June 5th, 2017, I boarded the ACTNext rollercoaster

together with my first team member Benjamin Deonovic, so this marks a good occasion for looking back. How has my first year at ACTNext been? For those who know the Indiana Jones movies from the 80’s, that just about sums it up.

One day you are the professor sitting in his study wondering about the intricacies of the Fortuin-Kasteleyn random cluster representation of the Ising model from statistical physics, and its significance for the study of learning. The next you are on an airplane flying half way around the world on a heroic quest for the holy grail of changing education in the 21st Century.

Sometimes you have to jump from a train (project A) into a car (project B) to diffuse a bomb, or prevent some other form of psychometric disaster, and then back into the train to keep it from getting off the psychometric track. Fortunately you’re not a lone hero. During the adventure you pick up team members here and there, without whom the adventure would never reach its happy ending.

The duality of being a scientist with a taste for applicable foundational research, and a hero on a mission to change the world, or at least education, is what drew me to ACTNext. And after a year, I can conclude that the fit between myself and ACTNext is tight.

What will next year bring? We’ll certainly do a sequel, and certainly we’ll make it beat episode 1 in the box office. What will the storyline be?

“I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go!” –  Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)