TITLE: Making Time to Do What You Love AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: November 15, 2007 9:13 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Earlier this week, I read The Geomblog's A day in the life..., in which Suresh listed what he did on Monday. Research did not appear on the list. I felt immediate and intense empathy. On Monday, I had spent all morning on our college's Preview Day, on which high school students who are considering studying CS at my university visit campus with their parents. It is a major recruiting effort in our college. I spent the early morning preparing my discussion with them and the rest of the morning visiting with them. The afternoon was full of administrative details, computer labs and registration and prospective grad students. On Tuesday, when I read the blog entry, I had taught compilers -- an oasis of CS in the midst of my weeks -- and done more administration: graduate assistantships, advising, equipment purchases, and a backlog of correspondence. Precious little CS in two days, and no research or other scholarly activity. Alas, that is all too typical. Attending an NSF workshop this week is a wonderful chance to think about computer science, its application in the sciences, and how to teach it. Not research, but computer science. I only wish I had a week or five after it ends to carry to fruition some of the ideas swirling around my mind! I will have an opportuniy to work more on some of these ideas when I return to the office, as a part of my department's curricular efforts, but that work will be spread over many weeks and months. That is not the sort of intense, concentrated work that I and many other academics prefer to do. Academics are bred for their ability to focus on a single problem and work intensely on it for long periods of time. Then comes academic positions that can spread us quite then. An administrative position takes that to another level. Today at the workshop, I felt a desire to bow down before an academic who understands all this and is ready to take matters into his own hands. Some folks were discussing the shortcomings of the current Mac OS X version of VPython, the installation of which requires X11, Xcode, and Fink. Bruce Sherwood is one of the folks in charge of VPython. He apologized for the state of the Mac port and explained that the team needs a Mac guru to build a native port. They are looking for one, but such folks are scarce. Never fear, though... If they can't find someone soon, Sherwood said,
I'm retiring so that I can work on this.
Now that is commitment to a project. We should all have as much moxie! What do you say, Suresh? -----