Well, it was an established field actually, and the problem that caught my attention is a problem that's 25 years old involving the alignment of the interstellar dust presumably by the interstellar magnetic field resulting in the polarization of starlight, which was observed as long ago as 1950. I just found that a number of interesting physics problems are presented by this. There's still no quite satisfactory theory of the interstellar dust alignment, and in a way this was also an outgrowth of my work on the 21 centimeter line and the involvement through that with problems of the interstellar medium.
Not too much happened today. Nilus gave a presentation on his optical lever project and we helped him construct the first paragraph of is upcoming report. In the morning, I went to the Geometry of Strings Simons Workshop in the ITP. Today was the first day of the event and it was quite informal. Martin Rocek, and Cumrum Vafa of Harvard, gave a short introduction about the workshop and how it would comprise of only one lecture a day, with the rest of each day being devoted to informal discussions about ANY interesting physics problems, not just string theory. I was very surprised to hear that the event would be this laid back. But I think this will be an invaluable opportunity to interact with the world's top mathematical and theoretical physicists. And that's no exaggeration. Some of the other participants are Ed Witten, Juan Maldacena, and Brian Greene. You can't get much better than that.
I also enjoy random interesting physics problems
Physicists research numerous interesting physics problems, among them the behaviour of liquid crystals. These problems can be very useful for illustrating general principles of physics, and so we worked to include them in our natural science program. In the frame of a project entitled "Introduction of current research interdisciplinary topic into education - liquid crystals" we prepared static and dynamic components for e-learning materials to highlight some of the key properties of typical liquid crystalline phases and some structures that appear in different geometrical boundaries or in bulk systems. The materials produced, and an analysis of the appropriateness of different types of e-learning materials for different levels of education (including primary education, secondary education, and physics courses for educational and engineering studies) are described in this article.