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Particle physics to aid nuclear cleanup

Cosmic rays can help scientists do something no one else can: safely image the interior of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. A little after lunchtime on Friday, March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake violently shook the Pacific Ocean off the northeast coast of Japan. Show More Summary

Massive neutrino experiment proposed in China

China’s neutrino physics program could soon expand with a new experiment aimed at cracking a critical neutrino mystery. Physicists have proposed building one of the largest-ever neutrino experiments in the city of Jiangamen, China, about 60 miles outside of Hong Kong. Show More Summary

And Back…

It is a new semester, and a new academic year. So this means getting back into the routine of lots of various aspects of the standard professor gig. For me this also involves being back in LA and taking the subway, and so this means getting (when it is not too busy as it seems to get a lot now) to sketch people. Show More Summary

Nordita Workshop for Science Writers, Day Two

The second day of the “Quantum Boot Camp” was much lighter on talks. The only speaker was Ray Laflamme from the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, who gave a nice introduction to quantum technologies. While he did spend a bit of time at the start going through Shor’s algorithm for factoring numbers (following up…

Use the Moment Map, not Noether’s Theorem

For a fourth provocative slogan about quantum mechanics I’ve chosen: Use the moment map, not Noether’s Theorem. Pretty much every physics textbook these days explains the way symmetry principles work as: Start with an action functional, invariant under a Lie … Continue reading ?

Do theoretical computer scientists despise practitioners? (Answer: no, that’s crazy)

A roboticist and Shtetl-Optimized fan named Jon Groff recently emailed me the following suggestion for a blog entry: I think a great idea for an entry would be the way that in fields like particle physics the theoreticians and experimentalists get along quite well but in computer science and robotics in particular there seems to […]

Nordita Workshop for Science Writers, aka “Quantum Boot Camp”

Since this part of the trip is actually work-like, I might as well dust off the blog and post some actual physics content. Not coincidentally, this also provides a way to put off fretting about my talk tomorrow… I’m at the Nordita Workshop for Science Writers on quantum theory, which a couple of the attending…

First measurement of sun’s real-time energy

The Borexino neutrino experiment in Italy found that the sun releases the same amount of energy today as it did 100,000 years ago. For the first time, scientists have measured solar energy at the moment of its generation. PhysicistsShow More Summary

Holographic universe experiment begins

The Holometer experiment will test whether our universe is coded into 2-D packets many trillion times smaller than an atom. A unique experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has started collecting data that will answer some...Show More Summary

Quick Links

Now back from the West Coast, here’s a list of things I’ve run across that may be of interest: One piece of news from Berkeley is that Peter Scholze will be there this fall, giving a course describing new techniques … Continue readi...

“Could a Quantum Computer Have Subjective Experience?”

Author’s Note: Below is the prepared version of a talk that I gave two weeks ago at the workshop Quantum Foundations of a Classical Universe, which was held at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY.  My talk is for entertainment purposes only; it should not be taken seriously by anyone.  If you reply in a way […]

Coral Forest

Given that you read here at this blog, you may well like to keep your boundaries between art and science nicely blurred, in which case you might like to learn more about the coral reef forests made of crochet spearheaded by Margaret and Christine Wertheim. Show More Summary

Pubs in London

While I kill time waiting for it to be a reasonable time to call Kate and the kids back in the US, a list of most of the pubs I’ve visited during this trip to London. Because why not? In more or less chronological order: The Victoria in Lancaster Gate. Or maybe Paddington, going from…

Making and Baking….

Back in LA, I had an amusing day the other day going from this in the TV studio... involving a laser and liquid nitrogen (so, around -320 F, if you must use those units), to this in the kitchen: involving butter, flour, water and shortening... (and once in the oven, around +350 F) which ultimately resulted in this: [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

Throwback Thursday

OK, the photo above is a recent picture of me– yesterday, in fact. But the spiral-carved rock I’m standing next to was carved that way a bit more than five thousand years ago, so that ought to count as a throwback… We’ve been in Dublin the last few days, and on Thursday we took a…

LHC physicist takes on new type of collisions

A former Large Hadron Collider researcher brings his knowledge of high-energy collisions to a new EA SPORTS NHL hockey game. After years of particle physics research—first for the D0 experiment at Fermilab near Chicago and later for the ATLAS experiment at CERN near Geneva—Michele Petteni faced a dilemma. Show More Summary

Nature is Fundamentally Conformally Invariant

For a third slogan I’ve chosen: Nature is fundamentally conformally invariant. Note the weasel-word “fundamentally”. We know that nature is not conformally invariant, but the kind of thing I have in mind is pure QCD, where the underlying classical theory … Continue reading ?

Grand Unification of Mathematics and Physics

For a second slogan about quantum mechanics I’ve chosen: Quantum mechanics is evidence of a grand unification of mathematics and physics I’m not sure whether this slogan is likely to annoy physicists or mathematicians more, but in any case Edward … Continue reading ?

A whole-Earth approach

Ecologist John Harte applies principles from his former life as a physicist to his work trying to save the planet. Each summer for the past 25 years, ecologist John Harte has spent his mornings in a meadow on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. Show More Summary

Dark Energy Survey kicks off second season

In September, DES will make data collected in its first season freely available to researchers. On August 15, with its successful first season behind it, the Dark Energy Survey collaboration began its second year of mapping the southern sky in unprecedented detail. Show More Summary

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