Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Standard Model Interactive Chart

Symmetry has published a webpage of an interactive chart for the Standard Model of elementary particle. It is almost like a periodic table, but with only the most basic, necessary information. A rather useful link when you need just the basic info.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Yoichiro Nambu

This is a bit late, but I will kick myself if I don't acknowledge the passing of Yoichiro Nambu this past week. This person, if you've never heard of his name before, is truly a GIANT in physics, and not just in elementary particle. His work transcends any field of physics, and had a significant impact in condensed matter.

I wrote an entry on his work when he won the Nobel prize a few years ago. His legacy will live on long after him.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pentaquark Discovery - Here We Go Again!

I read with a combination excitement and skepticism of the report that LHCb may have seen not one, but two pentaquarks. The skepticism should be justified because previous claims of the discovery of such quarks have turned out to be false. Still, this one comes with a 9sigma statistics.

The LHCb team is confident that the particles are indeed pentaquarks that comprise two up quarks, one down quark, one charm quark and one anticharm quark. "Benefitting from the large data set provided by the LHC, and the excellent precision of our detector, we have examined all possibilities for these signals, and conclude that they can only be explained by pentaquark states," explains LHCb physicist Tomasz Skwarnicki of Syracuse University in the US. 

As always, and as with any other new and important claim, time will tell as more analysis and experiments are done. The public and the media, especially, need to understand that this is still a work in progress, as with any scientific endeavor.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Space Coffee

It's amazing how much physics and engineering go into just getting the ISS occupants to have their cup of Joe while on board the space station.

They should just open a Starbucks franchise up there. It would have been easier!


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

More Physics Of Bicycles

I've already covered the topic on why a bicycle can be balanced easier when it is in motion many times in this blog. But here's another entry on this matter, this time it is a video from Minute Physics. Unfortunately, the explanation comes too rapidly for one to actually understand this simply by listening (you may have to play the video a few times).


Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Physics Of Your Vehicle Gas Mileage

While fuel prices are not as high as they were a few years ago, gas/petroleum cost is always a factor in our lives if we drive often.

This article reveals the physics of your vehicle gas mileage, and what may cause it to be better or worse than others. We can add this to another entry on this similar topic that I posted earlier.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Don't Ask Siri To Divide 0/0

... unless you want a snarky remark about your personal life from her. You might get this response:

"Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn't make sense. And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends."


So, have you tried any other math questions with Siri and got similar amusing responses? Do share!


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

100 Years Of General Theory of Relativity

This is a nice Nature Physics article summarizing the history of the General Theory of Relativity, especially on the historical verification of Einstein's idea.

If you have access to Nature Physics articles, you might also want to read the link in this paragraph:

Not everyone embraced the theory, though: in a Commentary on page 518 Milena Wazeck discusses the anti-relativist movement of the 1920s and uncovers an international network of opponents. Without any attempt at engaging in scientific argumentation, the refuters considered themselves “the last defenders of true physics”. Wazeck sees parallels with adversaries of Darwinism or anthropogenic climate change.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I continue to be amazed that human beings have such short memory, and how we continue to repeat the same things or the same mistakes that had been done before.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

4 Common Misconception About Quantum Physics

I've been critical of several physics article that have appeared in Epoch Times, many of them verging on crackpottery. But I have to admit, this one is actually quite good. It details 4 important misconception that came out of QM.

My summary of these misconceptions are:

1. Quantum entanglement transfers information faster than c.

2. Consciousness is necessary to "collapse" wave-function.

3. QM is only valid at the subatomic level.

4. Wave-particle "duality".

You may read the article to get the details, but for an article designed for the general public, it is actually quite accurate and understandable.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gravitational Lensing

Here's a simple intro to gravitational lensing, if you are not familiar with it.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Quantum Superposition Destroyed By Gravitational Time Dilation?

This is another interesting take on why we see our world classically and not quantum mechanically. Gravitational time dilation is enough to destroy coherent states that maintain superposition.

With this premise, the team worked out that even the Earth's gravitational field is strong enough to cause decoherence in quite small objects across measurable timescales. The researchers calculated that an object that weighs a gram and exists in two quantum states, separated vertically by a thousandth of a millimetre, should decohere in around a millisecond. 

I think this is similar to Penrose's claim that gravity is responsible for decoherence of quantum states. It will be interesting if anyone can experimentally verify this latest theoretical finding.