Gravitational Waves

About 1 year ago I started writing science articles for a children’s magazine in Korea called “whale” (or in Korean “gorae” written as 고래). In these article we focus on new discoveries in the fields of physics and astronomy.

I only recently got around to translating them into english with the accompanying illustrations. I will post these semi-regularly on this blog with tag “gorae” or under the category of “outreach”. Check back here if you want to see more. This time we cover gravitational waves, next time it will be planets outside our solar system; exoplanets!

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** These articles were originally published by Gorae magazine. Gorae is a children’s magazine that is distributed to many schools and kids centers through donation. Gorae’s philosophy is to make children socially aware. If you would like to support them please consider donating a small amount and provide another school or center with a copy of gorae magazine.  http://www.goraeya.co.kr

Bike Trip

I’ve been meaning to post about this for some time. In the beginning of May (6-7th May 2016) I went exploring the east coast of Korea on two wheels. If you like long cycling I recommend this route. The east coast sea is beautiful and the seafood is great! We traveled from Pohang to Donghae which is about 200km and it took us 2 days of relaxed cycling. You can camp at many places for free or pay a small fee for better facilities. Due to heavy rain on the first night we found a nice B&B (in Korean they are called minbak, look for “민박” sign on houses). On the second night we just camped on a beach, I think it was called Goraebul.

On the way we stopped at many small picturesque villages and beaches. This area is famous for large crabs. If you go there, give them a try.

Post-applications poetry

I’m slowly recovering from the onslaught  of application season (I may post about that later especially on the subject of applying for Korean research grants). So I thought its a good time to post something on this new website thingy, as I recently moved from dokuwiki to wordpress, which I’m finding much easier to manage although a little inflexible.

After the Bob Dylan Nobel prize, I got thinking of those who may also have won the award in their lifetimes. I don’t consider myself to be especially well read however I know what I like. Here is a poem by the late Jorges Luis Borges called The Other Tiger of which there are several translations, this one I am particularly fond of…

A tiger comes to mind. The twilight here
Exalts the vast and busy Library
And seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom;
Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleek
It wanders through its forest and its day
Printing a track along the muddy banks
Of sluggish streams whose names it does not know
(In its world there are no names or past
Or time to come, only the vivid now)
And makes its way across wild distances
Sniffing the braided labyrinth of smells
And in the wind picking the smell of dawn
And tantalizing scent of grazing deer;
Among the bamboo’s slanting stripes I glimpse
The tiger’s stripes and sense the bony frame
Under the splendid, quivering cover of skin.
Curving oceans and the planet’s wastes keep us
Apart in vain; from here in a house far off
In South America I dream of you,
Track you, O tiger of the Ganges’ banks.

It strikes me now as evening fills my soul
That the tiger addressed in my poem
Is a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbols
And scraps picked up at random out of books,
A string of labored tropes that have no life,
And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewel
That under sun or stars or changing moon
Goes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfilling
Its rounds of love and indolence and death.
To the tiger of symbols I hold opposed
The one that’s real, the one whose blood runs hot
As it cuts down a herd of buffaloes,
And that today, this August third, nineteen
Fifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass;
But by the act of giving it a name,
By trying to fix the limits of its world,
It becomes a fiction not a living beast,
Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.

We’ll hunt for a third tiger now, but like
The others this one too will be a form
Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not
The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths
Paces the earth. I know these things quite well,
Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me
In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,
And I go on pursuing through the hours
Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.

Borges would have been a worthy recipient of such a literary prize, whether he would have considered such an award as important, is another matter.