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Gen-Cyber

Over the years the NSF has financed various summer camps for high school students, designed to get them interested in mathematics or other areas of science. This summer they’ve teamed up with the NSA to deal with the problem of … Continue reading ?

Goodbye Nambu

One of the towering giants of the field, Yoichiro Nambu, passed away a short while ago, at age 94. He made a remarkably wide range of major (foundational) contributions to various fields, from condensed matter through particle physics, to string theory. Show More Summary

Physics Blogging Round-Up: Condensed Matter, Magic, Navigation, and Late Nights

Another week, another set of posts at Forbes to link here: — Why Do Solids Have Energy Bands? A conceptual explanation of why putting together lots of atoms with electrons in well-defined energy levels leads to a solid with electrons filling broad energy bands. — This Is The Key Distinction Between Magic And Advanced Technology:…

To Fill a Mockingbird

Meanwhile, here at the Aviary (as we're calling the garden because of the ridiculously high level of bird activity there has been in the last few months) there has been some interesting news. Happy news, some would say. This is hard for me since it is all about my arch-nemesis (or one of them) the Mockingbird. Show More Summary

Something goes bump in the data

The CMS and ATLAS experiments at the LHC see something mysterious, but it’s too soon to pop the Champagne. An unexpected bump in data gathered during the first run of the Large Hadron Collider is stirring the curiosity of scientists on the two general-purpose LHC experiments, ATLAS and CMS. CMS first reported the bump in July 2014. Show More Summary

My Summer Vacation

When I was young, I recall that a standard assignment when restarting school was an essay on “what I did on my summer vacation”. Now that I’m back in the office after a vacation, here’s a version of that, covering … Continue reading...

Miraculous WIMPs

What are WIMPs, and what makes them such popular dark matter candidates? Invisible dark matter accounts for 85 percent of all matter in the universe, affecting the motion of galaxies, bending the path of light and influencing the structure of the entire cosmos. Show More Summary

Finding a five-leafed clover

Sometimes when you’re looking for something else, you happen across an even more exciting result. That’s what’s happened at LHCb, illustrated in the paper “Observation of \(J/\psi p\) resonances consistent with pentaquark states in \(\Lambda_b^0\to J/\psi K^-p\) decays”, released on the arXiv on the 14th of July. I say this is lucky because the analysts found

Plutonic

No expense spared on astronomy graphics here, you'll notice. (This is the Pluto-less hanging mobile that amuses my son every morning when he wakes up. At least I think it is supposed to represent our Solar system in some vague way......Show More Summary

LHC physicists discover five-quark particle

Pentaquarks are no longer just a theory. Protons and neutrons, which together with electrons form atoms, are made up of even smaller particles called quarks. Protons and neutrons contain three quarks each. Scientists at the LHCb experiment...Show More Summary

Marginal Activity

The last couple of weeks have seen me fiddling with another important task for the book: rethinking the page dimensions. This gets me into things like crop points, safe areas, bleeds, and so forth. It is sort of crucial that I worryShow More Summary

Physics Blogging Round-Up, New Car Edition

The big development of the week is that I bought a new car, as seen in the featured image. This ate up most of Tuesday, but I still got some quality physics blogging in over at Forbes: — The Basic Science Behind Creating Colors: A look at two quantum-mechanical phenomena and one quirk of biology…

Fermilab’s flagship accelerator sets world record

This Fermilab press release came out on July 8, 2015. A key element in a particle-accelerator-based neutrino experiment is the power of the beam that gives birth to neutrinos: The more particles you can pack into that beam, the better your chance to see neutrinos interact in your detector. Today scientists announced that Fermilab has

What the sun would look like if you had X-ray vision

A new image of the sun combines three views to reveal its activity in a new light

More data, no problem

Scientists are ready to handle the increased data of the current run of the Large Hadron Collider. Physicist Alexx Perloff, a graduate student as Texas A&M University on the CMS experiment, is using data from the first run of the Large Hadron Collider for his thesis, which he plans to complete this year. Show More Summary

Getting teachers back on TRAC

This article appeared in Fermilab Today on July 8, 2015. Bonnie Weiberg sits down in front of a small monitor in the Proton Assembly Building at Fermilab. Her job is to test the signal strength of the liquid-argon purification monitors for the proposed DUNE experiment. But Weiberg isn’t your average particle physicist. In fact she

What is dark energy?

It’s everywhere. It will determine the fate of our universe. And we still have no idea what it is. Looking up at the night sky reveals a small piece of the cosmos—patches of stars speckled across a dark, black void. Though the universe...Show More Summary

Dune Love…

I ran across two excellent Dune-related items in the last fews weeks, and since it is the 50th Anniversary of Frank Herbert's book "Dune", I thought I'd share them with you. The first is on the really excellent website called Pornokitsch, which I'm delighted to introduce you to if you've not encountered it before. Show More Summary

Lost Treasure

Still doing detailed layouts for the book. I've been working on a story for which I was sure that I'd done some rough layouts a long time ago that I really liked. But I could not find them at all, and resigned myself to having to do it again. Show More Summary

Why Dark Matter Exists: Believing Without Seeing

For decades physicists have been convinced that most of our universe is invisible, but how do we know that if we can’t see it? I want to explain the thought process that leads one to believe in a theory via indirect evidence. For those who want to see a nice summary of the evidence, check this out.

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