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This Week’s Hype

This week’s string theory hype comes to us from USC physicists Clifford Johnson and Nick Warner, courtesy of the USC press office (see here and here). It’s garden variety hype of this kind, exactly the same claims about strings and … Continue reading ?

Cleanroom is a verb

It’s not easy being clean. Although they might be invisible to the naked eye, contaminants less than a micron in size can ruin very sensitive experiments in particle physics. Flakes of skin, insect parts and other air-surfing particles—collectively...Show More Summary

Local supernova 2 million years ago solves cosmic ray puzzle

We're still feeling the glow of a 2-million-year-old supernova in our cosmic neighbourhood

Rotational Motion of a Bouncing Football

I followed up my ranty-y post about “Sports Science” with an experimental investigation over at Forbes, tossing a football around on the deck out back and then doing video analysis of the bounces. This provided a wealth of data, much of it not really appropriate for over there, but good for a physics post or…

077/366: Quantum Books

Another talk-prep photo, because I wanted a shot to suggest the academic side of quantum physics. Of course, my actual textbooks are all in my office on campus, but then, they mostly have boring covers and titles, so they’re not a great visual. So I stacked up some pop-physics books: I meant to write out…

Wizard Trouble: Full Story

So, a funny story about this. I posted a snippet of a fantasy story back in August, and enough people said nice things about it that I actually got off my ass and did some playing around to format the full story as an epub. This was, of course, complicated by the fact that computers…

076/366: Air Traffic

It was a cool clear morning when I took Emmy out for our morning walk, with a band of high clouds running eat-west across the sky to our north. After watching a bit, I realized that these were probably entirely seeded by jet contrails, as I saw at least four planes flying along that band…

075/366: Monochrome

Another day when I only took a couple of pictures, on the morning dog walk. I noticed that one of the now leafless trees on the route looked interestingly creepy, so I took a couple shots of that. I didn’t notice that the mode selector on the camera had gotten bumped to full manual, though,…

Physics Week in Review: November 14, 2015

Jen-Luc Piquant is grieving for her beloved Paris this weekend; our hearts are with all residents of the City of Light. But there was also plenty of physics stuff this week: the first measurement of a nuclear strong force for...

074/366: Gotham City

This is a pure document-my-day shot, not one of my random attempts at artsy effects. One of The Pip’s birthday presents was a big vinyl wall decal from Chic Walls, a gift from Aunt Erin in California. These are a little complicated to install, and SteelyKid being sick messed up the whole week, but I…

Powdered glue goes on dry and sticks when squished

A new powdered form of adhesive is dry and pourable, meaning it can stick in hard-to-reach places and to rough materials

Quantum dilemma: We have too many options for explaining reality

There are many ways to interpret the weirdness of quantum theory. Now a group of 70 physicists has considered them all

073/366: Doubly Social

Another day with a staged-for-talk-prep photo: I needed a picture of social-media apps on computer screens for an upcoming talk, so I took one. After first tweeting a cute-kid photo: Cute-kid photo because I want to take a picture of Twitter to use in a talk. — Chad Orzel (@orzelc) November 12, 2015 Yeah,…

One Hundred Years of Certitude

Since the early Summer I've been working (with the help of several people at USC) toward a big event next Friday: A celebration of 100 years since Einstein formulated the field equations of General Relativity, a theory which is one of...Show More Summary

The Higgs mass mystery: Why is everything so light?

Our best models can't explain why the mass-giving Higgs boson is so small. Resurrecting a 40-year-old idea could put this riddle and two others to rest

Giving physics students options

Many physics degree programs excel at preparing students for an academic career, but more than half head to industry instead. “I was drawn to physics because I thought it was amazing,” says Crystal Bailey, recalling the beginnings of her graduate work in the early 2000s. Show More Summary

A year at 13 TeV

A week ago the LHC finished the 2015 run of 13 TeV proton collisions. The counter in ATLAS stopped exactly at 4 inverse femtobarns. CMS reports just 10% less, however it is not clear what fraction of these data is collected with their magnet switched on (probably about a half). Show More Summary

072/366: What ISO Means to Me

It’s a grey, dismal, rainy day here at Chateau Steelypips, and I’m a little groggy from cold medication. Which means it’s not a great writing day, but it is a good day to stay inside and do a little SCIENCE! for the photo of the day. thus, this: This is a small assortment of toys…

Dark matter’s newest pursuer

Scientists have inaugurated the new XENON1T experiment at Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. Researchers at a laboratory deep underneath the tallest mountain in central Italy have inaugurated XENON1T, the world’s largest and most...Show More Summary

071/366: Levee of Leaves

Spent all day yesterday with SteelyKid, who, while she was officially medically diagnosed as suffering from strep throat, was not in any conventional sense “sick.” We built Lego sets, watched tv, went shopping, played with an RC helicopter, tried and failed to make a physics video, and generally wore me out. so you get another…

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