Sean Carroll

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    • Thanksgiving November 24, 2017
      This year we give thanks for a simple but profound principle of statistical mechanics that extends the famous Second Law of Thermodynamics: the Jarzynski Equality. (We’ve previously given thanks for the Standard Model Lagrangian, Hubble’s Law, the Spin-Statistics Theorem, conservation … Continue reading →
    • Standard Sirens October 16, 2017
      Everyone is rightly excited about the latest gravitational-wave discovery. The LIGO observatory, recently joined by its European partner VIRGO, had previously seen gravitational waves from coalescing black holes. Which is super-awesome, but also a bit lonely — black holes are … Continue reading →
    • Mind-Blowing Quantum Mechanics October 13, 2017
      Trying to climb out from underneath a large pile of looming (and missed) deadlines, and in the process I’m hoping to ramp back up the real blogging. In the meantime, here are a couple of videos to tide you over. … Continue reading →
    • Joe Polchinski’s Memories, and a Mark Wise Movie September 8, 2017
      Joe Polchinski, a universally-admired theoretical physicist at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, recently posted a 150-page writeup of his memories of doing research over the years. Memories of a Theoretical Physicist Joseph Polchinski While I was … Continue reading →
    • A Response to “On the time lags of the LIGO signals” (Guest Post) June 18, 2017
      This is a special guest post by Ian Harry, postdoctoral physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam-Golm. You may have seen stories about a paper that recently appeared, which called into question whether the LIGO gravitational-wave observatory … Continue reading →
    • Congratulations to Grant and Jason! May 23, 2017
      Advising graduate students as they make the journey from learners to working scientists is one of the great pleasures and privileges of academic life. Last week featured the Ph.D. thesis defenses of not one, but two students I’ve been working … Continue reading →
    • The Big Picture: Paperback Day May 16, 2017
      I presume most readers of this blog have already purchased their copy of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. If you’re really dedicated, you have the hardback version and the ebook and the … Continue reading →
    • Guest Post: Nathan Moynihan on Amplitudes for Astrophysicists May 11, 2017
      As someone who sits at Richard Feynman’s old desk, I take Feynman diagrams very seriously. They are a very convenient and powerful way of answering a certain kind of important physical question: given some set of particles coming together to … Continue reading →
    • Is Inflationary Cosmology Science? May 10, 2017
      [tl;dr: Check out this article in Scientific American by Ijjas, Steinhardt, and Loeb suggesting that inflation isn’t science; this response by Guth, Kaiser, Linde, and Nomura that was co-signed by a bunch of people including me; and this counter-response by … Continue reading →
    • Marching for Science April 21, 2017
      The March for Science, happening tomorrow 22 April in Washington DC and in satellite events around the globe (including here in LA), is on the one hand an obviously good idea, and at the same time quite controversial. As in … Continue reading →