General · Language

QFT – How many fields are there?

[“Building a ‘verse” series] Ever since I started reading about Quantum Field Theory (QFT), I was interested in how physicists talk about fields. And the multiplicity of fields. And how quantum fields compare to classical fields. So, as I’ve written elsewhere, the basic notion is that every matter particle is an excitation (or localized vibration)… Continue reading QFT – How many fields are there?

General · Media · Site

Humans fit for space? — NASA’s Twins Study

[See comments for updates.] Today Wired.com (among others) published an article “Are Humans Fit for Space? A ‘Herculean’ Study Says Maybe Not” which summarizes NASA’s Twins Study which was published in Science (The NASA Twins Study: A multidimensional analysis of a year-long human spaceflight). Wired: In space, fluids won’t drain, and astronauts develop red, puffy… Continue reading Humans fit for space? — NASA’s Twins Study

General · Media · Photo

Photographing a black hole?

As teased earlier this month, today the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project announced and presented the first ever photographs of a black hole — “the last photon orbit.” Another epic story of big science and an international team. The interplay of models and simulations, data capture, and complex processing. And funding. Much news coverage. Here’s… Continue reading Photographing a black hole?

General · Language

Atomic tweezers — levitated optomechanics

[Topic placeholder] I’ve been following articles for awhile about micron, nanometer, and atomic level confinement and manipulation. The development of “optical tweezers” facilitated exploration of biological particles with sizes in the micrometer and nanometer range such as viruses and bacteria and subcellular components. Optical traps also facilitated exploring properties of trapped individual molecules and atoms.… Continue reading Atomic tweezers — levitated optomechanics

Book · Diagram · General · Media · Photo

Feynman’s legacy — quantum originality

Much has been written about Richard Feynman. Many tributes and books. Feynman wrote some books as well. But the inspiration for this post is an exhibit promoted for Caltech’s 82nd Annual Seminar Day and Reunion Weekend May 16 – 19, 2019. The Mind’s Eye: Richard Feynman in Word & ImageIn work and play, Richard Feynman… Continue reading Feynman’s legacy — quantum originality

General · Media

The future of (particle) physics?

I’ve encountered some articles recently about the current state of particle physics. Or, more broadly, “the direction of theoretical physics .” Concerns about its future. Whether new particle accelerators are needed (or even viable). An expensive rabbit hole. That research has become mired in wishful elegant mathematics. The absence of evidence being evidence of absence. I… Continue reading The future of (particle) physics?

General · Language · Media

Cosmological fact and fiction

In the last few months, I’ve been struck by how many articles have been published in the popular media and science news about black holes and the Big Bang. Mainstream physics and science communications (like phys.org, quantamagazine.org, etc) lately seem to be discussing more and more “mind blowing” geometries of the universe (or multiverse, eh).… Continue reading Cosmological fact and fiction

General · Language

A photon’s frame of spacetime — no rest for the massless

I’ve thought about this question for years. A FAQ. Imagine you’re traveling at the speed of light. Well, physics says that’s impossible. Mass’ gotcha. So, what can travel at the speed of light? Photons (not just the visible ones). So, imagine … does a photon “experience” space and time? Some weeks ago I recall reading… Continue reading A photon’s frame of spacetime — no rest for the massless

General · Media · TV

Holiday meditation – part of a cosmic perspective

This Scientific American post “A Thanksgiving Meditation in the Face of a Changing Climate” (November 21, 2018) is an interesting take on gratitude — from a cosmic perspective. And ESA’s video “Space Station 20th: longest continuous timelapse from space” is the type of thing which makes for interesting meditation as well. Here’s an excerpt from “A… Continue reading Holiday meditation – part of a cosmic perspective