In school, I learned that protons and electrons are the smallest particles of matter. I remember a few mentions of quarks, but those weren't proven or anything. Well, now we know that the smallest particles of matter are quarks and gluons. The gluons are so named because they glue all the stuff together.

2. If you look at the quarks and gluons moving around, it looks like a lava lamp.

3. All that dark space up in space isn't empty. It's full of dark matter and dark energy...all of which isn't dark like a black hole that absorbs light. It's dark in that it doesn't reflect or absorb light...light just goes through it.

There was more discussion about the dark stuff but frankly, he lost me when he put up a graph that was just odd letters and symbols scattered around.

After the lecture and reception we headed to dinner. It was held in the library which was really odd. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I actually went into the library to study. For those of you that have been to that library, the dinner was up on that level that's to your right as you walk in...with the big window looking out to the student center.

We get to the library and the tables (just the study tables with table cloths over them) were already set with our drinks and salads. TC looked at the salad and said, "What is that?!?"

It looked like a little molded jelly-thing on a bed of baby greens. It was the color of V8. I told him that although I'd never seen or tasted aspic, I was pretty sure that's what it was.

Turns out I was right. Turns out I don't like aspic.

The rest of the dinner was relatively uneventful but it was just so odd having dinner in the library. Since there's no kitchen there, the wait staff had all the food and warmers and stuff in between the stacks.

X-man stayed at home with my parents and sister while we were out and listening to them describe how X-man was just chowing down on popcorn was cracking me up! And he tried really hard this weekend to walk. There were a few times that he'd take a step or two between furniture without holding on. He'll be walking before too long.

Oh, and I ended up coming home with 23 Cadbury Creme Eggs and two little buckets of cotton candy. My dad knows I love Creme Eggs so I think he was trying to bribe me to make sure I come back to visit!


Sarah, Cayley and Maddie said...

Dinner in the library? So odd! The only time I ever studied in the library was when I was made too. :)

one hot 'sista said...

Oops...I think I owe you a Cream Egg, then, because I counted 25 in my stack. Hey...isn't Daddy supposed to be counting things for living?!

and rudeness said...

What an AWESOME bribe!!

And yeah, I think I would have been weirded out about having dinner in a library.

If you ever do a "100 Things" list... you should SO put that on there.