I typically add samples of books to my Kindle library when considering purchases. While examining my Kindle library yesterday, I started reading a sample of Art Hobson’s 2017 book Tales of the Quantum: Understanding Physics’ Most Fundamental Theory and then became interested in his background. A Google search found biographical information, references to his books,… Continue reading Point particles RIP
As noted previously, quantum physics has struggled with infinities. A recent Space.com article on black holes reminded me of another part of that saga. Black holes serve as touchstones in several ways. Wiki: … there are some theoretical circumstances where the end result is infinity. One example is the singularity in the description of black… Continue reading Beyond the infinity of black holes
Buzz Lightyear‘s tag line “To infinity … and beyond” reminds me of the mantra in modern physics that the appearance of infinities in equations tells us that we don’t understand something, that our computational model has hit a wall, so to speak. Wiki: Sometimes an infinite result for a physical quantity may mean that the… Continue reading Infinity and beyond … under the rug
A trip down memory lane this week led me to the topic of this post. In exchanging emails with a fellow alumnus, I mentioned the book A Canticle for Leibowitz1 which we read in a freshman English class. He remembered the professor’s name. That led to an exploration of my file cabinets and the class… Continue reading Two cultures redux
Imagine a survey where you ask “How old is the universe?” as a multiple choice question: 1,000’s of years 100,000’s of years Millions of years Billions of years Other _______________ What would you expect as a result? Quite a mix? Well, among scientists this question is essentially settled, as indicated in some Space.com articles. “How… Continue reading Age of universe — implications?
This Space.com article “Solar Eclipse Science Helps Prove Einstein’s Relativity Theory in Nat Geo’s ‘Genius’” published on May 30, 2017, reminded me of the connection between the study of solar eclipses and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. While the U.S. prepares for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse coming on Aug. 21, National Geographic’s “Genius” recounts… Continue reading Solar eclipse and relativity — there is no Vulcan
While studying physics this past year, I noticed tension between theoretical and experimental physicists, especially between younger quantum field theoreticians and veteran particle physicists — regarding deep reality and the various formulations of quantum mechanics (addressed in another post). Revisiting some archived debates, this philosophical question (“Is reality digital or analog?”) was posed in an essay… Continue reading Is reality digital or analog?
In a May 5, 2017, article Space.com‘s Spaceman1 discusses why there’s much ado about the Higgs boson. Let’s be perfectly honest. The Higgs boson and its role in the universe are not the easiest things to explain. It doesn’t help that the Higgs has the horrible nickname of “the God Particle” and is often described as being… Continue reading Not so deific particle
In reading Louisa Gilder’s book The Age of Entanglement, I was reminded of Bohr’s correspondence principle1 (originally analogy principle and also referred to as “Bohr’s magic wand”). I hadn’t thought about it much lately. Other than a few times in Lederman’s book Quantum Physics for Poets, the term wasn’t referenced in the other physics books… Continue reading Correspondence principle RIP
Fermilab has an amazing presence on the Web. One of their sites is Fermilab at work. There’s a YouTube channel as well. There’s a splendid 10.5 minute video by Dr. Don Lincoln on “Why is the Weak Force weak?” Excellent graphics (including Feynman diagrams) and well presented. Published on Apr 14, 2017 The subatomic world… Continue reading Why is the Weak Force weak?