Schrödinger’s Cat at TED-Ed

The third of the videos I wrote for TED-Ed is now live: Schrödinger’s Cat: A Thought Experiment in Quantum Mechanics.This is using basically the same argument I outlined in this post, but with awesome animation courtesy of Agota Vegso. I’m impressed by how close the images that ended up in the video are to the […]

Nobel Prize for Blue LEDs

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for the development of blue LED’s. As always, this is kind of fascinating to watch evolve in the social media sphere, because as a genuinely unexpected big science story, journalists don’t have pre-written articles based on an early […]

Yes Virginia, There Are Quantum Jumps

In a weird coincidence, shortly after I wrote a post about “quantum leap” as a metaphor, I was looking up some stuff about John Bell and ran into mentions of a paper he wrote called “Are There Quantum Jumps?” Bell is borrowing a title from Schrödinger, who wrote a pair of articles (really, one article […]

Finding Extrasolar Planets with Lasers

On Twitter Sunday morning, the National Society of Black Physicsts account retweeted this: Using Lasers to Lock Down #Exoplanet Hunting #Space — ✨The Solar System✨ (@The_SolarSystem) September 28, 2014 I recognized the title as a likely reference to the use of optical frequency combs as calibration sources for spectrometry, which is awesome stuff. Unfortunately, […]

TED-Ed Lesson: What Is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?

The second one of the TED-Ed lessons I wrote about quantum physics has now been published: What Is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This is, again, very similar to stuff I’ve written before, specifically this old blog post and the relevant chapter of How to Teach [Quantum] Physics to Your Dog. As usual, I tried but […]

TED-Ed Lesson: The Central Mystery of Quantum Physics

My TED@NYC adventure last fall didn’t turn into an invite to the big TED meeting, but it did lead to a cool opportunity that is another of the very cool developments I’ve been teasing for a while now: I’ve written some scripts for lessons to be posted with TED-Ed. The first of these, on particle-wave […]

Nordita Workshop for Science Writers: Wrap-Up

I didn’t write a summary of the third day of “Quantum Boot Camp” to go with my Day One and Day Two summaries for a simple reason: I would’ve needed to do that on Saturday, and I spent Saturday in transit back to the US. More than that, though, it was harder to summarize than […]

Nordita Workshop for Science Writers, Day Two

The second day of the “Quantum Boot Camp” was much lighter on talks. The only speaker was Ray Laflamme from the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, who gave a nice introduction to quantum technologies. While he did spend a bit of time at the start going through Shor’s algorithm for factoring numbers (following up […]

Nordita Workshop for Science Writers, aka “Quantum Boot Camp”

Since this part of the trip is actually work-like, I might as well dust off the blog and post some actual physics content. Not coincidentally, this also provides a way to put off fretting about my talk tomorrow… I’m at the Nordita Workshop for Science Writers on quantum theory, which a couple of the attending […]

Millikan, Einstein, and Planck: The Experiment io9 Forgot

A couple of weeks ago, io9 ran a piece about the old accusations that Robert Millikan manipulated his data for the electron charge with the headlineDid a Case of Scientific Misconduct Win the Nobel Prize for Physics? that got a lot of attention. I wasn’t as impressed with this as a lot of other people, […]