Method and Its Discontents

Given that I am relentlessly flogging a book about the universality of the scientific process (Available wherever books are sold! They make excellent winter solstice holiday gifts!), I feel like I ought to try to say something about the latest kerfuffle about the scientific method. This takes the form of an editorial in Nature complaining […]

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 […]

Simple Answers to Stupid Rhetorical Devices

Over at Scientific American, John Horgan has a blog post titled In Physics, Telling Cranks from Experts Ain’t Easy, which opens with an anecdote any scientist will recognize: A couple of decades ago, I made the mistake of faxing an ironic response to what I thought was an ironic faxed letter. The writer–let’s call him […]

Strongly Correlated Physics in a Superposition State

It’s been a while since I posted anything science-y, and I’ve got some time between flipping pancakes, so here’s an odd thing from the last few weeks of science news. Last week, there was an article in Nature about the wonders of string theory applied to condensed matter physics. This uses the “AdS/CFT” relationship, by […]

Physics Is All About Analogies

Regular commenter onymous left a comment to my review of Warped Passages that struck me as a little odd: The extended analogy between the renormalization group and a bureaucracy convinced me that she was trying way too hard to make sophisticated concepts comprehensible. Also, I’m not really sure that analogies are the best way to […]

Warped Passages by Lisa Randall

I have nothing useful or interesting to say about electoral politics, but I suspect that’s all people will want to read about today. So here’s a book post that’s been backlogged for quite a while. Lisa Randall’s Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions dates from 2005, and was, I think, part […]

Big News in Tiny Physics

A couple of significant news items from the world of particle physics: There was a conference on neutrino physics recently, and the big news from there is that two experiments measure something funny with neutrino oscillations, namely that the oscillations seem to proceed at different rates for neutrinos and antineutrinos. This is a really surprising […]

Cathedral-Building in Science

Tommaso Dorigo has an interesting post spinning off a description of the Hidden Dimensions program at the World Science Festival (don’t bother with the comments to Tommaso’s post, though). He quotes a bit in which Brian Greene and Shamit Kachru both admitted that they don’t expect to see experimental evidence of extra dimensions in their […]