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Lab in Modern Physics: Done
Statistical Mechanics: Done
Classical Mechanics: Done
Quantum Physics: Done

I feel bad for the night security guards in the Schulich Science & Engineering library. One sits at the front checking people’s ID cards and telling them what time it is for the sign in sheet, with nothing but a cold coffee to keep him company. Another orbits around the stacks, up one side of the building, down the other, and up the stairwell to the next floor. People are studying engineering and chemistry and physics. Nobody causing problems.

By this time of night, there are no more than 10 people on each floor anyway. Each in their own cubicle, the occasional pair at a table discussing structural integrety or chemical bonding. One girl sits in that big cold room with the now only decorative fireplace. She’s inspired, perhaps, by thinking about Ernest Rutherford sitting there himself a hundred years ago discovering the nucleus. They named the physics building after him. Maybe they’ll name a building after her someday.

Does anybody try to sneak into the library when they don’t have to? Sure, there’s an occasional theft but even then they don’t get to be there for any of the good stuff. Last year I heard a story about two students and a professor tackling a theif trying to get away with a laptop and holding him down until security arrived.

“Aw, why didn’t you call me?”
“We did, you just missed the fun part.”

But that was in McLennan, the main library full of Arts students and a mismash of any other faculty you care to name. I think of McLennan as that firm librarian from high school nobody liked, and the more strict she tried to be the more out of control the students would get and the more they’d say they hated her. Schulich, on the other hand, is an old man. The older architecture, the stone walls, and green stained roof speak of an academic who was well renouned in his time but now keeps to himself reading old books and toying with bits of science in his head only because he wants to. He’s made all the discoveries he needs to, and is content to pass on his knowledge to the students who ask, in tones hushed and dignified but always enthusiastic.

Is it odd that I see personalities in some of these buildings? Burnside is a man going through a midlife crisis. He always makes bad first impressions but is entirely forgettable anyway, so nobody takes note. The Wong building is a professor of small, hunched stature, with thin hair, thick glasses, and a kind of enthusiasm about technology that not only makes everything he says fly by too quickly to be understood but that keeps you listening anyway. If anybody’s grandpa is going to have a website, it’s this guy. And Arts is a woman old like Schulich — her ages shows in the depressions in the marble staircases from thousands of students going to classes day after day for one hundred and fifty years — and just as wise, though she tends to speak more of philosophy than physics. But of course, they are the same thing, aren’t they? Arts and Schulich would do well together.

Random FAQ Comments (4)

4 Responses to “And the musings boil over”

  1. David says:

    you just stroked your own majors. can i just say ‘ew’? lol

    bronfman is an ugly duckling sitting outside the quad. LOL

  2. GP says:

    So you can understand my pain.

    Bronfman is a boring 30 something in a black suit standing awkwardly on the corner waiting for a bus. You don’t know why he’s waiting for a bus because obviously a businessman could afford a taxi, he’s just standing there. Awkwardly.

  3. David says:

    and unno what. you COULD trace what flights i’m on if you’re really such an eager beaver, but i know that the MAJORITY of people wouldn’t.

    it’s like in economics with coupons. only 20-30% of consumers would bother. :-P

  4. Audrey says:

    Greg your writting always impresses me! You’re awesome at it and very entertaining. I agree with your building personalities.. definately fits… especially burnside!

    Have a great summer!

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