General · Language · Media

Equal footing in quantum physics

So, regarding interaction of matter, there’s a major inversion of perspective between classical physics and quantum field theory (QFT): hallmarked particles which create fields vs. excitations created (and destroyed) in ubiquitous extant fields. As Ethan Siegel said: … in quantum field theory, quantum fields aren’t generated by matter. Instead, what we interpret as “matter” is… Continue reading Equal footing in quantum physics

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Biggest ideas in the universe – Sean Carroll chats concepts

[Communicating science series] While we’re all doing stay-at-home, theoretical physicist Sean Carroll created a chat-from-home series on his YouTube channel. Usually each informal talk (so not lecture-like organization) has a followup Q&A video. The Biggest Ideas in the Universe is a series of videos where I talk informally about some of the fundamental concepts that… Continue reading Biggest ideas in the universe – Sean Carroll chats concepts

Diagram · General · Language

Our friend the atom, mostly empty space?

[Communicating science series] This is a concept often espoused by science popularizers over the decades. Even the background for plot vouchers in some sci-fi adventures. An amazing fact: We and everyday objects around us are mostly empty space! So, miniaturize matter. Fantastic Voyage! Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Downsizing. That’s why superman could walk through… Continue reading Our friend the atom, mostly empty space?

Book · General · Language

Laplace’s demon RIP? – demons of physics

[“Quantum foundations” series] Demons in physics? Well, historically as fanciful ways to explore theories using skilled marvels – an illuminating rather than malevolent context. Pure imagination, not imagineering, eh. Physicist James Clerk Maxwell created a thought experiment in 1867. His idea involved a fantastical “finite being” able to sort molecules of a gas. Rarified acuity… Continue reading Laplace’s demon RIP? – demons of physics

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Proton soup – a turbulent, dynamically complicated structure

I read more articles this past week about research on the proton. Some refined measurements. Some better insights into topics in quantum theory. Rather than add comments to related posts, I decided that a new post was appropriate. It struck me that the proton, as a composite particle (“particle” in the sense of an excitation… Continue reading Proton soup – a turbulent, dynamically complicated structure

General · Language · Media

Quantum physics myths – communicating science

[Communicating science series] [Draft] Communicating science is more important that ever in this era. Elsewhere I’ve posted various visualizations, including Online Video, which convey physics concepts at different levels of difficulty. And I continue to seek better visualizations of quantum field theory, demonstrating the disconnect from our everyday experience while using metaphors which avoid (to… Continue reading Quantum physics myths – communicating science

General · Media · Photo

Our ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – a meditation

The daily grind. Global threats. Political chaos. The coronavirus … Perhaps a calming meditation? Our shared place in the cosmos, our ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – a tiny blue speck shining in space. Notes Space.com > “‘Pale Blue Dot’ shines anew in Carl Sagan Institute video to mark iconic photo’s 30th anniversary” by Chelsea Gohd (February… Continue reading Our ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – a meditation

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Celebrating Spitzer space telescope – seeing the invisible for 16 years

As noted in my post on X-rays, looking beyond what our eyes can see – seeing what is hidden to visible light – tells a better cosmic story. Multi-wavelength observations refine and extend our view of the universe beyond our familiar vision. So, today we celebrate the Spitzer space telescope, one of NASA’s great space… Continue reading Celebrating Spitzer space telescope – seeing the invisible for 16 years

General · Language · Media · Photo

Tiny grains tell a stellar story

Imagine a grain of fine beach sand. What’s its size? Classification scales vary, but let’s say less than a tenth (0.1) of a millmeter (mm). A grain of table salt. Same question. Maybe ~0.3 mm. In either grain there are a gazillion molecules. Now imagine something a thousand (1000) times smaller – a micrometer-sized grain.… Continue reading Tiny grains tell a stellar story

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Celebrating Hubble – 30th anniversary year

Who would have expected the Hubble Space Telescope (often referred to as HST or Hubble) to still be in operation after being launched into low Earth orbit in 1990? So, NASA/ESA kickstarted its 30th anniversary with some majestic galactic photos. Wiki: Five Space Shuttle missions have repaired, upgraded, and replaced systems on the telescope, including… Continue reading Celebrating Hubble – 30th anniversary year