Old Theories As Limits of New Ones -- Theoretical physicist, Lubos Motl, takes a brief tour through the history of physics, and explains the simple mathematical relationship of old theories to the theories that replace them.
At the beginning of last month, Scientific American unveiled a new network of 47 blogs with 55 bloggers. Their latest posts can be found here. [more inside]
Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
We've observed antimatter being created in thunderstorms(previously) and we've created antimatter at CERN.(previously) and (previously) The first experiments, announced last November, were able to trap antimatter for about 1/10th of a second; not long enough to study and analyze it properly. Now the Alpha experiment at CERN has announced that they have successfully trapped anti-hydrogen for 1000 seconds. Nature article preprint from arxive.org
The concept of time as a way to measure the duration of events is not only deeply intuitive, it also plays an important role in our mathematical descriptions of physical systems. For instance, we define an object’s speed as its displacement per a given time. But some researchers theorize that this Newtonian idea of time as an absolute quantity that flows on its own, along with the idea that time is the fourth dimension of spacetime, are incorrect. They propose to replace these concepts of time with a view that corresponds more accurately to the physical world: time as a measure of the numerical order of change.
Rumor Sweeping World's Science Community that CERN's LHC has Detected the Higgs Boson -The "God Particle"
Rumor Sweeping World's Science Community that CERN's LHC has Detected the Higgs Boson -The "God Particle" The controversial rumor is based on what appears to be a leaked internal note from physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland. It's not certain at this point if the memo is authentic, or what the data it refers to might mean — but the note has sent the physics community into full buzz mode.
The science education video series Sixty Symbols (previously) explores the Cadbury Creme Egg. [more inside]
"The Earth tide is a little-known daily event, similar to the oceans' more familiar tides. But the sun and moon's gravity doesn’t just pull on water, it deforms the Earth itself, causing the ground beneath us to bulge toward the pulling heavenly body." [more inside]
Horizon asks "What is reality?" -- youtube for links for those outside the UK: 1, 2, 3, 4. It's a hard question. To help you answer it, Stanford has a set of free courses available on line by Leonard Susskind: General Relativity, Cosmology, New Revolutions in Particle Physics, Quantum Entanglement, Special Relativity, Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, The Standard Model. (Each link is to lecture 1 of a full college course of a dozen or so lectures.) If you need help with the math, the Khan Academy should help get you up to speed.
The Royal Society's lost women scientists. Women published in the Royal Society, 1890-1930. Most influential British women in the history of science. Women at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Heroines of Science. Women Biochemists, 1906-1939. Women in Science. Previously: The Women of ENIAC.
Circular jumps (previously) form when you turn on your tap and the water lands in a thin circular disk with a raised lip. Jannes et al have now shown that circular jumps are examples of hydrodynamic white holes: waves can escape the jump, but not enter it. [more inside]
Scientists have finally discovered tyhe physics of how cats drink.
(MLYT) Danyk666 and his microwave oven, danyk and his unshielded Source, danyk's little jacob's ladder, danyk heats water, zaps a CD, uses wrong AC power. Also hairspray high-volt abuse, his flyback transformer no workee (wait for it), carbon scoring on your droids? And danyk's small shaded-pole motor ...OF DEATH!!! [more inside]
Don't continue fooling yourself. The earth is growing and expanding rapidly. Despite plate tectonics' popular acceptance in the 60s, Samuel Warren Carey, the father of modern expansion tectonics, was publicly promoting his theories of an expanded earth as late as 1981. One of the theory's most prominent modern spokesmen is comics artist Neal Adams, who has created a number of informative videos about a new model of the universe that even manages to explain why the dinosaurs died out. [more inside]
Physicist Erik Verlinde proposed in a recent paper that the force of gravity can be derived from the principles of thermodynamics. NY Times explains. [Physicist Lee] Smolin called it, “very interesting and also very incomplete.”
Inspired by a talk by Dr. Robert W. Bussard, Mark Suppes, a web developer by day, has built his own nuclear fusion reactor. [more inside]
Scientists supersize quantum mechanics. "A team of scientists has succeeded in putting an object large enough to be visible to the naked eye into a mixed quantum state of moving and not moving."
Double Full Full Full, annotated (NYT video, reg REq'd) U.S. Olympic Team aerial skier Ryan St. Onge and a science reporter describe via video the physics going on as he executes a triple backflip with four twists. Also, the snowboard halfpipe. (Don't ask me why a triple backflip with four twists is called a "double full full full")
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences is a 1960 essay by Eugene Wigner. Via Steve Strogatz.
From 1980 - 1988, a science education series called 3-2-1 Contact ran on PBS. Produced by Children's Television Workshop, the series was geared toward an older audience than other popular CTW offerings Sesame Street and The Electric Company, and focused on teaching kids about science, math and the world around them. [more inside]
The World's Smallest Snowman is 10 µm across, 1/5th the width of a human hair. The snowman was made from two tin beads used to calibrate electron microscope astigmatism. The eyes and smile were milled using a focused ion beam, and the nose, which is under 1 µm wide (or 0.001 mm), is ion beam deposited platinum.
"Fun To Imagine" is a BBC series from 1983 featuring theoretical physicist Richard Feynman thinking aloud. What is fire? How do rubber bands work? Why do mirrors flip left-right but not up-down? All is explained in his lovely meanderingly lucid manner. [more inside]
To celebrate the start of its 350th year, the Royal Society has put online 60 of its most memorable scientific papers. [more inside]
CERN has successfully circulated beams in the Large Hadron Collider. This news was announced via Twitter, where they will be accepting questions for an upcoming press conference; in the meantime, check out explanatory videos on their YouTube channel, some lively podcasts, or an overview of particle physics on their website. The home of the Web has done a pretty good job keeping up with technology. (previously)
Scientists image single molecule with atomic force microscopy. See the original abstract in Science. CNET reproduces a representation of the experiment.
TOE breaking Lorentz invariance - "by treating space and time differently as well as separately, the infinities in the quantum mechanics equations vanish, and gravity behaves as it should." [more inside]
What Periodic Videos did for chemistry, Sixty Symbols is doing for physics and engineering. Some behind the scenes action and general scienciness. [more inside]
Genesis Revisited scientifically summarises the scientific field of Creation Science (warning: science) [transcript]
Pascal Boyer explores the field of crackpottery in his article How I found glaring errors in Einstein's calculations. "For some time now, I have been an avid reader and collector of webpages created by crackpot physicists, those marginal self-styled scientists whose foundational, generally revolutionary work is sadly ignored by most established scientists. These are the great heroes, at least in their own eyes, of alternative science." [more inside]
Episode 4 - Problems "Okay, sometimes I almost want to give up everything." A fascinating insight into the Large Hadron Collider (loving the soundtracks too). YTL
World of Science contains budding encyclopedias of astronomy, scientific biography, chemistry, and physics. This resource has been assembled over more than a decade by internet encyclopedist Eric Weisstein with assistance from the internet community. MeFi visited Weisstein's Mathworld a couple years ago.
CERN Podcast - Lighthearted chats at the CERN laboratory with "a bit of particle physics thrown in". Featuring visits from British satirists and comedians, including Chris Morris and Kevin Eldon.
Scientists from the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland have managed to teleport information from one isolated atom to another over a distance of one meter, without it ever crossing space. Here's how they did it. [more inside]
There used to be this problem you see, until one of our own kindly settled it. His services are desperately needed once again.
Confirmed: Scientists Understand Where Mass Comes From. An exhaustive calculation of proton and neutron masses vindicates the Standard Model. Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations.
Is the Multiverse Real? Discover takes a look at theories that our universe is one of many. This blogger adds some interesting commentary. via
"...the best place to hide bulls**t is in a refereed journal that’s not open-access!" The math-physics blog n-category cafe digs into the curious case of M.S. El Naschie. El Naschie is editor-in-chief of the journal Chaos, Solitons, and Fractals, published by the well-respected scientific publisher Elsevier and sold to academic libraries for US$4,520 a year. The problem? El Naschie has published 322 of his own papers in the journal -- papers that John Baez (of "This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics" and "The Crackpot Index") describes as "vague, dreamlike imagery," "undisciplined numerology larded with impressive buzzwords," and "total baloney." Is El Naschie a reverse Sokal? Or a Markov process for producing random publishable papers? One thing's for sure -- he knows how to cure cancer.
The DiVincenzo Code [youtube trailer, geekery]. Faced with a strict demand from a funding agency to allocate research funds towards the dissemination of research ideas to the public, an experimental physics group at the University of Oxford produced a feature-length (55 min) action thriller about murder, ancient prophecy, tea breaks, and quantum computation. [more inside]
Quantum of culture. Terminology from quantum theory shows up frequently in art, films, poetry and sculpture. Robert P. Crease gauges the impact of quantum mechanics on popular culture. [Via]
Star Stories explains the life and death of stars using a multimedia approach that incorporates images, animation, video and text. From the official website of the Nobel Foundation. Don't miss out on the other cool games . [more inside]
The ALICE Collaboration is building a dedicated heavy-ion detector to exploit the unique physics potential of nucleus-nucleus interactions at LHC energies. The aim is to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where the formation of a new phase of matter, the quark-gluon plasma, is expected. This website aims both at introducing non-initiates to the field of physics covered by ALICE and at providing regular information on the evolution of the experiment, with detailed reports of its results and analysis.