Efficient retro webpage for Kathryn Schaffer
In 2024 I spend my time on these things:
1. thinking, writing, and speaking about interdisciplinary applications of quantum physics.3
2. hands-on bumblebee habitat development in NW Illinois with family and friends.4
3. making music and sometimes sound-art-type-stuff. 5
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 as we fully enter the era of climate and biodiversity collapse. 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.
I am, however, available for paid guest lectures on a wide range of interdisciplinary physics-related topics. Funds raised in this way go directly towards vet bills for a colony of formerly feral cats in my care. My contact information can be found by looking at the raw code for this page.
1ex-astrophysicist because of gender issues that persist in science. See this 2021 interview.
2ex-professor because of a structural bias in academic contracts that was activated in my case by the pandemic. I experienced an abrupt, forced shift into unpaid domestic labor that was, because of the economics of the situation, difficult to reverse. My tenured status as a professor did not entail flexible options for a rebound. A scheduling error in 2023, because it meant the loss of health care coverage for my family, cornered me into resignation.
3if my quantum-related work interests you, start with obliterating thingness. A more technical followup addressing the interdisciplinary application of Bell test reasoning is here: "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.
4the bee habitat project is an experimental divestment of two mid-career retirement funds from standard market portfolios, with funds redirected towards direct biodiversity action. In 2020, we lucked into discovering a property for sale in the Driftless region of Illinois that is particularly poorly sited for agriculture but well sited for wildlife support. With friends and family we are building prairie/savanna on ~9 acres of degraded former tillage and restoring woodlands on about 8 acres. Our site plan was developed by regional ecology and land management experts. The labor is self-provided and the materials are self-funded as an alternative form of investment in our futures and planetary futures (by comparison to a traditional 401(k)). We now have a federal contract to perform conservation work on this property, which helps with taxes. In Summer 2023 we achieved an expert-confirmed identification of the federally endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee foraging on our prairie. The site, with its prairie, savanna, and forest ecosystems, offers a unique ability to support the full lifecycle of this special species.
5The music I do just for fun is mostly noisy rock. Listen to my old bands Loams (angsty sludge-gaze rock) Walkover (indie rock/pop). And no I am not sharing the sound art right now, but a tech project I worked on is here.