Archive for March, 2008

Litigious LHC


I know of people over 45 who read this blog, so I should include a link explaining the reference. Image adapted from T. Ricker and U. Kraus. In a courtroom drama better suited for Judge Judy than Boston Legal, a pair of cautious Hawaiians are taking on the LHC. In the case Sancho & Wagner […]

I had a good laugh the other day when my friend Inna passed along the following brief conversation she had with the room service delivery guy (‘RSDG’) during the APS March Meeting: RSDG: Are you here with the physicians’ conference? Inna: Physicists. RSDG: Yes, indeed; there are many physicians in tow. For most of you, […]

A very special thanks to theoreticalminimum for pointing out that Harvard has now put up streaming videos of Sidney Coleman’s 1975-1976 Quantum Field Theory lectures. The video quality is what one would expect from digitised VHS tapes from the 70s [1], but Coleman’s uniquely witty personality still shines through. For completeness, one can watch the […]

I was skimming through this month’s Physics World magazine and was pleasantly surprised to see that Steven Weinberg is back in the book-writing business. He has just put out a new book with Oxford University Press on Cosmology. No, it’s not the same as his well-known `gravitation and cosmology’ text from the ’70s… Oxford press […]

Supersymmetry (SUSY) has been around in particle physics literature for over 30 years. It’s one of a theorist’s main tools for model building at the TeV scale, but is also a necessary ingredient for superstring theories, a rich playground for nonperturbative physics, and is [apparently] independently useful in mathematics. So — how does one go […]

From Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather: Many people are aware of the Weak and Strong Anthropic Principles. The Weak One says, basically, that it was jolly amazing of the universe to be constructed in such a way that humans could evolve to a point where they make a living in, for example, universities, while the Strong One […]

Here’s a notable article from New Scientist (`Physicists slam publishers over Wikipeida ban’), illustrating another way that the `Web 2.0′ is changing traditional publishing. The physicists were upset after the American Physical Society withdrew its offer to publish two studies in Physical Review Letters because the authors had asked for a rights agreement compatible with […]

By now you’ve been inundated with news that Friday was Pi day, a.k.a. Einstein’s birthday, a.k.a. Talk Like a Physicist Day. My flat, which houses four physicists, decided to celebrate with a pie celebration of Pi day. We invited some fellow first- and second-year postgraduates in the CPT/IPPP to bring their own creations: Jo’s Pi […]

Ah! Finally, science outreach that doesn’t require a railcard. As part of the celebration for “National Science and Engineering Week,” British Association for the Advancement of Science (‘BA’… though they seem to have dropped a couple of letters) is hosting a Big Questions blog where anyone can send in a science question for the general […]

Recently I remembered something that mentioned a few years ago during the SLAC Summer Institute at the end of Prof. Dienes’ first lecture on grand unification. (Wait until the end of the video, then you’ll hear a famous Cosmic Variance blogger ask about this.) The gauge group for the Standard Model is apparently SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1)/Z6. The […]