Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What Is Dark Matter And Why Does It Matter?

First of all, let me explain something If you are not in an academic institution, or a research facility, etc., you may not know that for many of us, having regular, sometime weekly, colloquium or seminars is quite common. This is where we invite experts in various topics come to our institution or department and present a talk on a particular subject. I, myself, have given such seminars. This is how we learn about many things, often topics outside of our expertise or area of studies, and we learn about these things from authorities in these various fields. It is one of the unique privileges that we enjoy being in such an environment.

In other words, we do not learn about these topics from popular media, or even from 2nd or 3rd hand sources. And this usually takes time, i.e. it can't be done in short sound bites or in a few minutes.

I'm prefacing this video with such information because this is an example of a colloquium that we typically attend, and if you are not used to it, it may appear tedious to sit through an hour of such presentation. But there is usually no other way to learn about things, especially if you wish to learn about something beyond just a superficial level.

I've mentioned about dark matter many times on here, but here's another one. It is presented in a manner that even non-scientists may understand, even if you do not understand some of the intricate details.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Lawrence Krauss Responds To Allegations

I'm posting this here simply because I reported the original news article against Krauss. It is only fair to include his rebuttal on this issue, and I'll let you decide on your own.

As an instructor, I've gone through various Title IX and sexual harassment prevention training. And at least a couple of years ago, I've stopped having officer hours in my office. Instead, it is held in a public space, either in an open classroom or in an open lounge. I'm more weary of what I do an say, and also my surroundings in trying to make sure I do not put myself in a situation where I may get accused of something. It isn't comfortable having to always be on my toes, but that is what I have lived with.

Not sure if any of you instructors/college professors have changed the way you do your work in light of what has developed so far. But I know I certainly have.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Electron Remains Perfectly Point-Like

The latest and most accurate experiment to detect any hint of an electric dipole moment of an electron has revealed that there isn't any.

Now, the Advanced Cold Molecule Electron Electric Dipole Moment, or ACME, search, based at Harvard University, has probed the electron’s EDM with the most precision ever — and still found no sign of smooshing, the team reports online October 17 in Nature.

The finding improves the team’s last best measurement (SN Online: 12/19/13) by a factor of 10 to find an EDM of 10-29 electron charge centimeters. That’s as round as if the electron were a sphere the size of the Earth, and you shaved less than two nanometers off the North Pole and pasted it onto the South Pole, says Yale University physicist David DeMille, a member of the ACME team.

This improves upon the previous measurement that I mentioned a year ago. Looks like if any theory predicts the possible structure of an electron, they have some severe constraints to overcome.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Time Crystals

Ignoring the theatrics, Don Lincoln's video is the simplest level of explanation that you can ask for for what a "time crystal" is, after you strip away the hyperbole.


Friday, October 05, 2018

RIP Leon Lederman

One of the most charismatic physicists that I've ever met, former Fermilab Director and Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman, has passed away at the age of 96. Most of the general public will probably not know his name, but will have heard the name "God Particle", which he coined in his book, and which he originally intended to call the "God-Damn Particle".

He had been in failing health, and suffered from dementia. It force his family to auction off his Nobel Prize medal to help with his medical cost. But his lasting legacy will be in his effort to put "Physics First" in elementary and high school. And of course, there's Fermilab.

He truly was, and still is, a giant in this field.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

2018 Nobel Prize in Physics ... FINALLY, after 55 years!

I seriously thought that I'd never see this in my lifetime, and I'm terribly happy that I was wrong!

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics has just been announced, and for the first time in more than 50 years, one of the winners is a woman!

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was awarded “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with one half to Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems”, the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses”.

Congratulations to all, and especially to Donna Strickland.

I will admit that this wasn't something I expected. I didn't realize that the area of ultra-short laser pulses was in the Nobel Committee and nomination radar. But it is still very nice that this area of laser pulse-shaping technique is being recognized.