Earlier Highlights (8)

In May 2006, David Pooley and I submitted a paper on the dynamical formation of cataclysmic variables, in which we showed that the majority of cataclysmic variables in globular clusters are formed through encounters.

In April 2006, my guest Ed Lu, astronaut and astrophysicist, gave a public talk titled Preventing Asteroid Impacts, in which he also talked about his experience of living at the International Space Station for half a year, and about the way we launched the B612 Foundation.

In March 2006, I attended the Modest-6d workshop in Amsterdam, Holland. We had some very interesting discussions about software frameworks for setting up, running, and analyzing large-scale simulations of dense stellar systems.

<- In February 2006, Steven Tainer and I opened a new web site, waysofknowing.net. We plan to let this site grow into a portal for discussions between science and other ways of knowing, addressing questions of ethics, values, and contemplative studies.

Also in February, I attended the Mind & Reality symposium on consciousness studies at Columbia University, where I took part in the third panel discussion onWisdom.

<- In January 2006, I wrote a short invited note on a radical reevaluation of the character of time at the web site of the World Question Center, in response to the question ``what is your dangerous idea?''

Also in January, I published a type of white paper on the future of large-scale simulations in astrophysics, using the example of dense star cluster, with the title Dense Stellar Systems as Laboratories for Fundamental Physics.

<- In December 2005, our B612 Foundation received a lot of press about the notion of a gravitational tractor for towing asteroids, published by B612 board member Ed Lu and Stan Love.

Also in December, I attended MODEST-6a, a winter workshop on star clusters held in Lund, Sweden. One of the new developments was a discussion about software frameworks, and the general question of the interoperability of software tools. We decided to follow up on these question in a separate MODEST-6d workshop in Amsterdam, in March 2006.

<- In November 2005, Keigo Nitadori, Jun Makino and I published a paper on speeding up N-body calculations on a desktop computer, by a factor of between two and ten, by recoding the pairwise force calculations in such a way as to make the assembly code far more efficient. The codes are available on Keigo's Phantom-GRAPE page.

Also in November, I organized an informal brainstorming weekend at KITP, about the question of how to couple stellar evolution codes and stellar dynamics codes. The other participants were Bill Paxton, Peter Eggleton, Zhan Wen Han, Steve McMillan, and Ron Webbink. We discussed the structure of the EZ code, and various ways to continue the development of more modular stellar evolution codes.