More details about the event:
More details about the event:
More details about the event:
Alain Aspect just received an amply deserved Nobel prize in Physics – adding one drawing to my collection of Nobel Prize drawings
I recall bumping on him at the cafeteria at Ecole Polytechnique back in the days, and asking him questions which he often dismissed in two sentences…Incidentally, the last time I went there in December 2019 to visit my friend Franck Delmotte (Director of study at Institute of Optics Graduate School), he was just besides us.
I am very happy to announce that was granted en Early Career Research Award by the US Department of Energy, to work on the DREAM beam: Diffraction-limited Radiation Enhancement with Adaptive Mirrors for x-ray coherent beamlines.Here are some news releases:
Yesterday we received a visit of the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who came to Berkeley lab for a press conference around the COMPETES act, which aims to bolster STEM education in the US and revive semiconductor manufacturing.Full video: Speaker Pelosi Holds Event on America COMPETES Act
When people ask me what are the answers to some of the challenges that we face, I always say the same thing: Science, Science, Science and Science – Nancy Pelosi
We are quite honored that she chose the Advanced Light Source as backdrop for the announcement. There were also other congresswomen Barbara Lee and Doris Matsui, together with Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and UC President Michael Drake.at the dawn of WWIII. Continue reading
EUV lithography is now part of everything – including the chips in your iPhone 12 and beyond. I don’t know if it’s because of the chip shortage, the $50B investment of the US government in semiconductor manufacturing, or the realization that having a nearly monopolistic market with its biggest player in Taiwan, at the mercy of an invasion, but there’s a lot of press on EUV lithography right now (I’ve been talking about my work on the topic at Berkeley Lab here: SHARP and MET5, and shared some thoughts on Moore’s law here.)
Here’s a few pieces:
In this story, ASML is the quiet powerhouse – they have a de facto monopoly (their stock rose 10x over the last 5 years) and they keep expanding (ASML opens new state-of-the-art R&D facility in Silicon Valley.) There’s been some hardball played here, with the US pressuring the European company not to sell their technology with China (Reuters), as if it made any sense.Besides, I am stoked to see my former colleagues from the Center for X-Ray Optics receive recognition for their work!I hope we’ll get to develop new techniques with x-rays using diffraction-limited beams to further the advances in semiconductors and microchips – skyrmions, superconductivity, memristors, and so many other cool things!
I was recently featured twice by Berkeley Lab, first about my work on ALS-U:
Berkeley Lab The Next 90 – Accelerators: Conversation with Antoine Wojdyla.
I also had an occasion to share with my colleague Alisa our vision for the Global ERG, which is an association at Berkeley Lab whose goal is to help out international colleagues – many of those who joined lately barely had a chance to meet anyone.
Berkeley Lab The Next 90 – Global ERG: Conversation with Antoine Wojdyla and Alisa Bettale
In times of pandemic, there were no coffee room to distract yourself, exchange ideas with other colleagues or just chat about the state of the world. In a certain sense, Twitter has been the equivalent of a coffee room, and I’ve probably spent more time than I should have on there, but I’ve also learned quite a lot about science – not the natural world in itself, but how it works as an enterprise, some of its limitations (e.g. publishing), some of its problem (e.g., mental health issue, impostor syndrome; systemic discrimination) and also participate to the conversation on how to improve things.The way you use Twitter is personal; some spend a lot of time but stay in the shadow, some like to share everything they see as they would do on Instagram. For me, I use it as a bookmark for tiny ideas (I often use the Twitter advanced search to find a resource I know I shared at some point), and I try to post something every once in a while, to tell the others I’m here. And more and more I use it to boost some messages (propping up students and announcements), which I can do now that I do have some followers with large reach (@Cal, @UCBerkeley, @BerkeleyLab or @SPIEtweets or influential people.)
Sometimes I post a tweet that blows up, and I wander in the Twitter Analytics to look at the aftermath. There, you realize that even with a tiny following, you can reach a lot of people (At the present moment I have 450 followers, and 120,000 impressions.)
The good thing about Twitter is that there’s no filter: anyone can say anything they want, and sometimes you happen to produce something interesting, something that others needed without knowing it was there (that’s the essence of virality.)
The flip side of course is that you have to be mindful of what you say – what people call cancel culture is often the absence of an editor, or simply time to fine tune their message, to tell them they’re going too far. In the extreme, you get incendiary content that get amplified in weird ways by algorithms that are extremely good at hacking your dopamine pathways (here’s an excellent thread on that topic)
On Twitter, you also get to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise – people that are not in your existing network, but are expert and willing to help (you also realize that a lot of people you admire are on Twitter – or is it just the opposite?)Something I didn’t expect is that I would meet in real life people I got to know from Twitter, and some who are now lifelong friends. People with who you share affinity with and a common sense of purpose.I do like Twitter, and even though it has some similarities with drugs (I used to smoke cigarettes, and the urge to check Twitter whenever you’re idle is strangely similar), it is much better than most other social media. Somehow, they managed not to grow it too big, and it is still a very civil space from where I learn a lot.
The problem with Facebook is not *just* the loss of your privacy and the fact that it can be used as a totalitarian panopticon. The more worrying issue, in my opinion, is its use of digital information consumption as a psychological control vector. Time for a thread— François Chollet (@fchollet) March 21, 2018
I found working during a pandemic particularly hard. While there are some people who seem perfectly fine with working remotely, it seems that the unease might have to do both with the kind of person you are (introvert/extrovert), but most fundamentally with the nature of your work.
Asking the right questions is more important than answering them
… to which Benoit Mandelbrot replied “Asking the right questions is as important as answering them.” This is important, because in absence of a well defined scope, it may take much longer to answer a question (a design, a calculation) than you may think, because the task is ill-posed and you can’t reorient the scope (e.g. refine, modify assumptions) to find a solution in due time.
The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
– Bertrand Russell
I’ve learned from a friend that while Amazon initially said at the start of the pandemic that they would be considering more working from options, they now want to bring everyone to office. It is my impression (at least my experience!) that the initial gains in productivity that made them seriously considering WFH might have come from some initial momentum, where tasks were well-delineated, but eventually faded away.It is possible that zoom fatigue is also at play, or simply the effect of isolation on people, but I believe that the general exhaustion may also come from a general lack of direction.edit June 11, 2021: here’s a interesting article from Gibbs at a. at UChicago:
Those who did perceive declines in productivity also experienced lower levels of well-being from WFH. Bellmann and Hubler (2020) find that working remotely has no long-run effect on work-life balance, and that a switch to WFH increases job satisfaction only temporarily. Work-life balance mayalso be affected by decreased commuting time. Barrero et al. (2020) estimate that during the height of the pandemic, WFH reduced total commuting time among US workers by more than 60 million hours per work day.