Posts Tagged: Physics

Who Will Rescue Time from the Physicists?

Lee Smolin thinks that time is real. If that strikes you as unusual, you haven’t spent much time with theoretical physicists, who tend to think that the passing of time is either an emergent property of the universe, or, perhaps, an illusion.

“Some of my colleagues suggest that time is an approximate description of the universe,” Smolin, a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute, writes in Time Reborn. “A description that is useful on large scales but dissolves when we look too closely. Temperature is like this.” The reason that some physicists have rejected time, he argues, is that they have mistaken mathematical [...]


Higgs and the Certainty of Physicists

The room is 100 percent physicists, 75 percent of them are likely to be under age forty, under 10 percent of them are likely to be female. They're all unusually quiet, no scrooching, no whispers, motionless.

On two screens is the broadcast from CERN, the physics institute in Switzerland, of a scientific talk. Invisible in the air is the theory called the Standard Model, or at least one of its articles of faith, which you can read like it's liturgy: the first fundamental particles in the universe had no mass; but as the universe cooled, it changed, and during this change a force called the Higgs field condensed [...]


Higgs Boson and the Great Scam of Modern Physics

Heh! "Physics would appear to have gotten away with it: a decades-long campaign of hype, propaganda, and outright deception that saw a ragtag bunch of social misfits swindle the world out of billions of dollars, monies which as of this writing have not been returned. What follows is the story, if not of an outright hoax, then at least of the most audacious and effective PR campaign in the history of science." Mmm, remember a little while ago when all we could talk about was Higgs Boson? Well, good for you, you helped some custodians maintain a bazillion-dollar tunnel. What's that you say? Science is great and amazing? [...]


Their Nobel for Graphene Today, Your Products Tomorrow

This picture is not chicken wire or a tesselation or a patchwork quilt or a cross-section of a honeycomb-amazing how many things are linked hexagons-but a material called graphene, which is just plain old pencil-lead graphite sliced thin, sliced as thin as you could imagine thin could be. It's thin enough that electricity flows through it effortlessly. It's thin enough to see through. It's one atom thin. Those atoms are carbon and their little arms hold tight and so in spite of being thin, it's also flexible and strong. Its possible applications are making the technoratiat fall all over itself with joy and lust. It just won its [...]


Can a Crazed Jet Blue Pilot Break Down a Bulletproof Cockpit Door?

There's always a bit of scaremongering that goes on with the genre of Crazy Airline Stories. Are our skies safe? What about the children? That kind of thing. So, in the story of the Jet Blue pilot, Clayton Osbon, who lost it this week and was restrained by passengers and crew, the LA Times says today that he "pounded so hard on the locked cockpit door that the first officer feared Osbon was breaking through the bulletproof barrier." This sentence reads funny, on first glance! But the door is bulletproof, one thinks! Surely a non-bullet, then, can't break down the door? Or can it.