I’m going down to UC Santa Cruz this afternoon for a couple meetings. It’s been years since I’ve been to UCSC, but the place holds a special place in my heart. I spent several extremely pleasant weeks in the Lick Observatory archives when I was writing my dissertation, and when I was a postdoc at Stanford I made a major discovery (major for me, anyway) that eventually led to one of my favorite articles, a piece on astronomical photography at Lick and the role that engravers and printers played in the production of photographic atlases.
What can I say. This is the kind of thing that really excites you when you’re a young scholar.
The article made a brief mention of the discovery, but I found it frustrating that I couldn’t say more about how exciting it had been to find this stuff. As a scholar you’re encouraged to write, write, write– but there are weird taboos surrounding writing about your engagement with your materials and subject.
I’ve got an article about the Bucky Fuller archives that I’m working on, that will break some of them. Though of course it’s now desperately overdue. Grrrr.
The other thing that will make it interesting is that I’m driving down with my boss, the president of the Institute. This morning, my daughter asked, “Daddy, why are you wiping the inside of the car? Doesn’t the dust like being there?” I couldn’t quite explain that it was bad form to subject one’s boss to an environment that would make him feel like getting a teatnus shot afterwards….