Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Caltech, terrific end to a tour of physics grad programs

We drove into Pasadena on a Friday, mid-day, via some huge freeway that made me recall why I left LA and haven't missed it. But then we took the exit and there was Pasadena, much more intimate a city, friendly, easily navigated. But smoky because of the wildfires near Santa Barbara. 

We quickly found Caltech's campus, which is seamlessly integrated with the city, in a good way.

I had some trouble finding parking but after sending son on his way to his meeting, asked some students and all was well.

I enjoyed the trees and the simple architecture.

Dear son messaged me where he was and I made my way in that direction.

I didn't photograph the lovely approach to the physics building, which had beautiful natural areas out front, but once I got upstairs I got busy with camera. (phone!) The theoretical physics department was quite wonderful!

I found a spot to sit and admittedly had a huge fan girl moment when son brought Sean Carroll out and introduced me. His books on physics make complex ideas available to those of us who are interested but lack the math knowledge to go at it from that angle. In my eyes he's a superstar but he presented as a gracious, humble person who seemed truly happy to hear me rave about his work. (Which I highly recommend!)

Alongside the physics building there is a citrus tree-lined walkway that totally captivated me. We ended up coming back here with coffee and scones the next day to sit and soak in the ambiance once more.

And oh, this made me so happy to capture with my camera:

An old and very dear friend lives with her family in Pasadena, as do homeschooling friends, so if perchance dear son ends up here for grad school, I will be one happy mom.

We spent another night in Pasadena after having lunch with homeschooling friends, dinner with my old friend and her family, and then on Sunday went where all moms of college students go before dropping them off for summer REUs:

A very clean and pleasant laundromat.

I had a hard time delivering son to UCLA later in the day. We drove the long way, via surface streets instead of freeway, and he played a sweet Santa Monica song as we traveled Santa Monica Boulevard. And then as we hit Beverly Hills, the Fresh Prince. It was perfect.

It's sad to finish this little travelogue. It was a privilege and an honor to visit California with my son. I loved every minute and can't wait to see where he ends up going for graduate study. 

Meanwhile, dear daughter has hit her freshman year with a Big Bang and I'm loving that journey too!


Grey Horse Matters said...

Another pretty campus. Wonder if anyone picks the citrus fruits there.

It must feel very different for you now that both children are gone.

billie said...

The trees were laden while we were there!

Daughter is commuting to one of the large universities nearby so not gone - but very very busy so it does feel different. It's a gift to have her here!

Grey Horse Matters said...

That's good to hear. My eldest did that the first year she went to college so she was home every day too.

billie said...

I love that my nest is not empty! :)