General · Language · Media

Quantum mechanics math basics – tasting the notation

[Communicating science series] All hail vector spaces! Imagine walking into an elementary school classroom and finding kids talking about quantum states. Depicting quantum interactions using diagrams and bra-ket manipulatives, for wave functions. Someday, eh. While we may never achieve Ernest Rutherford‘s notion of a quantum theory so simple that we can explain it to an… Continue reading Quantum mechanics math basics – tasting the notation

General · Language · Media · Site

DUNE – digging for neutrinos, not spice

[Big Science, quantum foundations] While already following this Big Science project [1], with construction underway (for the next 3 years), I felt that a specific post was appropriate. The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is a massive worldwide collaboration between countries, organizations, and over a 1000 scientists. All hail neutrinos! [2] I spent some time… Continue reading DUNE – digging for neutrinos, not spice

General · Language · Media

Black hole systems – communicating the cosmos

[Communicating science series] Today my post celebrates another science communicator, Fraser Cain, and his YouTube channel by the same name. This week, I noticed his video “Two Supermassive Black Holes Orbiting Each Other. Stephen Hawking Was Right!” (May 11, 2020). Well-done visualization. His channel description says: Space and astronomy news from Fraser Cain, publisher of… Continue reading Black hole systems – communicating the cosmos

General · Language · Media · Site

A shelf life for the universe?

While Sean Carroll’s latest chat-from-home presentations on his YouTube channel address the “biggest ideas” in the universe, other theoretical physicists explore whether our mind-boggling big universe has sort of a shelf life. A final reservation date, so to speak, at a fantastically socially-distanced restaurant at the end of the universe. Reference: Forbes > “What Will… Continue reading A shelf life for the universe?

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

General · Language · Media · Site

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

General · Language · Media · Site

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