Sean Carroll

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    • Stephen Hawking’s Scientific Legacy March 16, 2018
      Stephen Hawking died Wednesday morning, age 76. Plenty of memories and tributes have been written, including these by me: “Stephen Hawking’s Most Profound Gift to Physics,” in The New York Times — a piece concentrating on black hole evaporation and … Continue reading →
    • Dark Matter and the Earliest Stars March 1, 2018
      So here’s something intriguing: an observational signature from the very first stars in the universe, which formed about 180 million years after the Big Bang (a little over one percent of the current age of the universe). This is exciting … Continue reading →
    • Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing? February 8, 2018
      A good question! Or is it? I’ve talked before about the issue of why the universe exists at all (1, 2), but now I’ve had the opportunity to do a relatively careful job with it, courtesy of Eleanor Knox and … Continue reading →
    • Guest Post: Nicole Yunger Halpern on What Makes Extraordinary Science Extraordinary January 29, 2018
      Nicole Yunger Halpern is a theoretical physicist at Caltech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM).  She blends quantum information theory with thermodynamics and applies the combination across science, including to condensed matter; black-hole physics; and atomic, molecular, and optical … Continue reading →
    • Beyond Falsifiability January 17, 2018
      I have a backlog of fun papers that I haven’t yet talked about on the blog, so I’m going to try to work through them in reverse chronological order. I just came out with a philosophically-oriented paper on the thorny … Continue reading →
    • 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 →