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For school kids wanting help with a science project

[image of spaceship blasting off]

Greetings, Earthling! You have reached the website of Professor A.W. Peet.

I'm 48 years old. I teach physics to university students of all ages, and I do research on string theory and black holes. You probably found out about me by using Google to look for experts on a modern physics topic that interests you.

It's awesome that you're interested enough in my work to think I might be able to help you. But just because you found me online doesn't mean I'm available to you whenever you want, like turning on a water tap. University professors are super busy: we teach students, research new knowledge, and serve on committees. Our hands are already full juggling many tasks, so we can't just drop what we're doing and help you whenever you ask. If you really want my help one-on-one, you'll need to wait your turn in line.

In addition to being a physicist, I'm also a disabled person. Since a bad skiing accident several years ago, I'm permanently in pain -- for the rest of my life. The pain affects my ability to use a computer, and makes it even harder to add extra work on top of my regular workload on short notice. People who ask me for favours need to book at least three weeks or a few months in advance.

If you plan to email me asking for a one-on-one appointment, you should be prepared to (a) wait your turn, (b) outline what work you've already done to find out about your project topic on your own, and (c) explain why you think you need my specific skills rather than someone else's. It would probably be a good idea to get a teacher or parent to help you write this.

If you live in Toronto, it may be possible to arrange a visit for you and your parent to my university office for a chat. I've done that before with several local kids over the years, and we all had a great time chatting about amazingly cool aspects of modern physics. Under certain circumstances, usually when I've already met the kid and their parent, it may be possible to arrange a chat on Skype/Facetime. I don't interact with a kid without parental supervision, so you'll need to get your parent to help you request a face-to-face meeting or video chat.

I'm sorry if you feel disappointed that I don't have time to help you by email on short notice like you hoped. But all is not lost. You may be able to find some information that will help you anyway by clicking around on my website. In particular, I recommend trying these links:-

You might also try VROC.

I encourage you to keep up your interest in physical science, and I wish you good luck with your project!

Best wishes,
-- Prof. P.

[cartoon picture of Prof Peet]