Every year around finals time, scientists from San Francisco State University gather at the house I was raised in for the Holiday Physics and Astronomy Party. My father, Dr. Roger Bland, a veteran physicist at the university, has hosted this event for the past 15 years, and I've attended nearly every time. The party, which has achieved near-legend status among the faculty, is a rare opportunity for brilliant scientists and their burnt-out students to mingle, to revel in the underlying silliness of their field, to loosen their neckties after the long semester, to have a few drinks, and to light up the night with... More >>>