I Need a Pointless (But Cool) Graphic

At last weekend’s Hidden Dimensions event, Brian Greene had a graphic of a Calabi-Yau object (it wasn’t this one, but it’s the same idea). He put this up several times, but never actually explained what the hell it was supposed to show. It just looked kind of cool. Last week’s Through the Wormhole program segment […]

Exploring Hidden Dimensions at the World Science Festival

Since I was going to be down here anyway to sign books at the World Science Festival Street Fair, Kate and I decided to catch one of the Saturday events at the Festival. It was hard to choose, but we opted for the program on Hidden Dimensions: Exploring Hyperspace (Live coverage was here, but the […]

Evil Squirrels from Extra Dimensions

It’s been a very long day, so I’m lying on the couch watching “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN. They’re having a boring conversation about baseball, and I’m just drifting off into a pleasant doze when: “Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake! Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!“ I jolt awake. “What are you barking at?!?” I yell at the […]

Amazing Laser Application 6: LIGO!

What’s the application? LIGO stands for Laser Interferometer Graviitational Wave Observatory, because (astro)physicists feel free to drop inconvenient words when making up cute acronyms. This is an experiment to look for disturbances in space-time caused by massive objects, which would manifest as a slight stretching and compression of space itself. What problem(s) is it the […]

Belated March Meeting Wrap-Up

I did one sketchy update from Portland last Tuesday, but never wrote up my impressions of the rest of the March Meeting– when I got back, I was buried in grading, and then trying to put together Monday’s presentation. And, for reasons that will become apparent, I was unable to write anything up before I […]

The Witten Thing

I had a bit of a discussion via Twitter with Eric Weinstein yesterday, starting with his statement: Ed Witten has no Nobel Prize. Now tell me again how this era’s physics just feels different because we are too close to it. Basically, he appears to feel that Witten is sufficiently smart that he ought to […]

…For Some Definition of Physical Reality

There’s a press release dated a week or two ago from Leiden University headlined “Physical reality of string theory demonstrated,” in an apparent bid to make Peter Woit’s head explode. The release itself is really pretty awful, with poorly explained and irrelevant pictures, and a really confusing description of what this is really about (in […]

Martin Rees Against Fundamentalism

There’s a really good article from Martin Rees in the latest issue of Seed, on the scientific challenges that won’t be affected by the LHC: The LHC hasn’t yet provided its first results, the much-anticipated answers to questions we’ve been asking for so long. But they should surely come in 2009, bringing us closer to […]