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The flow of emails within the block inbox

As a diversion from the important topics of shaming, anti-shaming, and anti-anti-shaming, I thought I’d share a little email exchange (with my interlocutor’s kind permission), which gives a good example of what I find myself doing all day...Show More Summary

The Schrödinger Sessions: Now Accepting Applications

I’ve updated the detailed blog post describing our summer workshop introducing writers to quantum physics to include a link to the application form. For the benefit of those who read via RSS, though, and don’t follow me on Twitter: the application form is now live, and will be for the next few weeks. We expect…

Thankful for UnThanks

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

On the strength of Becky Unthank's guest appearance on a wonderful and heart-rending song ("So to Speak") on Sting's fantastic 2013 album "The Last Ship", I decided to hear more. Wonderful... It is impossible to properly describe Becky's...Show More Summary

Revamped LHC to get first taste of protons

Engineers plan to send 40 trillion protons through sections of the Large Hadron Collider during tests this weekend. The world’s largest particle accelerator is gearing up for its second run. This weekend engineers will test it by firing...Show More Summary


2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

So here's a funny thing. I had to renew my driver's licence the other day, in person at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It was time to get a new picture and have my eyes tested. Somehow, because I've not found time to get to the optometrist for some time beyond when I was due, the 'eyes tested' part began to worm its way into my mind. Show More Summary

Fermi Pipeline Problems

There was some Twitter chatter the other night about a new arxiv paper called The Gender Breakdown of the Applicant Pool for Tenure-Track Faculty Positions at a Sample of North American Research Astronomy Programs: The demographics of the field of Astronomy, and the gender balance in particular, is an important active area of investigation. A…


2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Been a bit tough to find time for any serious gardening effort recently, due to... you know. I anticipated this, however, and one of the things I did back in December was prep some open spaces and liberally sow a bunch of wildflower [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

A second chance at a PhD in physics

At each step on the path to a physics PhD, the percentage of students from underrepresented groups drops. The APS Bridge Program aims to fix that. Carlos Perez, a physics graduate student at the University of South Florida, can tell you all about his research studying exotic materials that could be key to developing next-generation solar panels. Show More Summary

The Two-Box Addition Game

SteelyKid’s school does a “March Math Madness” thing, and this year all the kids in her class are being asked to practice “Math Facts” for ten minutes a night. This appears to be motivated by some requirement that students be able to rattle off basic addition problems at high speed. So there are flash cards…

SteelyKid, Space-Babies, and Transformative Music

As previously mentioned, SteelyKid has started to get into pop music. In addition to the songs in that post, she’s very fond of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” like every other pre-teen girl in the country, and also this Taylor Swift song: I’ve seen a bunch of people rave about this, but honestly, I found it pretty…

ELBNF is born

At approximately 6:15 p.m. CST on Jan. 22, 2015, the largest and most ambitious experimental collaboration for neutrino science was born. It was inspired by a confluence of scientific mysteries and technological advances, and midwifed by firm tugs from Fermilab, CERN and Brookhaven Lab. Show More Summary

A day in the life of a Black Hills WIMP hunter

The Black Hills of South Dakota may seem an unlikely location to hunt for dark matter, even if the name does seem fitting. If they are known for one thing, it’s gold -- and gold requires a mine. Gold mining means deep underground caverns,...Show More Summary

What BICEP2 Got Right

There has been a lot made of the fact that Planck and BICEP2 jointly released a paper last week saying that BICEP2's original claim of a discovery of proof that the very early universe expanded mindbogglingly quickly -- something that's...Show More Summary

So, you would like to go on sabbatical…

Every seven years or so a professor in a US/Canadian university can apply for a sabbatical leave. It's a very nice thing: your university allows you to catch up on your research, learn new techniques, write a book, etc. That is to say, you become a postdoc again.

A telescope that tells you when to look up

The LSST system will alert scientists to changes in space in near-real time. A massive digital camera will begin taking detailed snapshots from a mountaintop telescope in Chile in 2021. In just a few nights, the Large Synoptic Survey...Show More Summary

Announcing the Schrödinger Sessions: Science for Science Fiction

A few years back, I became aware of Mike Brotherton’s Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, and said “somebody should do this for quantum physics.” At the time, I wasn’t in a position to do that, but in the interim, the APS Outreach program launched the Public Outreach and Informing the Public Grant program, providing smallish grants…

Where Do I Come From?

It's the oldest question in the world: where do I come from? Genetics only takes us so far; our line of ancestors actually stretches back beyond our first single celled forebears. Chemistry proceeds biology, and before that the world was made only of protons, neutrons and electrons. Show More Summary

Detecting something with nothing

This article appeared in Fermilab Today on March 3, 2015. Researchers are one step closer to finding new physics with the completion of a harp-shaped prototype detector element for the Mu2e experiment. Mu2e will look for the conversion of a muon to only an electron (with no other particles emitted) — something predicted but never Read the full article

dublab at LAIH

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

(Click for larger view.) Mark ("Frosty") McNeill gave us a great overview of the work of the dublab collective at last Friday's LAIH luncheon. As I said in my introduction: ... dublab shows up as part of the DNA of many of the most engaging...Show More Summary

Excited Quarks and Early Discoveries at LHC Run II

In seven weeks CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest and most energetic particle accelerator in history, is scheduled to turn back on. The LHC has been shutdown since December 2012 in order for experimentalists to repair and upgrade the different detector experiments as well as the collider itself. Show More Summary

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