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Getting an insight into Einstein's worlds

From a row about time to a bad paper on black holes, there's lots to learn about Einstein from a clutch of books published at the centenary of general relativity

On Testability…

15 hours agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Here’s some interesting Sunday reading: Frank Close wrote a very nice article for Prospect Magazine on the business of testing scientific theories in Physics. Ideas about multiverses and also string theory are the main subjects under consideration. I recommend it. My own thoughts on the matter? Well, I think most … Click to continue reading this post ?

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (Ken Liu, translator)

As the Hugo nomination debacle unfolded, one of the few bright spots was the replacement of Marko Kloos’s novel with The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, who is apparently a Big Name in SF in China. This got a good deal of buzz when it was released in the US, and I’ve sorta-kinda been meaning…

John Nash 1928-2015

I was sorry to hear this morning that John Nash and his wife Alicia died yesterday in a car crash (news story here). They were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike, heading home from the airport after a … Continue reading ?


March 24th is Ada Lovelace day.   For more information, see Here is my Ada Lovelace post: I really struggled to come up with a woman in technology to write about here.   I was never supervised by or with another … Continue reading ?

Circuits by Analogy

Some not so useful useful but cool sounding and true analogies I have used during my office hours while teaching undergrads about circuits: Charging a capacitor is like falling out of an airplane. “Charging” an inductor is like a bunch … Continue reading ?


I was told on friday that Sidney Coleman’s famous Quantum Field Theory course was actually videotaped in the 70’s and now exists online, and it’s true ! It’s kind of awesome, but also a little bit depressing, like when someone … Continue reading ?

Physics and the Earth

As I delve deeper into the context of the physics I’m doing at the moment, all I seem to find is more and more information about the really serious state that the oceans are in.   I’m not sure whether this … Continue reading ?

LHC Fever! (And more bad science journalism)

The LHC has turned on! W00t! Last night a few of us had an LHC “party” where we stayed up until 3 am to watch the webcast of the machine turning on. Of course, the webcast didn’t work, and we … Continue reading ?

What is String Theory Good For (Part I)?

This is, I guess, my foray into the bloggy string wars (or the stringy blog wars?). But not really. I just want to give you some of my brief perspectives on why string theory is kind of a big deal. … Continue reading ?

A wave is more than its equation

When I first started at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography a year ago, I was a complete novice when it came to ocean-related activities.   California thrives on these things and I stuck out as a rather puzzled (and pale) … Continue reading ?

Einstein and Schrödinger: The price of fame

From personal feuds to fruitless quests to overhaul quantum theory, the two physics legends fought hard to maintain their fame, argues a new book

NSA in P/poly: The Power of Precomputation

Even after the Snowden revelations, there remained one big mystery about what the NSA was doing and how.  The NSA’s classified 2013 budget request mentioned, as a priority item, “groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial...Show More Summary

LHC restart timeline

Physics is just around the corner for the LHC. Follow this timeline through the most exciting moments of the past few months.

Amazing Blackbody Radiation and LHC Basics

I was proctoring an exam yesterday in two different sections of the same class, so I had a lot of quite time. Which means I wrote not one but two new posts for Forbes… The first continues a loose series of posts about the exotic physics behind everyday objects (something I’m toying with as a…

How long until it's interesting?

Last night, for the first time, the LHC collided particles at the center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV. Routine collisions should follow early in June. The plan is to collect 5-10 inverse femtobarn (fb-1) of data before winter comes, adding to the 25 fb-1 from Run-1. Show More Summary

So the equations are not…

Working on rough layouts of one of the stories for the book. One rough panel ended up not looking so rough, and after Monday's ink dalliances I was itching to fiddle with brushes again, and then I thought I'd share. So... slightly less rough, shall we say? A more careful version would point the eyes a bit better, for example... Show More Summary

LHC achieves record-energy collisions

The Large Hadron Collider broke its own record again in 13-trillion-electronvolt test collisions. Today engineers at the Large Hadron Collider successfully collided several tightly packed bunches of particles at 13 trillion electronvolts. Show More Summary

Breaking Boards

One of the highlights of teaching introductory mechanics is always the “karate board” lab, which I start off by punching through a wooden board. That gets the class’s attention, and then we have them hang weights on boards and measure the deflection in response to a known force. This confirms that the board behaves like…

Small teams, big dreams

A small group of determined scientists can make big contributions to physics. Particle physics is the realm of billion-dollar machines and teams of thousands of scientists, all working together to explore the smallest components of the...Show More Summary

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