[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
So, today I’m celebrating the Moon. The ancient mythology and modern physics of its stabilizing influence. Both the Moon’s natural prominence in the earthly sky and its regular cycle of phases as seen from Earth have provided cultural references and influences for human societies and cultures since time immemorial. After enjoying the full moon for… Continue reading Life and the physics of having a moon
Modern physics is full of demonstrations which confound our everyday experience. There are some oldies but goodies, like the feather and the hammer. Remember Apollo 15 (1971)? These demonstrations illustrate the limits of everyday experience and provide interesting historical lessons. • Physics World > “The legend of the leaning tower” by Robert P Crease (04… Continue reading The feather and the hammer
[Big Science, quantum foundations] While already following this Big Science project , 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!  I spent some time… Continue reading DUNE – digging for neutrinos, not spice
[“Quantum foundations” series] Force-less physics? No, I do NOT mean that the language of forces (electromagnetism, strong, weak, gravity) does not apply to our everyday experience or to physical descriptions. But only to a point, yes, as maybe counterproductive to deeper understanding. To getting beyond the Standard Model . To understanding how the wave function is… Continue reading A force-less physics?
[“Quest” series] This is a topic which I’ve followed for decades. A holy grail of physics: room temperature superconductivity. The physics of Cooper pairs: what makes two electrons pair up when their charge actually makes them repel each other? SciTechDaily > “Breakthrough in Understanding the Physics of High-Temperature Superconductivity” by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (May 12, 2020).… Continue reading Quest for room temperature superconductivity
[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
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?
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
[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