Efficient retro webpage for Kathryn Schaffer
In 2023 I spend my time on these things:
1. thinking, writing, and speaking about interdisciplinary applications of quantum physics.***
2. hands-on bumblebee habitat development in NW Illinois with my family.****
3. making music and sometimes sound-art-type-stuff.*****
4. trying to (finally) finish and self-publish a book on the physics of light aimed at an art audience.
5. imperfectly attempting acts of care for the humans and non-humans in my circle. Nobody is OK.
I have a back catalog of normal academic CV stuff but you will have to ask me if you need those details for some reason.
*ex-astrophysicist because of gender issues that persist in science. See this 2021 interview.
** ex-professor because restoring the layers of childcare support that made my work possible before has become a logistical and financial nightmare post-pandemic. Academia seems to be a mess at the moment, which disincentivizes putting in so much hard work just to work.
*** if my quantum-related work interests you, start with obliterating thingness. Within 2023 I will post a link to a followup: "yes ghosts, no unicorns: quantum modeling and causality in physics and beyond." Both papers were co-written with Gabriela Barreto Lemos. Some of my talks on quantum physics and music/art/metaphor are on youtube, as are some intro quantum lectures I prepared for students a few years back. Just search my name.
**** the bee habitat project is weird and nobody outside our immediate community of friends seems to understand how/why we are doing it. How: it was funded by divesting two mid-career retirement funds from standard market portfolios and using the money to purchase an agricultural property with a small homestead. We lucked into discovering a property that is particularly poorly-sited for agriculture but well-sited for wildlife support. We would not have tried something like this otherwise, as it has made life a lot more complicated. Labor for the deconversion is performed by ourselves and our friends. We are building prairie/savanna on ~9 acres and restoring woodlands on about 8 acres. Our site plan was developed in consultation with regional ecology and land management experts, and we are working in conjunction with federal conservation programs. Why do this: there is the obvious why, which is that invertebrate populations are collapsing. This is the biggest thing we could figure out to do with our resources to make an immediate difference. As a family decision, it was also a pandemic-timed opportunistic pivot that enabled productive "work" with a full-time child sidekick. In 2023 the prairie is in its third bloom season and our work is shifting to a focus on trees.
***** The music I do just for fun is mostly noisy rock. Listen to my old band Loams (angsty sludge-gaze rock) or a single by my collaborative recording project Walkover (indie rock/pop). New Walkover E.P. coming 2023. And no I am not sharing the sound art right now, but a tech project I worked on is here.
If you really need my contact info, I am sure you can dig it up.