Dancing with Dark Matter .... The musings of a dancer and astrophysics PhD student

Monday, June 16, 2008

Doctorate ....

Well, I have now completed my PhD! I graduated on June 8 with my PhD in physics, specializing in theoretical astrophysics, specifically the particle properties of dark matter. I have also been dancing, and am now a member of Hixon Dance (www.hixondance.com). I'll be posting more ... now that I have more time :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm still around .....

I will be posting more soon, hopefully. It's been quite the busy time for me. I'm in the last year of my PhD program, and am currently rehearsing for 3 shows: one a modern piece with a cast of 5, another a modern solo, and a third the Nutcracker pas de deux for Snow King and Sugar Plum Fairy Cavalier ........ I can't believe I've taken all of this on.....

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A collection of randomness

I thought I'd write a bit of the random things that have been going on, while waiting for my adviser to give me a revision of my latest astrophysics paper. My adviser is very busy ...... therefore research is slow...... sigh.

1. The Cold: Is it bad that I felt really happy last Thursday when it got really cold. I kept thinking "This is what January is supposed to be like!" I enjoy snow, and I think it was comforting to be cold, because it reminds me of all the other winters I've had, I guess. It's going to continue to be cold this week, too, but it hasn't really bothered me yet, except when the wind is really strong. I think snow makes me happy ....

2. In my pas de deux class that I have taking (and struggling through, since the instructor just wants me to get a feel for things first before he starts refining) we did arabesque presses two Fridays ago, and I couldn't believe that I actually could extend my arms all the way for one of the girls. It felt pretty cool to be able to do that, and kind of amusing because the ceiling is not really high in that studio. I think the girls are all in high school. Aside from the instructor, the only other men that come to the class are some of the girls' fathers, so the instructor really appreciates me being there.

3. Sarah is getting mad at me, because I apparently am too balletic for her sometimes, for her modern dance piece. There were at least 2 times at rehearsal yesterday where she "yelled" at me for that. One of the times, I changed one of her turns into a chaines, which she was not thrilled about :-) and coached me to do it correctly. There was a bunch of coaching for me going on last night .... I didn't think anyone would get upset with me for taking too much ballet :-). {By the way, as a clarification, Sarah isn't really getting mad at me, just merely annoyed, hahaha, and she didn't really yell at me, hence the "quotes". Just more of a mild scolding, heehee}

4. Research is slow .... which is rather frustrating. I could rant about that for hours, especially with the latest events, but I won't subject anyone reading this post to that.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Today I was able to take a Master Class from Chris Roman, who is in William Forsythe's company. It was incredibly amazing!!! It was a very intense 3 hours, and all of us were drenched in sweat. He even gave us some material from the piece "Ricercar". Wow ... and I definitely appreciate that Forsythe is often about geometry and space and physics-type things. Whew! I'm still on a high from it, and it finished an hour and a half ago .. and I'm exhausted.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

Happy 2007!!! I can't believe it at all ..... Wow, I mean, I'll have my 5 year college reunion this May (and yet I'm still in school, ah graduate work .... SIGH) .... But, I thought I'd open with a fun picture, of me and my friend Katie. It was taken at a night club opening that Katie took me to. At the end of the night, when Katie and I were partner dancing to some mix of a pop song by the DJ (Hahaha, I know, I'm a dork), the photographer asked if he could take pictures of us dancing. So, we started to show off a bit more. Katie is also a dancer, and we partner well (hopefully we can partner well in ballet, too, if I get my act together and learn), and so we showed off a bit for him. This picture was posted on the website for the bar, under the gallery for opening night :-)!! Katie also went to the photoshoot for the bar opening, which she was trying to get me to be involved in, too, but it didn't work out.I think it's a great and fun picture of us! My hair is crazy ... it was really long and I decided just to spike it .... hahahah! Here's to 2007!!!! More Exclamation Points!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Partnering ....

So, I took my first ever ballet partnering / pas de deux class last Friday. It was actually pretty cool, though it was harder than I thought it would be. I definitely had a girl tip over while I was trying to promenade her in an arabesque. So much to learn :-). I think it's going to be great, though .....

Friday, December 15, 2006

"Of the Transcendent Unknown" by Sarah Hixon

I had the immense pleasure and opportunity to perform in a Master's project choreographed by Sarah Hixon (a very good friend of mine), who is going for her MFA in dance choreography. A professional photographer friend of hers came to the dress rehearsal and took some great pictures, which you can see below. A video of the entire piece is on her blog, at shgumby.blogspot.com , in the Nov. 9, 2006 entry. We performed the piece the 2, 3, and 4 of November, 2006. I can't tell you how much fun it was, and how much I learned!
This spot in the piece (Me, Jadie, Sarah, Anna, and Maggie are the faces you can see) inspired my friend Chad to call us Zombie Mimes ... yes, we are wearing white face paint, which you can definitely tell in the next picture ....

It's good to know that my eastern European complexion is still not as pale as the face paint...
Woohoo, flailing limbs!This is a great shot of me holding Anna, with whom I LOVED dancing. Yes, it does look like I'm choking her ... that was part of the point..... For those of you who don't know, Sarah often said "Guys, it needs to be more violent! Throw each other around more. More violence!" Methinks she has some issues, hahaha!

Still **Almost** Published ...

Back in August, right after Nicole gave birth to her new son, John (my adviser), her, and I finished up this paper and submitted it for publication ( http://xyz.lanl.gov/pdf/astro-ph/0608090 ), my first ever paper! However, it is still going through the referee process, though I hope that will be completed soon. The reason why it's taking so long is that we are trying to publish it in Physical Review Letters, instead of the standard Physical Review D. Both are very reputable physics journals (the standard ones, in fact), but PRL is a bit more prestigious. It is designed for projects that warrant "urgent communication", and so also can only be 4 pages long (hence "Letters"). So, the paper is actually pretty dense because of all the squishing that went in to making it only 4 pages. Hopefully it will be published soon ... I'm working on editing a second paper now on dark matter, but this time my adviser and I investigated the dark matter - normal matter interaction cross section (scattering, instead of annihilation) and how Earth can be used to constrain it. That is coming slowly, but somewhat surely, and hopefully I can submit that soon, too :-). I have given my adviser multiple drafts, and he is currently in the process of giving me chunks back with comments to edit. Woohoo!