© Fernando Caracena, 2015
Welcome to my personal website, where I keep a blog—a sort of open source stream of consciousness, usually about physics, but sometimes about computers, or philosophy, or perhaps, about social-technical issues. Life is full of patterns that are of interest to the physicist, particularly if they are good examples of cause and effect. In a sense, a blog is an anachronism in a world of constant distraction among a generation of humans who cannot pay attention to any detail beyond a minute’s duration. But I hope that some of the techniques that I have used here will make it more possible for some people to be able to read material that points to a lot of technical detail. Perhaps this will prove to be just a beau geste. I am thinking here mostly outside of the box, as many physicists do who are willing to discuss other things besides physics, for example see The Reference Frame.
The style of writing I am trying here is experimental, which I call compacted structure. I like to write a lot of details such as what I write about this blog. It is possible to compact the material in the posts by reducing the use of details by pointing to them in separate sources using hyperlinks. The posts and pages presented here have a compacted structure that I write about in the post called The Compact Structure of These Posts.
As an example of the compact structure that can be rendered by hyperlinks, I have relegated some of the details about who I am to a bit of writing that answers the question: "Who am I?".
Modern Physics is Computer Intensive so that the ability to program and to use programs is almost a requirement of physicists. Currently, I program on my own computer, using a variety of languages, both of the compiled and of the scripted/interpreted type. Using a scripted language, such as IDL, GDL, or python, one can develop ideas faster than by using a compiled language, such as C. Scripting is my preference for discovering relationships and patterns in data. Although scripts run slower than binary codes generated by compiled languages, the compiled code takes more time to write and debug.
Presently, working on my own research, I focus my writing in the blog to whatever interests me at the time. I have my own reference library. I also use the Web to extend my information database. In addition there are other libraries in the Boulder area that I can access.
Even though I can work with a lot of data, I do not call myself a data scientist. My emphasis is on ideas, concepts and how to use them. The computer furnishes a means of connecting ideas with data, with each other, and though the Internet, accessing data sources. Programming mostly in IDL script, I find is very nice because of its power, scope, and support. My interest in python stems from my interest in using the parallel processing power of the modern Graphics Processing Units (GPU)s on a PC graphics card to gain supercomputer power on the desktop. Python has libraries that access OpenCl routines, which automate the solution of partial differential equations using finite elements on GPUs (see FEniCS Project).
I have some excess capacity in my own studies, and I think that it would be nice to collaborate with some group, perhaps in industry, on a challenging problem involving physics. My eclectic interests have taken me in a variety of research directions. My extensive physics background puts me in a good position to help someone define and solve a difficult problem. At my stage of development, however, I am more interested in a collaborative venture where I can act semi autonomously. I could work as a new kind of consultant. I am interested in developing new ways of interacting with industrial enterprises.
Fernando's Open Journal--The computer as the physicist's pencil.
Modified, October 26, 2017.
Nice to reconnect with you Fernando!
One thing we didn't have time to talk about is a book I read a couple of years ago:
"How the Hippies Saved Physics" by David Kaiser. It's an exciting recounting of thinking outside the box.