Archive for January, 2008

Boy, do I feel silly. Apparently UK astro/particle (PPAN) physicists concerned about the STFC funding crisis have absolutely nothing to worry about because “UK physics has a brighter future,” at least according to STFC’s chief Keith Mason as reported by the BBC. Or as we would say back in the US, `Mission Accomplished.’ Speaking of […]

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In my previous post I drew the following one-loop contribution to the b to s flavour-changing amplitude: Diagrams such as the one above are a little sketchy because of the mass difference involved between the in- and out-states. For large mass differences, this brushes up against 4-momentum conservation. (Try boosting in to the b rest […]


In my previous post I introduced the CKM matrix (which I denote as ). I haven’t yet explained why this matters to you, but will take a brief detour to introduce something cute: the suppression of flavour-changing neutral currents by the non-degeneracy of quark masses. No tree-level FCNCs Before I go on to the most […]


Mars has a nice post about his frustrations with the collegiate universities. Between the two of us, we’ve studied at each of the UK’s three collegiate universities (Oxford, Cambridge, Durham), so I thought I’d reply with my own post. The following is based on my own observations as a foreigner. Colleges represent the intersection of […]


Here’s a update from the front lints of the UK young physicists’ plight in the STFC HEP/astro funding crisis. Last month, Bristol/CERN postgrad James Jackson organised a well-publicised letter from over 550 young physicists to the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities, and Skills. Today he received a response from the Minister of State for […]


This is the first of a few posts on flavour physics aimed at the level of a physics student. Quarks and leptons come in [at least, but probably only] three “flavors.” The up and down quarks make up just about all visible matter in the universe. The electron and neutrino mediate just about all of […]


I was brewing some herbal tea earlier this evening when I realised that my tea pot now has a small fracture. I am, apparently, destined to be another crack pot theorist. For more physicists reading the future, here’s a 2006 paper on `modelling society with statistical mechanics.’  The premise sounds a little bit like Isaac […]


Julius Lucks (a UCB Miller Fellow and former Cantabridgian) left a very neat comment on my post `If Digg ran the arXiv.’ He points out that http://arxiv.reddit.com does already exist, and then goes into some of the issues involved with such a system. Because I enjoyed the read so much I’m reproducing it here as […]


Project Gutenberg started it. Google does it on a large scale. Maybe your department library should do it on a small scale? What is it? Book ripping. Fear not, librarians—it’s not what it sounds like! `Ripping’ here means digitizing, in the same sense that one can `rip’ music from audio CDs into MP3s. Preparing for […]


Along with a few Christmas presents (including some American sweets), I have just received my Oct/Nov copy of Symmetry Magazine, which gives a sense of how long it can take to deliver mail overseas. This issue’s `deconstruction’  column highlights various parts of a CDF author list, including pointing out interesting stories associated with a few […]