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Exploratorium exhibit reveals the invisible

A determined volunteer gives an old detector new life as the centerpiece of a cosmic ray exhibit. Watch one of the exhibits in San Francisco’s Exploratorium science museum and count to 10, and you’ll have a very good chance of seeing...Show More Summary

74 Questions

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Hello from the Aspen Center for Physics. One of the things I wanted to point out to you last month was the 74 questions that Andy Strominger put on the slides of his talk in the last session of the Strings 2014 conference (which, you may recall from earlier posts, I attended). Show More Summary

“How Might Quantum Information Transform Our Future?”

So, the Templeton Foundation invited me to write a 1500-word essay on the above question.  It’s like a blog post, except they pay me to do it!  My essay is now live, here.  I hope you enjoy my attempt at techno-futurist prose.  You can comment on the essay either here or over at Templeton’s site.  Thanks […]

Do quarks grant confinement?

In 2010 I went to Ghent in Belgium for a very nice Conference on QCD. My contribution was accepted and I had the chance to describe my view about this matter. The result was this contribution to the proceedings. The content of this paper was really revolutionary at that time as my view about Yang-Mills […]

The NSA, NIST and the AMS

Among the many disturbing aspects of the behavior of the NSA revealed by the Snowden documents, the most controversial one directly relevant to mathematicians was the story of the NSA’s involvement in a flawed NIST cryptography standard (for more see … Continue reading ?

Helping cancer treatment hit its mark

A prototype CT scanner could improve targeting accuracy in proton therapy treatment. A prototype medical device developed by Fermilab and Northern Illinois University could someday reduce the amount of radiation delivered to healthyShow More Summary

My LonCon Schedule

Since lots of other people are posting their Worldcon progrm(me) schedules, I might as well share mine, too. Frankly, I find it a little baffling: Kaffeeklatsch Thursday 18:00 – 19:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL) Kay Kenyon, Chad Orzel Banksian Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL) ‘Banksian’ has become a commonplace descriptor in SF…

Tennis Ball Plus Soccer Ball Equals Blown Minds

As noted last week, I went to SteelyKid’s day camp on Tuesday to talk about being a college professor. This was a little awkward, because I was scheduled to talk to kids ranging from not-quite-three to six-and-a-bit, and really, what do they care about the daily routine of physics faculty? So, I did a simple…

Weekend Plot: Prodigal CRESST

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Resonaances

CRESST is one of the dark matter direct detection experiments seeing an excess which may be interpreted as a signal of a fairly light (order 10 GeV) dark matter particle. Or it was... This week they posted a new paper reporting on new data collected last year with an upgraded detector. Show More Summary

Scientists set aside rivalry to preserve knowledge

Scientists from two experiments have banded together to create a single comprehensive record of their work for scientific posterity. Imagine Argentina and Germany, the 2014 World Cup finalists, meeting after the final match to writeShow More Summary

Yes Amazon, I am Interested…

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

... in my own book! This is one of the more amusing emails I've received in recent days. Apparently there is no algorithm that checks you are not recommending to an author a copy of their own book. And no, I've no idea why this version is so expensive. Show More Summary

Dark Energy Discussion

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

I was sent an interesting link a while ago that I thought I would share with you. It is a really good discussion about Dark Energy - what do we think it is, why we think it exists, why some think it does not, and how to move forward with the discussion of what is, after all apparently most of our universe. Show More Summary

Mathematics Items

For an Oxford conference last week, Langlands contributed a one-hour video talk, filmed in his office. One hour was not enough, so hours two and three are also available, as well as a separate text, and some additional comments. The … Continue reading ?

Science inspires at Sanford Lab’s Neutrino Day

Science was the star at an annual celebration in Lead, South Dakota. At the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s seventh annual Neutrino Day last Saturday, more than 800 visitors of all ages and backgrounds got a glimpse of the high-energy...Show More Summary

The Angst of Being Positive

The surest sign that I’ve become a Real Author is that there are five months yet before Eureka comes out, and I’m already fretting about negative reviews. Negative reviews that haven’t happened yet, but that I know will come, in a particular form. The book, as you probably know from my prior ramblings on this…

What Sort of New Car Should I Buy?

We spent the weekend down in the Boston area, where Kate was doing stuff at Readercon and I was running the kids around the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science (nominally in the company of a friend form college and his family, and some of Kate’s cousins (respectively), but either SteelyKid or The…

The machine learning community takes on the Higgs

Detecting new physics isn’t quite like detecting cat videos—yet. Scientists have created a contest that invites anyone to use machine learning—the kind of computing that allows Facebook to spot your friends in photos and Netflix to recommend your next film—to search for the Higgs boson. More than 1000 individuals have already joined the race. Show More Summary

First Figs!

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Sorry for being a bit quiet the last week. I've ben working hard on a project and a lot of other things, and got snowed under. One of the things that has kept me busy has been the garden, and I am getting good rewards for my efforts. More later. The fig trees have begun their production of fruit, even after being [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

US reveals its next generation of dark matter experiments

DOE and NSF have announced their selection of three experiments for the second generation of dark matter searches. Two US federal funding agencies announced today the experiments they will support in the next generation of the search...Show More Summary

Seth Teller (1964-2014)

Seth Teller was a colleague of mine in CSAIL and the EECS department, and was one of my favorite people in all of MIT.  He was a brilliant roboticist, who (among many other things) spearheaded MIT’s participation in the DARPA Grand Challenge for self-driving cars, and who just recently returned from a fact-finding trip to […]

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