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Happy Pip Day

Exactly three years ago today, The Pip arrived, in a manner that will allow him to kill Macbeth should that become necessary. This is the age where kids first become aware of the concept of birthdays, so he’s just a tiny bit excited about this. He’s a fast-developing Little Dude, chattering more and more every…

Quantum Mechanics and Spacetime in the 21st Century

This evening’s Hollywood-style entertainment came from the Perimeter Institute, where they had a big public event, live-streamed to the world, featuring Nima Arkani-Hamed speaking on Quantum Mechanics and Spacetime in the 21st Century. You should be able to watch the … Continue reading ?

The intersection of art and science

Particle physicists and scientists from other disciplines are finding ways to help one another answer critical questions. If you visit statistician and sculptor Edward Tufte’s farm in Connecticut, you’ll see something that gets to the...Show More Summary

Playground Physics: Angular Momentum, Video Homework

I’m teaching relativity in a course with an astronomy prefix, which means I’m obliged to talk about stars and stuff. Yesterday’s lecture was about neutron stars, and how their existence was confirmed by the discovery of pulsars (with the story of Jocelyn Bell Burnell included). This requires some discussion of angular momentum to explain how…

Your office door open or closed?

You can probably tell a lot about an organization by the doors on the offices. Walking down its hallways, do the occupied offices have their doors open or closed? I have no idea what it means about the workplace! The reason I’m writing about this is because I noticed how many people keep their doors […]

Scientists progress toward plasma acceleration

Scientists have demonstrated the particle acceleration technique is powerful and efficient enough to drive future accelerators. Scientists have proven that a technique for accelerating particles on waves of plasma is efficient enough...Show More Summary

Hollywood Theoretical Physics Week

Just got back from an opening night showing of the new sci-fi film Interstellar at the Ziegfeld theater here in New York. If you want some idea of what the film is about, trailers are here and here. Warning: spoilers … Continue reading ?

The rise of astrostatistics

Astrophysicists and cosmologists are turning to statisticians to help them analyze an ever-increasing deluge of data. In late 1801 the orbit of the newly discovered asteroid Ceres carried it behind the sun, and astronomers worried they had lost it forever. Show More Summary

Fabiola Gianotti chosen as next head of CERN

The former head of the ATLAS experiment at the LHC will be the first female leader of Europe's largest particle physics laboratory. Today the CERN Council announced the selection of Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti as the organization’s...Show More Summary

Last Week’s Hype

When looking at the nonsense spread around the media by this week’s university press-release-driven hype about string field theory “explaining quantum mechanics”, I realized that maybe I shouldn’t have ignored last week’s university press-release-driven hype, which was about the multiverse … Continue reading ?

This Week’s Hype

From commenter Hendrik, there’s the news that USC has put out a press release claiming that String Theory Could Be the Foundation of Quantum Mechanics. These claims are based on this paper, which argues that finding the Heisenberg commutation relations … Continue reading ?

News, Interesting and Otherwise

On the side of interesting good news, I just heard that yet another Fields Medalist has a blog. This time it’s David Mumford, who is blogging here, with his latest posting about path integrals. His website contains a wealth of … Continue reading ?

Academic Science Is Complicated, Like Scrabble

Blogging will continue to be light to nonexistent, as it’s crunch time in a lot of ways at the moment, including our double tenure-track search. Which it would be inappropriate to talk about in any more detail than “Wow, this is a lot of work.” There are, however, two academic-job-related things that I probably ought…

Building…

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Because evidently I am seldom more happy than when I'm engrossed in creating something... Yes, it is another building project. [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

Loafing Around

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Yes... I do still try to find time to make sure I slow down and make a batch of bread, roughly every week. The process of slowly kneading the dough, rolling and squeezing and folding again and again, is a good meditation. Then there's the reward of a house full of the smell of baking bread... [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

Reading the heavens with your phone

Two groups have released early versions of apps to turn your smart phone into a cosmic ray detector. Cosmic rays, most of which come speeding through the Milky Way from outside of our solar system, crash into the Earth’s atmosphere at...Show More Summary

Breakthrough Prize Ceremony

There’s a story in Variety this afternoon announcing that Seth MacFarlane will be the host this year for the ceremony in Silicon Valley announcing the 2015 Breakthrough Prizes. MacFarlane was the host of the 2013 Oscars. Other celebrities there to … Continue reading ?

Weekend Plot: Bs mixing phase update

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Resonaances

Today's featured plot was released last week by the LHCb collaboration: It shows the CP violating phase in Bs meson mixing, denoted as ?s, versus the difference of the decay widths between the two Bs meson eigenstates. The interest in...Show More Summary

Podcast on “Beyond the University”

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

That podcast from the Bedrosian Center series that I contributed to is now live! I mentioned it here, remember, and talked a bit about the book we discussed, "Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters", by Michael S. Roth....Show More Summary

Conceptual Physics Halloween Costumes 2014

A fine if somewhat intermittent tradition hereabouts has been the offering of high-concept Halloween costumes for people interested in physics, surfacing in 2010, 2012, and 2013. I’m a little too fried right now to do anything all that deep, but I’ll try to offer a few suggestions; see also these particle-physics suggestions from Symmetry magazine,…

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