What are you doing for the summer? Like most academics, I’m asked this question regularly, by people envious of our holidays. I sometimes think they’re more interested in my holidays than I am myself.
But what will I do? I used to head back to my alma mater Trinity College as soon as term ended, doing experimental work in the magnetic resonance lab. These days, I find myself doing more and more writing about science, and less and less labwork. Truth is, I always liked writing papers more than getting the results…
This summer, I intend to make a start on a short book on particle physics, aimed at the layman – The Story of Atoms. I’ve noticed that while there are lots of good introductory books on cosmology, there are fewer such books on particle physics. Also, I’ve always had an interest in the area and l teach an introductory course in high-energy physics. Of course, particle physics probably doesn’t have quite the popular appeal of cosmology – but there’s enough convergence between the two fields to draw in plenty of readers. Plus, it’d be great to get a simple introductory book on particle physics out in time for expected dramatic results at CERN sometime next year. (I’m sure no-one else has thought of this – Ed).
Apparently one needs an outline, chapter headings and at least one full chapter to get a publisher interested. I think I’ll use the summer break to get the structure organised and bang out the first chapter, ready to send off to a few publishers by the time term starts up again.
‘Course I won’t spend the entire summer on it – all work and no play makes Albert a very dull boy. I intend to travel, and hole up somewhere where I can surf in the mornings and work in the afternoons (and socialize in the evenings). Anywhere really, so long as it’s outside Ireland, for God’s sake.
Mind you, I suspect what Garrett considers ‘suitable’ is probably life-threatening.
Tip – try not to land on the board when you wipeout
So that’s the summer plan.
1. Get started on a pop science book that will eventually make me rich and famous
2. Get back surfing
3. Meet someone nice. You’d be amazed how many academics are single, it’s frightening. All I ask is that a girl can surf and handle complex equations…
Good luck with all that – Ed