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January 16, 2005


Tommaso Dorigo

Hi David,

I'm a fellow diarist, and I totally agree with your last few sentences here.
I also feel frustrated: there just is so much to tell
about our job! And so few people willing to hear...

But wait, is that the real challenge ? Getting people interested in hearing what we have to say ? I am
starting to doubt it, because it is not just a challenge, it smells more of lost cause to me. I was talking to Caolionn (also a blogger here, see our blogs to know about that) about this the other day. We agreed that if you want to become interesting to the general public, it seems, you have to somehow start lying about what you do. Like politicians do. Not just over-emphatizing some of the aspects of our research: lying! Like "Finding a sizable signal of Z decays to b quarks will eventually lead us to a deeper understanding of the universe", or b*****it like that. I will NEVER do that. Tell the truth, that's what I intend to do here, and come what may.

So we cannot reach out with a honest blog. We have to have the general public get to want to read it. How do we do that ?
1) We could strip bare, one of us each week, and post pictures. Impractical: would get lots of hits, but in the end they would shut us down (after all we are funded by DoE, at least in part, and we'll soon bump into some angry taxpayer).
2) We could create a sensation, by featuring a garage fight each week between the two physicists who get more hits from the public in their blogs. We'd make headlines then, but garage fights tend to be rough.
3) Maybe each of us could spend some time each week online with our public, playing online games. Each of us could specialize in a particular game. We could get Yahoo link us with something like "Beat the scientist"
at chess, backgammon, billiards, doom, whatever we choose where we could give our opponents a tough time.

Any other idea ?

Sorry, this comment has grown way longer than I originally intended it to be... Let me know what you think!


Hi Tommaso,

Haha! Your suggestions made me laugh. A garage/cage match would sure boost the publicity. Maybe the QDers should be marooned on a desert island and vote each other off one-by-one, Survivor-style.

I think some people are interested to hear about what we do. I agree it's not the majority of the public, but there are some. I suppose that this site is for them.

Yours optimistically,

P.S. I wonder if commenting on my own blog site is a faux pas...

Tommaso Dorigo

Well, if it is you're not alone... I always use comments to my own posts to answer other people's comments. I think it's polite that way. I wonder what drawbacks there are to this practice ?

Tanis Waller

Hi David,

I think that it is a great thing that you can write in words what exactly it is that you do. As I am often trying to tell other people what it is that my scientist brother does it helps to have a quick reference on the computer to remind me!! As for us other folk sometimes we tend to forget important words like neutrinos...

I enjoyed the little tidbit of information...it is likely all that my brain can process!


little miss demosthenes

expounding on the online idea, why dont you leave your computer on for some time during a downer and try to chat with people over the line? it shouldn't be one of those, Lets Randomly Add Someone [LRAS], but perhaps interact with people of all ages through a chatroom.

eventually, find someone that's willing to talk, and share your instant messaging info [it is the most widely used way to communicate, and im sure you have gaim, or trill, on one of your lappies to support different of clients], and chat with them like they're an offline friend. believe me, as intangible as the internet is, friendships are seemingly impossible, but you will be surprised that its not just the naïve, but *everyone* who builds some type of relationship.

going through all this trouble to be friends with a few people really pays off. a person is more willing to listen to a friend than he is to listen to a complete stranger, and sooner or later im sure you'll get to the topic of work, and what you [plus the other side] does. who knows, some people may walk away from their computer more informed.

it sounds farfetched, and yes, this is about a month late... but i have good excuses for this. my excuse is homework. i am still stuck in school - the kind of school where they confine you to a bunch of worksheets and expect you to learn.


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