General · Language · Media · Photo

A ringed darkness at our Milky Way’s center – EHT images Sagittarius A*

[“Our Milky Way” series] Years in the works. The announcement had been anticipated for awhile. The big news was released today: First image of Black Hole at the center of our galaxy. Heart of the Milky Way, eh. This is about more than synthesizing an image from photos taken by “telescopes on high mountaintops” positioned… Continue reading A ringed darkness at our Milky Way’s center – EHT images Sagittarius A*

General · Language · Media

The scale of things – our solar system

[“Communicating science” series] This post celebrates communicating the cosmos at a scale local to the nearest star, our Sun. Our solar system. A recent Science Alert article acclaims a science communicator and his visualization of the scale of things. In this case, the scale of planets (also Ceres, Pluto, our Moon) and the Sun. Perhaps… Continue reading The scale of things – our solar system

General · Language · Media · Problem

What the heck is quantum entanglement?

[“Communicating science” series] [“Quantum foundations” series] [“What the heck” series] I’ve written about entanglement in prior posts and comments. Over a year ago, I also wrote some preliminary notes. A recent issue of The Caltech Weekly (April 14, 2022) prompted this post. In part because of my ongoing search for better, more compelling analogies (for… Continue reading What the heck is quantum entanglement?

Book · General · Language · Problem

Reductionism in quantum physics – a naturalness mire?

[Draft] [“Beyond the Standard Model” series] Background on the “crisis” This Quanta Magazine article (below) has an eye-catching title, but its gist relates to the hierarchy problem, which I discussed in a prior post. That 2017 post (and additionaL commentary) used quotes by physicists – Sean Carroll, Leon Lederman, Fermilab’s Don Lincoln (video) – and… Continue reading Reductionism in quantum physics – a naturalness mire?

General · Language · Media · Problem · Site

Quantum computing explained – 5 levels of difficulty

So, how is quantum physics connected with quantum computing? Ask people on the street “What is a quantum computer?” and you’ll likely get a variety of replies. Huh? Media buzz / hype, fiction / myths, degrees of reality / research. So, levels of understanding. A “classic” 2021 Wired article [1] re Majorana fermions included a… Continue reading Quantum computing explained – 5 levels of difficulty

General · Language · Media · TV

Online introductory physics course – The Mechanical Universe

[Communicating science series] The current Caltech Weekly (February 10, 2022) highlighted a vintage video series of lectures for an introductory university physics course. Originally produced in 1985, perhaps this content is covered at the high school (or even earlier) level. While cosmology and physics offer compelling narratives, modern science remains a relatively new way of… Continue reading Online introductory physics course – The Mechanical Universe

Diagram · General · Media · TV

Beyond Hubble – adventure begins for James Webb Space Telescope

• Follow Webb on Social Media: HASHTAGS #UnfoldTheUniverse #NASAWebb • Follow the adventure on NASA’s JWST blog • Track the space observatory on NASA’s JWST mission dashboard Much media buzz this morning on launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Wiki The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a space telescope developed by NASA with… Continue reading Beyond Hubble – adventure begins for James Webb Space Telescope

General · Language · Media

What the heck is superposition?

[Preliminary – requires clarification of the distinction between classical superposition (as for mechanical waves) and superposition that occurs in quantum mechanics (quantum superposition).] The linear venue Some grocery stores still have spring scales in the fresh produce section. Let’s say, just to get the raw weight, you use the scale to weigh some oranges –… Continue reading What the heck is superposition?

Book · General · Language · Problem

How stiff is space-time?

[Draft] If space-time is considered as a kind of material, then what properties make sense? Properties that can be observed, measured. In the context of General relativity, (aggregate) properties related to curvature and rippling. Like elasticity, stiffness. In the context of quantum physics, (discrete) properties related to quanta, energy density, charge, spin, entanglement. Like gradients,… Continue reading How stiff is space-time?

General · Language · Media · Problem

Reality of fields, language of particles – the Standard Model

[Communicating science] To understand contemporary physics, particularly quantum theory, the Standard Model is essential. This article includes an excellent video overview: • Quanta Magazine > Math Meets QFT > “A Video Tour of the Standard Model” by Kevin Hartnett, Senior Writer/Editor (July 16, 2021) (quote) Physicists would like to move beyond the Standard Model to… Continue reading Reality of fields, language of particles – the Standard Model