Friday, April 22, 2011

Why I'm a physics major

I don't really plan on going into physics in the long run, and I'm really not doing all that much with it even now, but I just can't help but take the sorts of classes where I'm working on a problem set and just stop cold, realizing that what I'm calculating explains how the very atoms in the paper I'm looking at, the pen I'm holding, even my own body, came into being.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Post-graduation trip

So, following graduation I'm planning on going on a motorcycle trip across the country. The southwest is the one big part of the country I've never been to, and so it seemed like a good idea to use my month off to go and give it a look. I'm also going to hike a couple fourteeners (peaks over 14,000 feet above sea level), as I've never done that and it seemed like fun. Riding 8 hours a day for multiple days in a row might not be the best plan, but, well, we'll see. Worst case, it'll at least be an interesting experience, even if not necessarily a purely fun one.

Here's my current itinerary:

May 23-25: biking (along the way visiting the highest point in Kansas)
May 26: hiking Mt. Massive, Colorado (third-highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states, 14er)
May 27-28: hiking Mt. Elbert, Colorado (second-highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states, 14er)
May 29-30: hiking Mt. Harvard, Colorado (fourth-highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states, 14er)
May 31: biking
June 1: hiking Wheeler Peak, New Mexico (highest mountain in New Mexico)
June 2: biking + visiting Shiprock, New Mexico
June 3-4: biking
June 5-6: extra days built in to deal with delays
June 7-8: hiking Mt. Whitney, California (highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states, 14er)
June 9-10: biking
June 11: hiking Humphreys Peak, Arizona (highest mountain in Arizona)
June 12-13: biking
June 14: hiking Guadalupe Peak, Texas (highest mountain in Texas)
June 15: biking
June 16: biking + hiking Driskill Mountain (highest point in Louisiana)
June 17: biking + hiking Woodall Mountain (highest point in Mississippi)
June 18: biking
June 19: hiking Cheaha Mountain (highest point in Alabama)
June 20: biking, and arriving home in the evening

And then on June 23rd I get to bike another couple hundred miles up to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for CTY, where I'll be TAing cryptology and advanced cryptology. Fun times.

The order of the first three hikes might change (they're all in pretty much the same place), and I'll probably visit an extra city or two along the way. I have to do the Mt. Whitney hike June 7th-8th, so I have buffer days beforehand that might not be used. I've also assumed the longest for things that might take 1 or 2 days, such as hiking Mt. Elbert.

I've never done any hikes as long as these, so it should be an adventure to see how I manage. I might switch around the order of Massive/Elbert/Harvard so that I start with the easiest and end with the hardest, so I know better how to pace myself for the more difficult ones. We shall see, though. There's certainly something to be said for doing challenging things (if there weren't, I wouldn't be doing this trip).