Book · General · Media · Site

Celebrity and cultural phenomenon — Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking died last week. Lots of tributes in the media about his scientific legacy and life. Sean Carroll posted an article on his blog on March 16: “Stephen Hawking’s Scientific Legacy.” It’s particularly interesting. As a career physicist and cosmologist, Carroll met and interacted with Hawking over the decades. Early in his career Carroll turned… Continue reading Celebrity and cultural phenomenon — Stephen Hawking

Book · General · Language

Point particles RIP

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

Book · General

“Star man” as rock star

My meditation on our common sense, everyday experience of physics and the 10^n and 10^-n reality was facilitated by MSNBC this morning — there was a segment with Neil deGrasse Tyson promoting his latest book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. A brief Q&A offered some additional context and memorable quotes. For example, Galileo’s famous quote that “The… Continue reading “Star man” as rock star

Book · General · Language

Correspondence principle RIP

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

Book · General · Media · TV

How to create entangled photon pairs

Have you ever counted the number of things that you own which use lasers?1 One of the best know devices emerging from our understanding of quantum physics is the laser. Remember the meaning of the acronym? Laser pointers are cool, eh. We rely on lasers for communications, entertainment, health & safety, defense, retail services, manufacturing,… Continue reading How to create entangled photon pairs

Book · General · Language · Problem

Sisyphean hierarchy

In the chapter “Beyond this horizon,” Sean Carroll discusses two related problems involving properties of empty space. Before discussing the vacuum energy problem, he profiles the so-called hierarchy problem in the cosmic energy scale. It’s about the effects of virtual particles. The energy scale that characterizes the weak interactions (the Higgs field value, 246 GeV)… Continue reading Sisyphean hierarchy