Finding That There’s Nothing to Find

In 1967, a team of scientists hauled a big pile of gear– electronics, particle detectors, a giant slab of iron– into the burial chamber at the base of one of the pyramids at Giza. This sounds like a scene from a science fiction or fantasy novel– throw in the fact that their first attempt was […]

Individualists, Working Together

An article titled “Individualism: The legacy of great physicists,” by Ricardo Heras. crossed my various social media feeds a half-dozen times on Tuesday, so I finally broke down and read it, and I’m puzzled. The argument is very straightforward– single-author publications used to be common, now they’re not, this might indicate a lack of truly […]

One, Two, Many, Lots: Investigating the Start of Many-Body Physics

Two papers with a similar theme crossed my social media feeds in the last couple of days. You might think this is just a weird coincidence, but I’m choosing to take it as a sign to write about them for the blog. So, what are these papers, and what’s the theme? One is the final […]

On Private Science Funding

A couple of weeks back, DougT won this year’s Nobel betting pool, and requested a post on the subject of funding of wacky ieas: could you comment on this: and the phenomenon of the uber-rich funding science in general. It seems to me that there used to be more private funding of science, and […]

Historical Physicist Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about Halloween costumes– SteelyKid is apparently planning to re-use her Peter Pan outfit from last year– and the conceptual costumes post from a while back has proved enduringly popular at this time of year. If you’re not into conceptual art, though, maybe some historical cosplay […]

Free, As In Energy

Via social media, John Novak cashes in a Nobel Betting Pool win from a while back, asking: Please explain to me the relationship between energy, entropy, and free energy. Like you would explain it to a two year old child. Why? There is a statistical algorithm called Expectation Maximization which is often explained in terms […]

Sick Dude Day

The Pip has pinkeye. Again. This means he can’t go to day care for at least one day, which means I’m home with him for the morning, and Kate will tag in at lunchtime so I can go teach my class. This, in turn, means that you don’t get any substantive blogging today, because the […]

Quantum Erasure

When I posted congratulating the winner of this year’s Nobel betting pool, I received a gentle reminder in email that I’m a Bad Person and still haven’t done one of the posts I owe to the 2011 winners. Evan reminded me that he asked for something about the delayed-choice quantum eraser, so let’s talk about […]