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Mommy, Daddy, where does mass come from?

The Higgs field gives mass to elementary particles, but most of our mass comes from somewhere else. The story of particle mass starts right after the big bang. During the very first moments of the universe, almost all particles wereShow More Summary

Close Encounter?

...of the physics kind. Ok, I'll share a bit during my lunch break from spending too much time doing detail in a tiny panel few will linger on. (Perils of a detail-freak....) It's a rough underdrawing I did this morning for a panel I'm now turning into final art (the black stuff is the start of final lines). Show More Summary

236-242/366: No-Kids Cruise Photo Dump

Since I’ve given up on the strict daily arrangement, I’m going to somewhat arbitrarily assign photos from the cruise numbers corresponding to the days of the last two weeks. I’ll do this in two big photo dump posts, grouped by whether or not SteelyKid and The Pip are in the shots. And since this is…

Competition Results!

This year's USC Science Film Competition saw another crop of films with a great variety of approaches, with live action and animation, comedy, drama and documentary, and all sorts of hydrids of those forms. Thanks to all who took part. Show More Summary

Off we go

The LHC is back in action since last weekend, again colliding protons with 13 TeV energy. The weasels' conspiracy was foiled, and the perpetrators were exemplarily punished. PhD students have been deployed around the LHC perimeter to counter any further sabotage attempts by furry animals. Show More Summary

Three announcements

(1) When you announce a new result, the worst that can happen is that the result turns out to be wrong, trivial, or already known.  The best that can happen is that the result quickly becomes obsolete, as other people race to improve it.  With my and Adam Yedidia’s work on small Turing machines that […]

LHC prepares to deliver six times the data

Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are once again recording collisions at extraordinary energies. After months of winter hibernation, the Large Hadron Collider is once again smashing protons and taking data. The LHC will run around...Show More Summary

250/366: Final Resting Place

There’s a discontinuous jump here, if you’re paying attention to photo-a-day numbering, but I’m skipping ahead of the cruise-centered backlog to write a more difficult entry. Back in December, when we lost the Queen of Niskayuna, I had her cremated, and said I’d do something nice as a memorial, once the weather got nicer. We…

229-235/366: Phone Snapshot Photo Dump

The week leading up to our cruise was crazy busy for me, with a bunch of travel for work. Which means you get a collection of cell-phone snapshots from that week, since I didn’t bring the good camera with me on all those trips. 229/366: Man the Barricades There are some paths running into the…

Every Now and Then…

Here's a character turnaround I finished today. It is a sign that I'm about to delve into finished art on one of the stories in the book. Finally. Been a long time since I've done that, but I've been building up to it. Only 3 months later than I'd planned. What's a turnaround? Sort of self-explanatory name I hope. Its purpose? It is [...]Show More Summary

Physics Week in Review: May 7, 2013

Among this week's physics highlights: Why Ant Man probably didn't enjoy being shot from a bow in Captain America: Civil War, physicists see inverse Chladni patterns in a liquid, and Space X makes another spectacular landing. Me at Gizmodo: The...

Southern California Strings Seminar – Santa Barbara

For the first time in its history, the Southern California Strings Seminar was held in Santa Barbara, at the KITP! It was probably the largest meeting that has been held under that banner, with attendance from all over the map of theory groups in the region. Show More Summary

Following LIGO’s treasure maps

Astronomers around the world are looking for visible sources of gravitational waves. On the morning of September 16, 2015, an email appeared in 63 inboxes scattered around the globe. The message contained a map of the cosmos and some...Show More Summary

Was gravitational wave signal from a gravastar, not black holes?

LIGO’s discovery of gravitational waves was a great achievement, but a new analysis suggests the signal could have come from a rather exotic source

QFT Book Review

This month's issue of Physics Today has a review that I wrote of the book "Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur", by Tom Lancaster and Stephen J. Blundell. I took the opportunity to give a broader view (albeit brief, given the...Show More Summary

The 8000th Busy Beaver number eludes ZF set theory: new paper by Adam Yedidia and me

I’ve supervised a lot of student projects in my nine years at MIT, but my inner nerdy teenager has never been as personally delighted by a project as it is right now.  Today, I’m proud to announce that Adam Yedidia, a PhD student at MIT (but an MEng student when he did most of this work), has […]

“Largely just men doing sums”: My review of the excellent Ramanujan film

[Warning: This movie review contains spoilers, as well as a continued fraction expansion.] These days, it takes an extraordinary occasion for me and Dana to arrange the complicated, rocket-launch-like babysitting logistics involved in going out for a night at the movies. Show More Summary

The Big Picture

I’m about to head out on vacation to commune with nature in the Pacific Northwest, so there’s likely to be no more blogging here until after May 17th. That’s just one reason I’ll leave comments closed here, another is that … Continue reading ?

This Week’s Hype

The June issue of Discover magazine has an article entitled The Fall and Rise of String Theory (sorry it’s behind a paywall). I had added this as an update to the last posting, but just looked at it more carefully … Continue reading...

EXO-200 resumes its underground quest

The upgraded experiment aims to discover if neutrinos are their own antiparticles. Science is often about serendipity: being open to new results, looking for the unexpected. The dark side of serendipity is sheer bad luck, which is what...Show More Summary

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