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Second gravitational wave detection announced

For a second time, scientists from the LIGO and Virgo collaborations saw gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes. Scientists from the LIGO and Virgo collaborations announced today the observation of gravitational waves...Show More Summary

Quick Items

In a couple hours, at 1:15 pm New York time, there will be a press conference at the AAS meeting where LIGO and Virgo scientists will discuss “ongoing research” (webcast here). The general assumption is that there will be observations … Continue reading ?

Oops, they did it again…!

(Well, not really oops... It's deliberate.) LIGO has announced another gravitational wave detection from a black hole merger! This time the black holes were 14.2 and 7.5 times the mass of the sun, and merged to form a new black hole of mass 20.8 times the mass of our sun, releasing a burst of energy [...]Show More Summary

The neutrino turns 60

Project Poltergeist led to the discovery of the ghostly particle. Sixty years later, scientists are confronted with more neutrino mysteries than ever before. In 1930, Wolfgang Pauli proposed the existence of a new tiny particle with no electric charge. Show More Summary

Some History of Science

The period of the “String Wars” has now receded far enough into the past that it has become a topic of interest to historians of science. I learned today from Sabine Hossenfelder’s round-up of various articles addressing the history and … Continue reading ?

CERN grants beam time to students

Contest winners will study special relativity and an Egyptian pyramid using a CERN beamline. Two groups of high school teams have beat out nearly 150 others from around the world to secure a highly prized opportunity: the chance to do...Show More Summary

279-283/366: Week in Photos

Shortened “week” this week, because I did the last photo dump on Tuesday. 80% of these are also from a single day, this Friday, when I decided to call a Mental Health Day and get away from stuff that was annoying me by driving down to Scoharie County to hike up Vroman’s Nose. 279/366: Road…

Physics Week in Review: June 11, 2016

There was a ton of fascinating physics news this week. Among the many highlights: first results from the LISA Pathfinder mission, the first experimental demonstration of a quantum enigma machine, and four new elements finally got their official names, completing...

Black hole dark matter

The idea that dark matter is made of primordial black holes is very old but has always been in the backwater of particle physics. The WIMP or asymmetric dark matter paradigms are preferred for several reasons such as calculability, observational opportunities, and a more direct connection to cherished theories beyond the Standard Model. Show More Summary

Physics Blogging Round-Up: Mundane Space, Spectroscopy, Changing Constants, Rest Energy, Magnetic Sensing, Wiffle Balls, and Revolutions

Another few weeks of physics blogging at Forbes, collected here for your convenience. — Commercialization Of Space: Three Cheers For The Mundane: Some belated but brief comments on the SpaceApps conference I went to down in NYC. — How Studying Atoms On Earth Helps Us Learn About Other Planets: As a snobby grad student in…

More Hands…

I realized the other day, while on the train constructing more hands, that in this book I'm saddled with drawing lots of hands - almost more than any other single thing. Why? Well, this is a set of ten separate conversations, and most of the conversations take place when the people involved are sitting together. Show More Summary

Short Items

String theory continues to make progress. Today the news is from Megan Fox: “Sometimes I just know things,” she explains. “I accidentally tap into stuff sometimes. I used to do it as a kid, and I do it as an … Continue reading ?

Daddy, why didn’t you blog about Trump?

A few days ago, Terry Tao, whose superb blog typically focuses on things like gaps in the primes and finite-time blowup in PDEs, wrote an unusual post, arguing that virtually everyone knows Donald Trump is unqualified to be President, so the challenge is “just” to make that fact common knowledge (i.e., to ensure everyone knows everyone knows it, […]

The neutrino cocktail

Neutrinos are a puzzling mixture of three flavors and three masses. Scientists want to measure it down to the last drop. For a neutrino, travel is truly life-changing. When one of the tiny particles ends its 500-mile journey from Fermilab’s...Show More Summary

Lightning Bolt vs. Charge

The Pip is nuts about superheroes, so when he and his speech teacher made a book, naturally, it introduced a new super hero: Lightning Bolt. It’s only a couple of sheets of paper folded in half and stapled, and the text and illustrations were done by his teacher, but the contents are 100% our Little…

276-278/366: Fun With Editing

Last in a series of themed collections of pictures. These ones are showcasing my rudimentary GIMP skills, pasting together multiple pictures into composites. 276/366: Sky-Bison for Scale One of the earliest happenings in the three-week period I’m dumping photos from was SteelyKid getting strep throat again. She spent a Friday at home, and I took…

268-275/366: Miscellaneous Photo Dump

This one, we’ll do sorta-kinda chronologically: 268/366: Niska-Parade One of the big temporal landmarks of the recent stretch without photo-blogging posts was “Niska-Day,” the annual community festival here. This kicks off with a parade, the route for which comes right to the end of our street. Here’s one of the first marching elements, the local…

257-267/366: Kids and Dog Photo Dump

Once again, I’ve let a very long time pass without posting photos. It’s been a crazy stretch for us, starting with SteelyKid getting yet another case of strep throat, then DAMOP, then a trip to my parents’ for Memorial Day weekend, then trying to recover from the previous. As with the last few, I’l group…

This Week’s Hype

One possible reaction to the phenomenon of hype in fundamental physics is to not worry much, figuring that it should be a self-limiting process. While there’s a huge appetite in the media and elsewhere for the “exciting new idea”, overhyped … Continue reading ?

Physics Week in Review: June 4, 2016

Among this week's physics highlights: the expansion of the universe is accelerating a lot faster than we thought, Schroedinger's cat can now be alive and dead in two places at once, and Isaac Newton once tried to invent his own...

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