Saturday, June 1, 2013

ND Road Construction Program Largest In State's History: Nearly $1 Billion

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
The oil boom has prompted a 22 percent increase in statewide traffic since 2010, with 53 percent of that increase in western North Dakota, according to the Transportation Department. The increase has put a strain on North Dakota roadways, creating the need for the department’s 2013 construction program, which will be the largest in state history with 327 projects worth about $878 million
A Note To The Granddaughters
I continue to read Louisa Gilder's Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn. As mentioned before, it is a very challenging book to read. But some sections are incredibly good. Having just completed several books on the development of the computer and the development of the atomic bomb, and the building of Los Alamos, it is extremely interesting to read Gilder's description of Oppenheimer. Of all the personalities in the development of quantum mechanics, Oppenheimer was clearly the most interesting, even surpassing that of Einstein.

No matter how much one reads, it seems one can always find a bit more trivia. I had not heard of "Oppie and his nim-nim-nim boys."

He was brought to Berkeley at age 25 to run the physics department, one month before the stock market crash of 1929. He was loved by his students. "In addition to a superb literary style, he brought to his lectures a degree of sophistication in physics previously unknown in the United States."

"Oppenheimer's students watched and learned and tried to walk and talk as much like him as possible, even down to the sound he made when thinking: nim-nim-nim. He took them to restaurants, concerts, read them Plato in Greek; he taught them to eat his incendiary chili, drink his fine wine, and light other people's cigarettes. Rabi claimed he could recognize an Oppenheimer student across a crowded room.

In January, 1970, in my freshman year at college, I went out to University of California Santa Cruz to study molecular biology under a UC professor and one of my own college professors who was on sabbatical to UCSC for the year. It was an incredible month. Like Oppenheimer, Professor Roy Kintner took us out to eat at the finest Chinese restaurants, a new taste experience for me. My Chinese friend, a best friend at the time, Warren Tsui, taught me how to use chop sticks, which I still prefer to forks. I was fortunate to be able to attend a very good liberal arts school, so along with my majors in biology and chemistry, I was able to take courses in literature, which I did not appreciate then as much as I appreciate now. 

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