Author Archives: joachim

Archeological Find on a La Jolla Beach

Ribosomal subunit on the beach! The fact it is so low in resolution is not surprising, given the wear and tear over millennia.  What is surprising is the sheer scale.  Could it be that it’s the first sighting of a fossilized ribosome from a dinosaur? (There was no trace of a matching small subunit, if … Continue reading


Some buddy called Ribo is featured here eating his cake and having it. How it came to this wordplay is too complicated to explain.  Ask Elizabeth. At any rate, here we are in Granlibakken (a word that might also go back to a confusion of terms, a total miscommunication between a Finnish sailor and a … Continue reading

A Very Stable Genius

Long time ago I used to make little boxes and panorariums, like works by Joseph Cornell.  Some have survived the many moves, but barely. Everything has become shaky and unreliable. It is astounding that the head is still in place.  I’m sure the circuit board no longer works. It’s a curiosity, really, but I haven’t … Continue reading

From microscopic to macroscopic

. Colleagues of mine whom I invited to come to Stockholm presented me with this exquisite gift.  It represnts a different direction of viewing the world from the one I was familiar with. I appreciate the empathy expressed in this deed: they all recognize what they would do if in my skin — do things … Continue reading


. A few days ago my brother in law, husband of my sister who succumbed to cancer almost 20 years ago, sent me a drawing I must have given her once.  He placed it in a large rustic wooden frame.  It’s less than 2 x 2 inches, and depicts one of the creatures of netherworld … Continue reading

Signing the Book

Nobel Media/The Nobel Foundation   Signing the book in the office of the Nobel Foundation.  With me is my wife Carol. The book has been kept since 1952.  Every page represents a year. Even if nothing had impressed me before, this book certainly sends shivers down my spine. Obama’s signature right next to Venki Ramakrishnan, … Continue reading

The Making of Sporknik

SPORKNIK . . . is a truly new dining experience.  It has now been officially featured in THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE following an interview Heather Bellow, the Eagle’s investigative reporter, had with me in a tiny yet quite popular cafe in Great Barrington, Massachussets. Few people know the real story behind this invention.  It would take … Continue reading

Stars Misaligned

Star misalignment is a serious condition. We all want to be whole, after all. It is not tempting to sit down and relax and enjoy the afternoon in Bangalore’s Botanical Garden?

The White House

In going on the record saying I would not put my foot in the White House as long as Trump, Pence, Ryan will occupy it I exercised my right of free speech.  I’m somewhat troubled by the comments I received, which called me a hero for saying this.  What this seems to indicate is that … Continue reading

Cutting a soft version of the medal

   At Coogan’s, the famous Irish bar just around the corner.  We go there sometimes to celebrate a paper in Nature. Ming came all the way from California to celebrate.  That’s dedication! Thanks to everybody! — Joachim

American Exceptionalism

The USA is exceptional, on moral high grounds, when its presidents are one high grounds. Unsurprisingly, the moral grounds of the USA is below average when it is being led by a moron. We cannot rest until this absurdity of a leader is removed,  and we will not rest to deal with the incompetent people … Continue reading

Nobel Prize

On Wed Oct 4, 2017,  I was notified that I have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Jesus Christ. Holy Cow. I’m a different person now. Someone recognized me on the 1-Train.  How come you still take the subway?  In other words, privilege  is the immediate outcome of this new status. The most satisfying … Continue reading

The Competitor

My ferocious competitor in instant fiction, master of the flies and master of cognitive chaos, has changed the rules of the game. It is not to our advantage. We used to be able to make up stories, tongue in cheek, creating an alternative world to illuminate the real one in which we wake up every … Continue reading

Eclipse Face

So I curved my hand and left two spaces between my knuckles, and these should have produced two disks of light when exposed to the sun, but instead each became an image of the eclipse, and the incursion of the moon is interpreted as the direction of the movement of the eye.

The Death of Satire

Trump takes the wind out of my imagination, hence out of my responses to current affairs as a writer.  I used to think satire is the way to go in dealing with things that are wrong in this world.  Satire sharpens the thinking by pushing things into their extremes.  “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift, … Continue reading

The Reference Problem

The reference problem is an old problem.  We do measure the actions of people by norms that have been established before.  All our actions, our pronouncements, are predicated on assumptions we all hold dear.  Even satire requires a general system of reference to be heard and understood. Rogues are by definition people who defy norms.  … Continue reading

Litfaß Säule

Seeing a Litfass Säule in Krakow invoked childhood memories from Germany in the 50s where these advertisement columns were everywhere. These were large cylindrical columns made of concrete, erected for the mere purpose of acting as walls for advertisements, such as for concerts, circuses, lectures. Now with … Continue reading


The gallery is in a new building, in Manhattanville.  I was the only visitor at that time. I took the picture from the side, to avoid glare.  (It occurs to me now that the perspective distortion is a test of three-dimensionality. Hence … Continue reading

Was it all worth it?

photograph of graffiti in Krakow, Poland In this competitive  world — and “petty” is related to “competitive” for a reason — we must find our senses and our purpose. If after exercise we feel like shit, then we should listen. What else is out there? Have we missed something we saw as entirely tangential but … Continue reading

Cowbird — Magic Weekend

. Cowbird, Jonathan Harris’ website dedicated to the narration of stories of life, ceased to exist at the end of March after running for 5 years.  I tremendously enjoyed contributing to it and interacting with people while it lasted.  The reason was that I’ve always looked for a way to express myself in a way … Continue reading

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