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In Defense of Scientism and the Joys of Self-Publishing.

As long-time readers of Quantum Diaries know I have been publishing here for a number of years and this is my 85th and last post[1]. A couple of years ago, I collected the then current collection, titled it “In Defense of Scientism,” after the title of one of the essays, and sent it off to

Proto quantum computer inspired by Victorians gets a speed boost

A new approach has sped up a quantum device that exploits collisions between particles, signalling that the method may have yet more mileage in it

Southern California Strings Seminar

There's an SCSS today, at USC! (Should have mentioned it earlier, but I've been snowed under... I hope that the appropriate research groups have been contacted and so forth.) The schedule can be found here along with maps. -cvj Click to continue reading this post ?

SteelyKid, Galactic Engineer

“Hey, Daddy, did you know that in five or six million years the Sun is going to explode.” “It’s five or six billion years, with a ‘b.'” “Right, in five or six billion years, the Sun’s going to explode.” “Well, a star like our Sun won’t really explode. It’ll swell up really big, probably swallow…

A Note to the University of Pretoria

So, the mysterious strings of digits that I wrote about the other day seem to be part of a class assignment from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Students are being asked to go read and comment on blogs, and the random digits are individual student identifiers. This makes sense given the form and…

Life Underground: Anything Anyone Would Teach Me

Going underground most days for work is probably the weirdest-sounding this about this job. At Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, we use the lab to be underground because of the protection it affords us from cosmic rays, weather, and other disruptions, and with it we get a shorthand description of all the weirdness of lab

Beyond the Battling Babes

The recent Babe War (Food Babe vs Science Babe) that probably touched your inbox or news feed is a great opportunity to think about a broader issue: the changing faces of science communication. I spoke about this with LA Times science...Show More Summary

Parasitic populations solve algorithm problems in half the time

Mathematicians draw inspiration from nature to work out complicated problems – and now a new technique is using virtual parasites to find the best solutions

Seeing the CMS experiment with new eyes

The wonders of particle physics serve as a springboard for a community-building arts initiative at Fermilab. For many, the aspects of research at the Large Hadron Collider that inspire wonder are the very same that cast it as intellectually...Show More Summary


Oh Naan, I have the measure of thee... (Well, more or less. Ought to drop the level in the oven down a touch so that the broiler browns them less quickly.) (Click for larger view.) Very tasty! (The Murphy's stout was not a part of the recipe...) -cvj Click to continue reading this post ?

Building a Neutrino Detector

Ever wanted to see all the steps necessary for building a neutrino detector? Well now you can, check out this awesome video of constructing the near detector for the Double Chooz reactor neutrino experiment in France. This is the second of two identical detectors near the Chooz nuclear power station in northern France. The experiment,

The Lady Gaga of French Mathematicians Comes Stateside, and Other News

Cédric Villani is in town today, giving a talk at the French consulate. He’ll discuss his book, recently translated into English (I wrote a bit about it here). Yesterday, despite the lack of suitable bread and cheese, he was in … Continue reading ?

Still Wild

The wild flower planting is still giving generously... -cvj Click to continue reading this post ?

AMS results create cosmic ray puzzle

New results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment defy our current understanding of cosmic rays. New results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment disagree with current models that describe the origin and movement...Show More Summary

My Quantum Alarm Clock

One of the things I struggle with a bit when it comes to writing about cool modern physics is how much to play up the weirdness. On the one hand, people just can’t get enough of “spooky action at a distance,” but on the other hand, talking too much about that sort of thing makes…

Help Me Understand Comment Spam

So, I get a lot of comment spam here, probably a couple of orders of magnitude more than I get real comments (sigh). The vast majority of this gets blocked by built-in filters, so none of the stuff pitching medically implausible treatments for whatever makes it to a point where I have to see it.…

LSST construction begins

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will take the most thorough survey ever of the Southern sky. Today a group will gather in northern Chile to participate in a traditional stone-laying ceremony. The ceremony marks the beginning of construction...Show More Summary

Yet More Academic Hiring: 2:1 Bias in Favor of Women?

I continue to struggle to avoid saying anything more about the Hugo mess, so let’s turn instead to something totally non-controversial: gender bias in academic hiring. Specifically, this new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science titled “National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track” with this…

Discovering Baltimore’s Inner Scientist, Hon

I’ve been falling down on the job of informing you about promotional events for Eureka, mostly because the pace of these has slackened. But I’ll be on the radio today, on WYPR’s “Midday with Dan Rodricks” based in Baltimore (I’ll be in the usual studio in Albany for this…). This is scheduled for a full…

Mapping the cosmos: Dark Energy Survey creates detailed guide to spotting dark matter

This Fermilab press release came out on April 13, 2015. Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have released the first in a series of dark matter maps of the cosmos. These maps, created with one of the world’s most powerful digital cameras, are the largest contiguous maps created at this level of detail and will

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