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

General · Language · Problem

Quantum superposition and spinors – a saga of electrons

[What’s changed in the last ~100 years] A recent Scientific American article reminded me that quantum spin underlies the stability of matter – without which there’d be no life. But the article prompted another dive into the “mathematical machinery” describing the quantum state of a single electron or a single photon. The Stern–Gerlach experiment established… Continue reading Quantum superposition and spinors – a saga of electrons

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 · Problem

What the heck is the holographic principle?

Time to jot down some notes about the Holographic Principle [1]. Something which I’ve been encountering in articles over the years. Typically in reading about string theory and quantum gravity. And black holes. But lately, in particular, in recasting (so-called) fundamantal particles as higher dimensional localizations in space-time. So that each represents just the “surface”… Continue reading What the heck is the holographic principle?

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?

General · Language · Problem

Getting and staying round – why are planets and moons spherical?

Imagine asking, à la a Jay Leno “Jaywalking” segment, some random people this question: “Why is our Moon round?” Or, “Why are planets always round (including the Earth) – like spheres – and not like a cube or a boulder or potato or other irregular solid?” Science communicator Ethan Siegel answered this question in a… Continue reading Getting and staying round – why are planets and moons spherical?

General · Language · Problem

Size of an atom to light-year sphere instantly – cosmic inflation’s burp

Any compelling origin story seeks to explain traits of someone or something. How past events shaped what we currently observe or experience. The Big Bang theory for the observable universe is a tall order.[1] (Wiki) The model … offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of observed phenomena, including the abundance of light elements,… Continue reading Size of an atom to light-year sphere instantly – cosmic inflation’s burp

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 · Problem

Particle lifetimes – live forever or die quickly?

[Draft] Why is everyday matter so stable? We take it for granted that the lifetime of (non-radioactive) atoms is billions of years. Same for the protons and neutrons in their nuclei (barring a high-energy interaction). Unlike protons, lifetimes are not the same for bound and unbound “free” neutrons. Beta decay. Sticking around for billions of… Continue reading Particle lifetimes – live forever or die quickly?