Next stop after College Station was the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis to visit my friend Keith Olive and work with him and Yudi Santoso – see the first picture. This was the first time I had meet Yudi, despite having co-authored 13 papers with him over the past 31/2 years! In addition to making good progress on our research projects, I also gave a seminar about the search for supersymmetry.
The Fine Theoretical Physics Institute at the University of Minnesota - whose campus straddles the Mississipi River, as seen in the second picture - is notable for the fact that 6 of its 7 faculty come from Russia. They include the former ITEP particle theory franchise, Misha Shifman, Arkady Vainshtein and Misha Voloshin. These guys are legendary for bearing down hard on seminar speakers who exhibit sloppy thinking. First tip of this posting: if you are giving a seminar at the University of Minnesota, get them to start arguing among themselves, and they may forget about the speaker!
The third picture is one I used as a background in the Powerpoint slides for my seminar. It was taken the previous evening at a concert the previous evening by the hot new hard-rock group Velvet Revolver, that Keith and I had attended the previous evening. Second tip: if you go to hear them, be sure to take ear-plugs!
And what about the Mongols? While in Minneapolis, I was reading an excellent book: 'Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World' by Jack Weatherford of Macalester College in Minnesota. Nothing to do with physics, but fascinating, nevertheless, and page-turningly well written! Do you know how violin strings, pasta, gunpowder and men's trousers came to Europe? Via the Mongol Empire, which was the first continent-wide economic free-trade area with complete religious tolerance. Final tip of this posting: read the book!