Waiting with the Greys, Epioptics and Ettore Majorana

« Ettore Majorana (Catane, Sicile, 5 août 1906 – présumé mort après 1959) est un physicien italien. Il est surtout connu pour ses travaux en physique des particules, avec des applications particulières de la théorie des neutrinos. Sa disparition soudaine et mystérieuse, au printemps de 1938, a suscité de nombreuses spéculations sur un possible suicide en mer Tyrrhénienne, ou sur une disparition volontaire. »

This morning I had a blood test as a follow up to my GP visit yesterday. I have been suffering from what appears to be an attack of gout for the last month. It has not gone away so I saw the GP. I am now dosed up and awaiting an X-ray appointment. It took longer than usual at Eurofins as there were seven people ahead of me in the queue. I was the least “grey” there. There we sat / stood, the grey-hairs, waiting patiently for the phlebotomist to take her samples. They are very fond of medical biology in France and it makes sense to have evidence based medicine. If in doubt do some more tests, seems to be the motto.


I have also been experiencing tingling in the fingers of my left hand. This could be a recurrence of the problems in my c5, c6, and c7 cervical spine. I once lost all the strength in my left hand around 15 years ago. The doc. is having this x-rayed too.

Nobody theorised that Majorana was abducted by aliens. It is possible that I too have been abducted and then sent back to earth. “Where else have I been all these years?”

I have been to Sicily three times to conferences under the umbrella of “Epioptics”. This aimed at using linear and non-linear optical methods to look at the surfaces of semiconductors either during growth or static. Each time I went I got given a better room as I climbed the “food chain” of people giving presentations. The last time I had a small “prof” villa all to myself. These conferences were held at Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture {link}.

This is an ace venue and we were given food vouchers to use at the hilltop restaurants in Erice. Because I was a vegan / vegetarian and regularly ate lunch on my own at the same restaurant, they joked that I must therefore be homosexual. We had a good craic the waiters and I. They recognised me when I returned to restaurant Edelweiss in subsequent years.

The lecture theatres had “shabby” views…

The last time I went I was initially at a European Materials Research Society conference looking into high K dielectrics and the switch to 450mm Silicon wafers. We had not long been funded by Tokyo Electron to make an instrument and I had a number of provisional meetings in the bar between sessions. I had lap-top and tri-band ‘phone. I caught the train from Strasbourg to Zürich and the plane to Palermo. I was in a suit when I boarded the plane. Swissair confiscated my pen-knife / corkscrew. I changed into desert combat trousers, a singlet and vegan Converse all stars on the plane. I had to get my penknife back off the police in Palermo airport. They were mightily suspicious until I showed them my conference invite.

When I got to Erice, I walked through the door and the ladies on the welcome desk were also suspicious. This scruffy oik could not be a “prof”. There were rude initially and then apologetic and mildly flirty.


I always felt completely at home in Sicily. I nearly went to visit Corleone. 😉

My lifetime immediately before this one was probably Sicilian…