Time indeed flies fast. I still vividly remember the 2003 fall evening I landed up in this little big campus town. Fresh into an alien land, adjusting to a new culture, so far away from my friends and family, with my awkward accent, it sure was a challenge.
Physics was not the only thing I learnt over the next five or so years. Staying up late in first few semesters, working on those lengthy homework assignments, taught me that that a lot of physics would be drudge work, training for the future. Research has been much more fun, although I realized it is almost impossible to make that ground breaking fundamental contribution, which we all dreamt about when we first decided to do physics, ignoring the temptation and allure of engineering and potentially big money . It has turned out that most of us are rather like cogs in a big wheel, making small (and hopefully somewhat significant) contributions to the big cluttered landscape. But I have also concluded that, this is what I want to do,
and by some fantastic coincidence, the next few years would be incredibly exciting time in our field.
Gainesville has definitely grown on me in all these years. People have been amazingly nice and kind. Once I left my passport in the department, the day before going on a month long India trip. Darlene Latimer and Chris Scanlon came all the way from their home on a Friday night to retrieve it, so that I did not have to miss the trip.
I have lived through what probably has been the golden era of Gator sports. I have first time voted and actively participated in a landmark presidential election. I have traveled all across the country (so far been to 35 states) and beyond, both for academic and pleasure trips. Now, driving up on I-75, when I see that little green sign saying Gainesville is near, it feels like I am about to be home.
And, after this wonderful journey, I would be moving across the Atlantic to Germany for my postdoctoral work. To a new country, without knowing the language, away from all the wonderful friends I made here. Déjà vu?
Published in UF Physics monthly newsletter, Proton, with a five year old mugshot of mine!