Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer time fun, a summary!

So it's been about a month since my last blog post.  I'd hoped to be all done relating my travels through Italy by now, but once again an exciting summer has intervened.  So I thought I'd step back and give the brief description of what I've been up to lately this last month.

After the trip in Italy came what I went to Europe for in the first place:  The Ninth Valencia international meeting of Bayesian Statistics.  This was the first year I had been invited to give a talk:  very exciting!  So I tried to go with my A material, a new algorithm that my graduate student Sarah and I have been working on for the last year.  It did receive a lot of attention, and I found the discussions with those interested in the method to be enormously helpful.  One thing I'm working on right now I'm working on the finishing touches on my response to the written discussion of that paper.

So that was a week, and unfortunately, it was also the first week of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) that I am running this summer.  I had sent my crew (six students from around the US) daily assignments to work on, but there's nothing like being there in person.  So the first few days were a blur as I lectured extensively and got them up to speed on the projects they would be working on.

A few weeks later they were pretty much in self-sufficient mode, and I just had to check in once a day to make sure all was moving along smoothly.  As I write this the end of the REU is in sight:  next week they will be giving oral presentations of their final results, and both groups are writing up their work in paper form as well.  Along the way, I went out to Joshua Tree National Park with lots of the Claremont REU (more than just my six are pictured below) and we also had some other events as well.

Last week was more traveling for me, although not academic in nature.  I met my folks in Las Vegas for a three day whirlwind tour of magic and acrobatics before heading out to the Grand Canyon.  The last time I was there time was limited but this trip we took our time and did things right.  The highlight was a Ranger led morning hike partway down into the Canyon.  Great stuff!  On the way back we also hit Sunset Volcano National Monument, a gem of a park just north of Flagstaff.

That wasn't the end of the week for me though, as last weekend was La Grande High School class of 1990 twentieth reunion.  Also great fun as I met up with friends that I hadn't seen in, well, 20 years!  Okay, a few I'd seen since then, and Facebook does make it easier to catch up, but still there's nothing like just hanging out and dancing to the 80's favorites.