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At dinner a few nights ago, one of my friends asked about school. I explained that my professor had finally given me something to do, and I thought it would be interesting and instructive, even if it wouldn’t produce any PhD quality research.

“So…. What is it?”

I hesitated. I never know how much I should say when answering these types of questions. How much does a future physical therapist care to know about electrical engineering? I decided to give a very general, very brief description of the project. Then, because this—to me—is the exciting part, I added:

“But it has to work at 600 GHz.”

She paused.

“For what I do, that’s a lot of GHz.”

“Okay,” she sighed. “I wasn’t sure how to react.”

It’s amazing how quickly we spiral into the depths of our specialty, forgetting what it’s like to be on the outside and—dare I say it?—normal.

(Truthfully, I can’t ever remember a time when “600 GHz” would have been meaningless to me.  But then, I ended up in electrical engineering for a reason.)