Coffee, solid light and the ghost from a past life

schoolpicture.jpgSarah: Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you in curious ways. Regular readers of the Bridge8 and Nanovic blogs will be aware that Kristin and I attended the ICONN2008 conference in Melbourne recently. Standing in line to buy a critical morning cafe latte (all that new nano stuff is hard to take in!), I bumped in to a high school colleague of some 19 years back. Significantly more hirsuite than his teenage manifestation, Dr Andrew Greentree looked me in the eye, exclaiming “I know you!”. Coffees in hand, we proceeded to chat about educational pathways, getting lost along the way, leaving Adelaide, returning to Adelaide, marriage, children and all those other things that crop up over 2 decades. Nanotechnology was also briefly mentioned – turns out he is now a physics guru at the University of Melbourne. Happy to have caught up, I texted a few other previous classmates with the ubiquitous…..”You’ll never guess who I just saw!…..” and got on with the rest of the conference.

Tuning in to the ABC science show podcast during my morning walk last week, who should crop up again but…..Andrew Greentree. Not only is he a physics guru, but he has recently generated a new way of thinking about light as matter. By considering theoretical experiments in which photons bounce off each other, Andrew and his colleagues plan to generate a means by which light will crystallise i.e. undergo a phase transition. Solid light – its new and its exotic! Crikey. Feeling slightly inadequate, I was somewhat consoled to hear Robyn Williams admit in his post-interview comments that he too was flummoxed. I guess some things are better left to the experts. As a final note, and with my 20-year school reunion coming up next year, I challenge all my old scholars to try and top Andrew’s achievements. Get cracking.


  1. […] a light-hearted whinge about the physics prowess of Andrew Greentree, a high-school colleague (see my Bridge 8 blog Coffee, Solid Light etc. dated 1 April 2008). It turns out Andrew’s wife Babs Fairchild is no […]

  2. […] You may recall my previous post on the past catching up with me. It’s happening again! I started reading a fantastic book […]

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