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Current Topic: Physics

Parallel Worlds: A journey through creation, higher dimensions, and the future of the cosmos
Topic: Physics 1:22 am EST, Dec 17, 2004

This received a "starred review" at Booklist.

Another universe may be floating just a millimeter away on a "brane" parallel to our own, but we can't pop our heads in and have a look around because it exists in hyperspace.

Well-known physicist and author Michio Kaku will excite readers with his vision of realms that may exist just beyond the tip of our noses.

Speculating about escape routes through spacetime into parallel universes, Kaku presents a riveting popular treatment of the string revolution in physics.

Parallel Worlds: A journey through creation, higher dimensions, and the future of the cosmos

The Fabric of the Cosmos
Topic: Physics 2:24 pm EST, Feb 21, 2004

Brian Greene's new book is on sale now.

The driving question in The Fabric of the Cosmos, then, is fundamental: "What is reality?"

... a deep passion for science and a gift for translating concepts into poetic images ...

"Greene not only makes concepts clear but explains why they matter."

"This is popular science writing of the highest order."

The Fabric of the Cosmos

Making Policy in a Moore's Law World
Topic: Physics 9:56 pm EST, Dec 16, 2003

Nanotechnology genomics and cognitive neuroscience ... are large, game-changing areas that deserve more attention.

The public's trust in government has decreased steadily over the last 25 years.

What will surprise us in the future is likely to arise from the interstitial spaces between disciplines.

We have entered the 21st century with outmoded bureaucratic structures firmly in place.

When it comes to public policy in IT developments, in most cases, you end up throwing lawyers at each other for 20 years. That model is not very productive ...

The scientific community is far too insular ... Scientists haven't done a good job of insinuating themselves into the fabric of the policy research infrastructure. In fact, there are few rewards, and more penalties, for scientists that leave their fields and academic institutions to engage in public policy.

The further you get ahead of the curve, the less you get into contentious situations where people have made large investments of money and ego and simply won't bend.

If people don't understand something, how does that lack of knowledge get filled and by whom? The answer will have enormous impact in terms of how people will perceive technologies ...

The number of channels available to people for getting information has multiplied exponentially. But you cannot "Google" your way to enlightenment on complex issues. What is needed are more credible, mediating institutions that can help people sort, digest and understand information.

... We have a project on serious games ... and we are doing a survey on emerging social behaviors. We're interested in new ways that people are organizing themselves, where and why these behaviors start, and the technological infrastructure that enables these new types of social interactions.

This interview is spot-on, but be forewarned; it contains the words "disruptive" and "no-win". Proceed at your own risk.

Making Policy in a Moore's Law World

Investigative Findings on Fraud at Bell Labs [PDF]
Topic: Physics 5:18 pm EDT, Sep 27, 2002

Lucent has released the full report of the investigative committee in the case of the Bell Labs researcher that was recently fired for scientific misconduct.

You can just read the 3 page executive summary for the findings, or you can delve into the details of the 127 page report.

Investigative Findings on Fraud at Bell Labs [PDF]

Panel Says Bell Labs Scientist Faked Discoveries
Topic: Physics 8:46 am EDT, Sep 26, 2002

A series of extraordinary advances in physics claimed by scientists at Bell Labs relied on fraudulent data, a committee investigating the matter reported yesterday.

The findings, in effect, dismiss as fiction results from 17 papers that had been promoted as major breakthroughs in physics, including claims last fall that Bell Labs had created molecular-scale transistors.

... In 2001, Dr. Schön averaged one scientific paper every eight days. For most scientists, a few papers a year is productive.

How widespread is this behavior? Is it realistic to consider this an isolated case?

Panel Says Bell Labs Scientist Faked Discoveries

Here They Are, Science's 10 Most Beautiful Experiments
Topic: Physics 7:00 am EDT, Sep 24, 2002

Ultimately, science comes down to the individual mind grappling with something mysterious.

Physics World magazine recently asked physicists to nominate the most beautiful experiment of all time. The 10 winners were largely solo performances, involving at most a few assistants.

What they have in common is that they epitomize the elusive quality scientists call beauty. This is beauty in the classical sense; confusion and ambiguity are momentarily swept aside, and something new about nature becomes clear.

Here They Are, Science's 10 Most Beautiful Experiments

Years of Research Yield Nothing, and That's Good News ...
Topic: Physics 12:35 pm EST, Feb  6, 2002

Last week in a quiet triumph, Fermilab, the high- energy physics laboratory outside Chicago, announced a discovery of great importance in the search for a theory of everything — the seamless intellectual framework that would explain how the universe is made.

Firing up the Tevatron, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, an international team of scientists slammed together matter and antimatter, creating volleys of silent, invisible explosions. Then they sifted the debris through their computers, looking for the long-sought prey: exotic wisps called supersymmetric particles — SUSY's for short.

In the Jan. 28 issue of Physical Review Letters, the scientists revealed the results. They didn't find anything. ...

Years of Research Yield Nothing, and That's Good News ...

_Mathematics of Quantum Computation_ | CRC Press
Topic: Physics 9:53 pm EST, Feb  5, 2002

This 448-page book is due out later in February 2002.

Description: "Among the most exciting developments in science today is the design and construction of the quantum computer. Its realization will be the result of multidisciplinary efforts, but ultimately, it is mathematics that lies at the heart of theoretical quantum computer science.

Mathematics of Quantum Computation brings together leading computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists to provide the first interdisciplinary but mathematically focused exploration of the field's foundations and state of the art. Each section of the book addresses an area of major research, and does so with introductory material that brings newcomers quickly up to speed. Chapters that are more advanced include recent developments not yet published in the open literature.

Information technology will inevitably enter into the realm of quantum mechanics, and, more than all the atomic, molecular, optical, and nanotechnology advances, it is the device-independent mathematics that is the foundation of quantum computer and information science. Mathematics of Quantum Computation offers the first up-to-date coverage that has the technical depth and breadth needed by those interested in the challenges being confronted at the frontiers of research."

_Mathematics of Quantum Computation_ | CRC Press

Peter Shor (AT&T) on Quantum Everything | Simons Lecture Series
Topic: Physics 9:20 pm EST, Nov 30, 2001

Peter Shor of AT&T is the speaker for the Fall Series in Applied Mathematics of the Simon Lecture Series. The talks will take place on the MIT campus on December 3, 4, 6, and 7. Topics include quantum algorithms, quantum error correcting codes, entanglement and quantum information, and quantum channels & their capacities.

This should be an excellent series of lectures.

Peter Shor (AT&T) on Quantum Everything | Simons Lecture Series

The Official String Theory Web Site
Topic: Physics 8:20 pm EST, Nov 26, 2001

(Summary excerpted from Science, 9 November 2001)

According to string theory, fundamental particles such as electrons and quarks are concealing something. They may actually be composed of unobservable, shimmying loops, or strings, the vibrations of which dictate the particle's character. If that sounds fantastic, drop by The Official String Theory Web Site for a cheeky tutorial on string theory, the framework that many physicists believe will allow them to tie down a unifying "theory of everything."

Written by a Caltech Ph.D., the tutorial explains strings at two levels of difficulty: advanced for the calculus-savvy and basic for those stymied by the first chapter of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. In the introduction, you'll learn how these quivering filaments may reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity and why we can't detect them even with mammoth particle accelerators (strings are too small). Other sections explain how string theory ties in with cosmology and black holes. To learn more from the experts themselves, try the audio files of interviews with string savants such as Brian Greene of Columbia University, who's billed as "string theory's answer to John Cusack."

The Official String Theory Web Site

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