Sunday, March 31, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Tom Banks: holographic axioms against firewalls

Bill Zajc sent me a link to the following fresh CERN talk by my (former) PhD adviser Tom Banks:

The Unruh Effect, the S-matrix and the Absence of Firewalls
It's the same kind, unimitable style I have known for years. Tom also uses (or approves of) many assumptions I consider right or even dear and he reaches various conclusions I agree with. In particular, there are no black hole firewalls. See his and Willy Fischler's paper about firewalls.

But otherwise the results are presented as corollaries of some much deeper wisdom that I've been exposed to since 1999. Although I added another hour to the exposure, the beef in the hypothetical deeper wisdom – Tom's axiomatic holography – remains utterly incomprehensible to me.

Saturday, March 30, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

01 result from AMS-02 on 03/04 at 05 pm

Do you know which number would be the next one?

Six weeks ago, Sam Ting claimed that not too uninteresting results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer would arrive in two or three weeks.

It didn't quite work; it's plausible that they were waiting for reviewers to say OK, something they may have expected to be just a painless or painful formality back in February. Now we're told that it's at least 6.5 weeks but this timing should work. Why?

Friday, March 29, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Antiprotons obey CPT within 5 ppm

Just a neutrino link: Two weeks ago, MiniBooNE reported some results that seem to conflict with the standard model of 3-flavor neutrino oscillations. Hat tip: Joseph S.
In January 2013, the ATRAP Collaboration that includes e.g. Gerry Gabrielse – an ex-colleague of mine who also led the most accurate measurement of the electron's magnetic moment, the most accurately verified prediction in all of science – published the preprint
One-Particle Measurement of the Antiproton Magnetic Moment
that finally made it to PRL this Monday. The article was accompanied by a popular review by Eric Hudson and David Saltzberg – who is also famous as the flawless science consultant behind The Big Bang Theory CBS sitcom; he's the man who makes sure that Sheldon Cooper in particular doesn't talk gibberish.

Saltzberg with Bill Prady. What part of 41 53 43 49 49 don't you understand? It does sound like a Sheldonite question...

The experimenters threw some of their Harvard devices to their luggage and pockets and they flew to CERN where the (\(5\MeV\)) antiprotons are cheap and abundant. A happy place, indeed. By measuring some frequencies of transitions in a magnetic field, they could quantify the magnetic moment of the antiproton – how strong a magnet each antiproton is. And yes, except for the sign, the result agreed with the figure for the proton within the antiproton 5 parts per million (0.0005%) error margin.

Reunification of Korea

Almost exactly 10 years ago, in March 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq. I had mixed feelings about that decision and I still have mixed feelings. At any rate, Iraq (#2) used to belong to the Axis of Evil, as defined by George W. Bush, along with Iran (#1) and North Korea (#3). Quite certainly, one original member of this axis is no longer a member.

Note that John Bolton has defined the "Beyond the Axis of Evil Group" composed of Cuba, Libya, and Syria. Cuba has softened somewhat and Raul Castro is planning to retire; the Libyan regime has been overthrown so a re-evaluation would be appropriate; and Syria is in the state of a Civil War, we will see what comes out of it. (Condi Rice has talked about the "Outposts of Tyranny": Belarus, Burma, Zimbabwe. Not much has changed about those, AFAIK.)

You see that the Axis of Evil, both the core group and the extended one, has gotten weaker or less scary or nicer, if I exaggerate a bit. At least some good news. This evolution may continue.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Irrational dissatisfactions with physics

When people aren't understanding certain issues in physics and when they're asking questions, e.g. at the Physics Stack Exchange, they understandably seem unhappy about something. When something seems strange or something doesn't make sense, it's sensible for people to feel somewhat disturbed or unhappy. All of us know the feeling.

In some cases, the dissatisfaction depends on a technical result and there are many of them to be learned. However, I would say that way too often, people are dissatisfied because of reasons that are utterly non-technical and that are universal.

Waiting for peak oil: a paradox

As an enthusiastic proponent of fracking, Gene sent me a link to this NBC article

Power shift: Energy boom dawning in America
that argues, among other things, that due to fracking, the U.S. will leapfrog Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the #1 fossil fuel producer by 2020. Already today, we see amazingly dropping prices of natural gas and many other things will follow. The technologies are getting better all the time. You get the point but you may find more information about these matters.

Just minutes later, I opened the blog of Alexander Ač, a crazy professional Czech and Slovak climate alarmist, any falling-sky alarmist, and peak oil champion:
Resolve the paradox (autom. transl. from Slovak)
And that was quite a contrast. Alexander lives in a different galaxy than Gene. He's waiting for peak oil every second, every day.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Americans see the Higgs boson, too

...sort of...

Two years ago, I was a staunch defender of the retirement of the Tevatron, the collider near Chicago, Illinois. The reason was that it just wasn't competitive anymore. The lower energy and amount of collisions relatively to the LHC translated to a much smaller probability of a legitimate discovery per unit time – which also means a much lower expected number of discoveries per dollar.

The actual shape of the Wilson Hall differs from the fictitious Hilson/Higgson Hall above.

I think that people gradually understood that people like me were right and it was pointless to keep on running the Tevatron and these days, everyone agrees. For the properties of the \(125\GeV\) Higgs boson, the Tevatron was said to be "roughly competitive" with the LHC. Below, we will see it's not quite the case: it was weaker, too.

But when it comes to the phenomena at the energy frontier that the LHC is probing these days – and still confirming the Standard Model as of today – one may estimate that one day of the data from the Tevatron would provide us with less information than one second of the data from the LHC. The ratio of the strengths of signals approaches a million or so, mostly because the lower energy at the Tevatron just couldn't get there. Running the Tevatron along with the LHC is pointless.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Rosatom plans fast reactors based on U-238

Technet, a Czech sci-tech server, published an interview with Vyacheslav Pershukov today, the deputy CEO and the director of the scientific-technological complex at Rosatom, the state-owned Russian nuclear corporation that is managing all Russian reactors that are in operation.

He says many things I should have noticed half a year ago because as Russia Beyond the Headlines mentioned in November (see also an echo in The Telegraph), there was a nuclear conference in October 2012 in a city whose name is nothing else than Prague where they presented plans to build new, "fast reactors" on the Russian territory with the help of 13 Czech companies.

And they seem to be better than the nuclear technologies we are using today.

Monday, March 25, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Speed of light is variable: only in junk media

Francis the Emule (Spanish) diplomatically agrees with me...
If you open Google Science News at this very moment, the #1 story is saying things like
new research shows that the speed of light is variable in real space.
The only problem is that the "research" is pure crackpottery. Those stories build upon the following two papers in a journal called European Physical Journal D I have never heard of in the context of fundamental physics:
A sum rule for charged elementary particles by Gerd Leuchs, Luis L. Sánchez-Soto (free: arXiv)

The quantum vacuum as the origin of the speed of light by Marcel Urban, François Couchot, Xavier Sarazin, Arache Djannati-Atai (free: arXiv)
The abstracts are enough to see that the authors aren't just making one or two serious technical errors. Instead, they misunderstand the very logic of science - how arguments in favor of some claims may or may not be phrased.

Sunday, March 24, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Reagan's Star Wars: 30 years ago

Ronald Reagan gave the following 30-minute talk on March 23rd, 1983, i.e. 30 years ago:

Most of the talk is about the motivation and the situation. The very SDI comments begin at 25:00 or so.

The visionary SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) speech was arguably the most consequential presidential speech in the modern U.S. history. I am somewhat impressed by the depth of the technical arguments that Reagan offered.

In July 1979, Reagan would visit some defense folks in Colorado and they showed him that the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine was the only possible conclusion. Ronald Reagan couldn't accept such an attitude and the speech above symbolized what he wanted to do to protect the civilians against the Soviet-led attacks from outer space and change the doctrine.

Saturday, March 23, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Wernher von Braun: 101st birthday

Today, we celebrate the birthday of three mathematicians who have heavily influenced physics: Pierre-Simon Laplace, Amalie Emmy Noether, and Ludvig Faddeev. But because I posted the biographies four years ago (click at the previous sentence), I won't do so again.

Instead, let me mention that six years ago, set theorist Paul Cohen died. He is the man who proved that the axiom of choice can neither be proved nor disproved using the Zermelo-Fraenkel (most popular) set theory axioms and who repeated the same achievement with the continuum hypothesis.

So it's up to your belief and aesthetic preferences whether there always exists a set whose intersection with each set in an infinite set of sets has one element; and it's up to your taste whether there exists a set that has more elements than the set of integers \(\ZZ\) but fewer elements than the set of real numbers \(\RR\). Thanks for that freedom, Prof Cohen.

Incidentally, I am agnostic about the continuum hypothesis because the very idea that the real numbers aren't countable seems a bit artificial to me because the proof uses totally unnatural maps one can't really encounter. For the same reason, I prefer to use the freedom won by Paul Cohen to prefer a picture where the axiom of choice is invalid. The picked set if the AC is believed is non-canonical, unnatural, and if you assume AC is false, you earn the extra freedom to assume that all subsets of an interval are Lebesgue measurable sets – and that's a reassuring situation for a physicist, I think, regardless of the fact that mathematicians must reorganize (and extend) the proofs of some theorems that remain valid, anyway.

But this blog entry is dedicated to someone else.

Exploding glass: slowed down

This is not a blog entry about state-of-the-art physics but it is about mechanics of solids which is a part of physics which is why it may have its place on TRF.

Prince Rupert's Drops are not named in this way because a prince invented them but because a prince brought them from North Germany or Bavaria or Holland to England in 1660.

They are created by rapidly cooling molten glass in water. This makes a tadpole-shaped structure.

Friday, March 22, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cyprus bailout savings tax is better than alternatives

First, let me start with some background. Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, South of Turkey. De iure, there is the ethnic Greek "Republic of Cyprus" covering the whole island. De facto, the Northern 40% is controlled by an independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The problematic co-existence of Greek and Turkish Cypriots is a major cause of the continuing military tensions between Greece and Turkey.

The total population of the island – a member of the EU and the eurozone – is 1 million people. At most, the Greek problem is 10% larger than we thought: I don't think that any realistic development on the island is a legitimate reason for hysteria. Their banking sector is overbloated and close to bankruptcy (which would quickly cripple the whole Cyprus as an economy), primarily – but not only – because of its exposure to troubled assets in Greece; in particular, look at the Laiki Bank website. The European creditors including the European Central Bank have offered them a bailout but they demanded that Cyprus will show its ability to collect a part of the required money – perhaps by a "tax" that cuts a part of the savings stored on the island.

Margaret Thatcher as the first climate alarmist

... well, the first influential one ...

I have always found her personal attitude to the global warming orthodoxy puzzling if not fascinating. In December 2009, in Berlin, her ex-aide Lord Monckton told me a mixed and confusing story about her real beliefs and about the role of the striking miners – an influence that Martin Durkin's documentary claimed to be important for her decision to create the octopus institutions that would become the IPCC etc.

In June 2010, in Nice, Christopher Booker painted a detailed picture of Margaret Thatcher as the first climate skeptic. She recanted some previous views of hers, I was explained, and at least in her book "Statecraft", she criticized the AGW movement in a modern way that resembles what we're saying these days.

But I have never known what were the views she actually recanted.

Thursday, March 21, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sasha Polyakov joins the Milner Prize winners

  • Off-topic, cosmology: Planck, the WMAP's successor, has released the data: press release, BBC, published papers, real time, data, ESA live TV. The cold spot is much larger than previously thought and almost certainly not an irrelevant fluke. The composition of the cosmic energy (dark energy / dark matter / baryonic) was modified from 73-23-4.5 to 68-27-5 percent. Jesus' father was born 13.82 billion years before Christ, up from the previous age 13.73 billion years. ;-)

    The Universe when it was 380,000 years old (via Planck)

    High-\(\ell\) variations as well as polarization measurements support the standard ΛCDM theory impressively, too. The theory seems to overestimate \(20\leq\ell\leq 40\) modes; the total discrepancy may be just 2.5 sigma, however. Pure scalar invariance \(n=1\) is already excluded at 5.4 sigma: \(n\lt 1\). See an image summarizing the paper on cosmological parameters. Non-gaussianities, \(f^{NL}=2.7\pm 5.8\), and altered complex inflationary models are being strongly constrained. More conclusions.

  • AMS-02: If you're waiting for the dark matter results of AMS-02, it's plausible that we may have to wait until it's fully published in a journal – a significant delay.
Nine physicists won the inaugural $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize last summer and several winners were added in December.

When he was a bit younger. See his picture with a supplement to the prize, a trophy designed by world-renowned Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The ceremony at the Geneva International Conference Center took place yesterday and resembled the Oscars, too.

Yuri Milner wants to make everyone who matters rich. But given the finiteness of his wealth, he may be forced to switch to a lower pace at some point and only add one $3 million winner a year. So far, it seems to be the case in 2013. The new winner is spectacular, too: it's Alexander Markovich Polyakov (*1945 Moscow).

I officially learned about the new winner from a press release a minute ago (see also Russia Today, Nude Socialist, CERN, and realtime) but during that minute, I was already thinking what I would write about Polyakov and here is the result.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Pierre Deligne wins Abel Prize

Viscount Pierre Deligne of Belgium won the $1 million Abel Prize, a major award given to mathematicians, today. It's a well-deserved honor, I think.

He is perhaps most famous for the proof of several Weil conjectures, (now) theorems about various Riemann zeta functions and related facts generalized to the case of finite fields. This is enough to see that Deligne is primarily an algebraic geometer, in the tradition of Alexander Grothendieck.

However, the depth of a mathematician may arguably be measured by the extent to which his or her insights start to influence cutting-edge theoretical physics in the present and, if possible, in the future. For decades, this criterion was equivalent to the role that the mathematical insights play in string theory. Deligne gets an A in this subject, too.

Greene et al.: too large landscapes are unstable

For years, I've been intrigued by the general idea that the usual KKLT arguments – supporting the view that the number of vacuum (dS or AdS) solutions to string theory is googol-like huge, most of those are stable, and they realize the anthropic principle (including the anthropic explanation of a tiny cosmological constant) within string theory – fail because there is an overlooked mechanism that tries to harm the classes of vacua that are too numerous and prefer the more unique vacua (or their small families).

In the landscape category of this blog, you will find numerous articles discussing various additional instabilities that may appear on configuration spaces of too high dimensions.

See e.g. Resonance tunneling and landscape percolation, Landscape decay channels, Disorder on the landscape, Locally predictive landscape, among others. I have personally spent some time with new ways in which the compactification manifolds could decay – even to several disconnected, simpler pieces – and various new factors that could enhance the decay rates. Now, there's a new addition to the collection with some famous author names.

Equinox, astronomical spring: now

Now, at 12:02 PM (after the noon), Pilsner Winter Time, the astronomical spring is getting started. The axis of Earth's spin is orthogonal to the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun i.e. both Southern and Northern Hemispheres are equally far from the Sun.

If you ignore the fact that the length of the day and the night may be "easily" measured just once a day, the day and the night are equally long right now.

What I find bizarre is that people keep on repeating wrong dates of the equinoxes and solstices.

Matt Ridley on the greening planet

Many of us had serious doubts about the talk claiming that lots of cows will green the deserts. On the other hand, I have almost no doubts about the main points in this 19-minute talk:

Via Bernhard Jordan

The increased CO2 levels, higher efficiency of agriculture in general, and fertilizers in particular allowed the planet to become greener than before.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Michio Kaku's confusing Higgs remarks

I partly but not quite agree with Sean Carroll's and Matt Strassler's criticisms of this CBS interview (HTML) with Michio Kaku, a co-father of string field theory and a sometimes excessively lively popularizer of physics, not to mention more general aspects of science fiction marketed as science:

Sorry if CBS inserts half a minute of ads.

It seems that Michio Kaku who watches The Big Bang Theory on the same TV station – together with 20 million Americans in average – couldn't resist to incorporate the Big Bang to his new story about the Higgs boson. And the result of his creative artistic work sounded strange to physics ears.

However, see also Phil Gibbs' take on this which is closer to mine.

Monday, March 18, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Tyson vs Greene: a lesson in demagogy

Someone sent me the following video. Indeed, it turned out to have a large capacity to make me upset.

The exchange between Brian Greene and Neil deGrasse Tyson, a science communicator from a planetarium, took place at the 2011 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate (107 minutes) two years ago. Members of the panel included Katherine Freese, Jim Gates, Janna Levin, Marcello Gleiser, Brian Greene, and of course the omnipresent pushy hippie crank called Lee Smolin.

Sunday, March 17, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Christian Doppler: an anniversary

Irène Joliot-Curie died on March 17th, 1956. She was a member of a high-brow physics family who got her Nobel prize for artificial (alpha-radiation-induced) radioactivity.

Christian Andreas Doppler was born in Salzburg in 1803 and died in Venice 160 years ago, on March 17th, 1853, aged 49. His father, a stonemason, was fortunately observant enough to notice that Christian didn't have sufficient muscles to inherit the craft. Instead, the son went to study philosophy and maths in Salzburg and Vienna.

At the age of 32, Doppler was employed by the Prague Polytechnic – now the Czech Technical University (CTU/ČVUT). He was appointed in 1841. As you can see, when it comes to the affiliation, he was my countrymate. Ethnically, he was Austrian – and "Austria" means the "Eastern Kingdom", i.e. Austrians are effectively Germans who have the maximum experience and credentials in the co-existence with and management of Central and Eastern European nations such as the Slavic ones. I hope that this definition of Austria is fine with the locals. ;-)

Saturday, March 16, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Georg Ohm: birthday

Albert Einstein (born in Ulm on March 14th, 1879) is such a formidable personality that I gave up the idea to write a biography. The problem is that I know too many things about him and other people know even more things about Einstein etc. Ohm is an easier task.

George Simon Ohm was born in Erlangen, Holy Roman Empire (100 km from the Czech border) on March 16th, 1789. He died in Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria (200 km from the Czech border) at the age of 65. When he was just four months old, he could have stormed the Bastille but he decided not to.

His father was officially uneducated but he was actually one of the most widely respected autodidacts. Georg's mother died when he was ten years old. Among seven siblings, only three survived to adulthood: sister Elizabeth Barbara, Georg Simon, and his younger brother Martin Ohm who would become a famous mathematician (during their lifetime, maybe more famous than Georg Ohm). Martin Ohm figured out what \(a^b\) was for \(a,b\in\CC\); I loved this problem when I was 8 years old or so.

Friday, March 15, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Paul Krugman, climate, and inconceivable sins

Many folks have sent me quotes from a crazy new article by Paul Krugman (who recently waged a violent war against those EU politicians who insist on austerity):

Everyday Externalities
As a typical big government liberal, he wants to build lots of new railway lines, send many more trains everywhere, and reduce the number of drivers.

Your humble correspondent and people with a similar historical experience know very well how bad, loss-making, and unusually expensive the out-of-control railway transportation may become. Even when it comes to the fuel consumption and environmental impacts, too many trains may always be worse than cars when they're too numerous and too empty. The previous sentence is self-evidently true but folks like Krugman either don't realize such things or they want everyone else not to realize or both.

Krugman also asks the following question in his extraordinarily arrogant and intimidating accent:
But can anyone deny that more drivers means more traffic congestion?
Well, it depends what one keeps fixed. More drivers on more roads may lead to less congestion, for example. Moreover, there are scientific papers that present evidence that an appropriate density of artificially added car accidents may reduce congestion (a whole class was dedicated to this question in a seminar by Joel Lebowitz at Rutgers that I have attended). There may exist unexpected laws and patterns in these complex matters.

But the most important sentence in Krugman's text is one about the climate.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

God particle's humility on display it turns on two light bulbs less often than expected...

OK, I was inspired by this title of an article about Pope Francis. But you should have no doubts about it: the Higgs boson is even more humble and obedient than the Indian-born Argentinian chemist and the son of a railway worker who was just chosen as the new Bishop of Rome by puppets of Hugo Chavez who controlled the job contest from Hell.

What I want to say is that the anomalously high chance that the \(126\GeV\) Higgs boson splits into two photons, \(h\to\gamma\gamma\), is no longer anomalously high. ATLAS and CMS used to suggest that the rate could be up to \(1.8\) times the Standard Model prediction. However, ATLAS updated the figure to something like \(1.5\pm 0.3\) (which is pretty much one) a week ago and today, CMS updated its results and the new value is even lower than expected, \(0.8\pm 0.3\). Calculate the ATLAS+CMS average and you will find out that the decay rate is what it should be within less than one sigma.

Lots of experimental LHC papers were recently published that demonstrate that all measurable properties of the Higgs boson agree with the Standard Model within the error margin that is getting smaller. Of course that the agreement won't be quite perfect but the deviation may turn out to be much lower than what the LHC may resolve today.

Pentagon transitions: tools to solve planar \(\NNN=4\) at finite coupling

Benjamin Basso, Amit Sever, and Pedro Vieira have released an interesting preprint:

Space-time S-matrix and Flux-tube S-matrix at Finite Coupling (PDF)
Note that if you download it in other formats by clicking at "Download Source" which you may open in WinRAR etc., you will acquire an additional TXT file with some bonus formulae.

A typical schematic expression for a Wilson loop vev, in terms of ratios of expressions denoted by squares and pentagons.

They propose a way to calculate the scattering amplitudes in the maximally supersymmetric, \(\NNN=4\) gauge theory in \(d=4\), without any approximations, using funny pictures with lots of pentagons!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Climategate 2013 is here: FOIA

Off-topic, Rome: Argentinian chemist Jorge Bergoglio was elected as the new Pope, Francis I
Tom Nelson has already leaked the news so I will follow:
Mr. FOIA speaks: "It's time to tie up loose ends and dispel some of the speculation surrounding the Climategate affair" (full text of the main e-mail from FOIA to a select group of skeptics)
The page above became the "story of the day" at (I can't forget Jo Nova, Donna, Bishop Hill, Cheefio, James Delingpole, Jeff [Id] Condon, WUWT, Climate Audit, JunkScience, ClimateScam.SE, Soylent Sage) so I don't think it's a secret anymore although some of us prefer a much more secretive, confidential approach.

Yes, your humble correspondent was among a dozen of people in the world who received the e-mail above directly from Mr FOIA – and yes, we have learned it was one person who lives outside the Anglo-American world, we hear (if there's no alien at UEA, then FOIA is a hacker of a sort, not a whistleblower). I have verified that the password works but I won't reveal whether I have read some e-mails or not and whether I have deleted all traces of the password-protected file once I verified that the password was genuine. It's my strong belief that all my actions so far have been compatible with the laws of my country.

Recall that ClimateGate 2009 was a complete explosion that explained the character of the climate debate to many people and ClimateGate 2011 was still powerful even though most people had already had an idea about the not-so-noble inner workings of the climate alarmist community.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Gustav Kirchhoff: a birthday

Sad recent event: Donald Glaser, the 1960 Nobel prize winner in physics for his invention of the bubble chamber, died on February 28th.
Gustav Kirchhoff was born on March 12th, 1824, in Königsberg, capital of Prussia (now the island of Kaliningrad, Russia: note that it was easy to correct the country's name) to a lawyer and his wife. He married his math teacher's daughter and got lots of good education by people including Jacobi.

In some sense, we could say that this important 19th century physicist was the ultimate conventional career mainstream scientist. He died at age of 63 in Berlin, Prussia. Much of the 19th century classical physics is encoded in the laws named after Kirchhoff.

Monday, March 11, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

There are 921,497 CICY four-folds

The constructive part of the "landscape" is finite and under control

James Gray, Alexander S. Haupt, and Andre Lukas posted a highly impressive yet amusing preprint on maths of string theory,

All Complete Intersection Calabi-Yau Four-Folds (arXiv)

Text with results, Mathematica results, C+Mathematica code (supplementary website)
They looked for all possible eight-dimensional Calabi-Yau manifolds – we call them Calabi-Yau four-folds because it's sensible to count the "complex dimension" which is just four – of a certain constructive type, namely the complete intersections in products of projective spaces (CICYs).

Greening the world's deserts with lots of cows

Since I was a kid, the idea of greening the Sahara desert (and smaller deserts) looked immensely noble to me. Now, Anthony Watts became unusually excited about a particular approach to this goal, one that involves the propagation of cows (and some other, related or unrelated ideas).

A bridge in the climate debate – How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change (WUWT)
His excitement was ignited by the following 22-minute L.A. TED talk by Allan Savory:

It may be a good idea to watch it before we discuss it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

13 new periodic solutions to the 3-body problem

The Science Magazine's news arm has noticed an interesting preprint by two physicists,

Three Classes of Newtonian Three-Body Planar Periodic Orbits (by Milovan Šuvakov [student], Veljko Dmitrašinović [senior nuclear physicist] of Belgrade)
They use topological and numerical methods to find three classes with 13 new types of periodic orbits in the 3-body problem.

Saturday, March 09, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Walter Kohn: 90th birthday

On March 9th, we commemorate the death anniversary of Hans Christian Ørsted. But there is a happier anniversary today, too.

Walter Kohn, a physicist who received the 1998 Nobel prize in chemistry along with John Pople, is turning 90. He gave the density functional theory to the chemists, highlighting the fact that chemistry is applied physics. Young physicists may know him because of the Kohn Hall at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, however.

He was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1923. His father was a committed pacifist, perhaps because his brother died while fighting for the Austrian interests in the First World War. Walter Kohn has never accepted pacifism. In fact, he was accepted to Canadian Infantry Corps on the last year of the Second World War. Decades later, he would fight against the Cold War arms race, however. But let me return a little bit.

Friday, March 08, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Science cannot answer moral questions II

I wrote about the same topic three years ago and probably at many other places, too. However, Sean Carroll revived the topic again,

Science, Morality, Possible Worlds, Scientism, and Ways of Knowing
and because I still agree with him, let me review and add some relevant arguments.

ATLAS: 3-sigma excess of \(420\GeV\) type III seesaw heavy fermions

I am carefully following all the new preprints by ATLAS and CMS that are currently being presented at the Moriond 2013 conference so that you don't have to. So far, everything is compatible with the Standard Model including the \(126\GeV\) Higgs boson and the latter beast is still behaving as obediently as the Standard Model assumes. If something changes about these statements, you will probably learn about it on this blog almost instantly.

However, there's an interesting 3-sigma anomaly in an otherwise obscure search so let me tell you what it is.

Thursday, March 07, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Reasons to be grateful to Václav Klaus

After 10 years in office, Václav Klaus is leaving the Prague Castle, the traditional workplace of Czech kings and presidents, tonight. Tomorrow, the new president Miloš Zeman will be inaugurated.

Throughout his presidential years, Klaus often enjoyed as high as 70% approval rate. However, things like the New Year 2013 Amnesty restored the natural tendency of a large part of the Czech nation to stupidly criticize Klaus so his departure is accompanied by lots of bitterness at many places. I can't watch TV programs about Klaus for more than 10 minutes because soon or later, some idiotic critics appear and I just can't stand these folks.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Black hole monodromies explain why inner horizons matter

...not to mention that they also calculate scattering amplitudes and unmask a hidden conformal symmetry responsible for black hole thermodynamics...

Off-topic, Moriond 2013 (right sidebar has link to live broadcast): ATLAS' diphoton rate is \(1.64\pm 0.30\) times the Standard Model, 2.1 or 2.3 sigma too much...
Two bright Gentlemen whom I know from Harvard, Joshua Lapan and Alex Maloney, and two bright Ladies who are actually at Harvard right now, Alejandra Castro and Maria Rodriguez (yes, their affiliation footnotes are marked as ABBA on the title page, and yes, "A" are females while "B" are males), published a wonderful paper
Black Hole Monodromy and Conformal Field Theory
of the kind that makes one happy, somewhat humble, and somewhat proud to have helped to make similar developments possible. Almost exactly 10 years ago, your humble correspondent and Andy Neitzke wrote a paper (with numerous colorful pictures; I've been almost always using TkPaint to create them: a cool mini-tool) that introduced the "monodromy method" (monodromies around singular point in the complexified \(r\) plane of black hole solutions that mix up the linear space of solutions to the Klein-Gordon and other equations on that background) into the black hole research.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Crisis forgotten: Dow Jones sets a new all-time high

The Dow Jones Industrial Index is at 14,275 right now. It's the first day in the history when it's higher than the previous all-time closing high of 14,164.53 set on October 9th, 2007.

The 2008 downturn was often being compared to the Great Depression. After all, if our grandfathers had the right to witness an intense depression, why should we be stripped of the same right? However, the cold hard data paint a very different story than the professionally overhyping modern media (and not only media) loved to suggest.

Alessandro Volta: an anniversary

Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta was born to a somewhat poor family in Como, Duchy of Milan, in 1745. He died aged 82 on March 5th, 1827, i.e. 186 years ago, in the same city that already belonged to Lombardy-Venetia.

Before he reached the age of 30, he became a physics professor in Como. A year later, he popularized electrophorus ("electricity bearer" from Greek: capacitive generator producing electrostatic charge by electrostatic induction) due to Swede Johan Carl Wilcke so intensely that we often attribute its discovery to Volta himself.

Monday, March 04, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

George Gamow: 109th birthday

March 4th was the birthday or deathday of at least 15 famous enough physicists. For example, cosmologist Robert Henry Dicke (recall the Brans-Dicke scalar-tensor gravity and an amplifier) died in 1997. Ta-You Wu, the father of Chinese (not only nuclear) physics died in 2000. Particle experimenter Simon van der Meer died in 2011. Statistical mechanic Richard Tolman was born in 1881.

But I think that George Gamow is the most important character in this group. He was a very interesting and funny man of a sort and most of his cute stories may be found in My World Line, his autobiography published posthumously, but I will try to be a bit more serious and more technical now.

George Gamow was born on March 4th, 1904 (Old System), in Odessa, Russian Empire. Now it's the third largest town in Ukraine. His father was Russian and taught Russian, his mother was Ukrainian and taught geography and history for girls. He learned German (from a tutor) and French (from his mother) rather early on. His early papers were in Russian on German. Gamow later switched to English that he understood since the college years.

LHCb: \(7\)-\(\sigma\) and \(9\)-\(\sigma\) anomalies in CP-violation

First, let me start with Tommaso Dorigo. He reviewed a recent paper by Carena et al. that tried to find the best parameters of the MSSM Higgs sector that are compatible with the LHC experiments so far. Dorigo reprints this graph

for a particular "low \(M_H\)" scenario (subset of MSSM possibilities) where the green bands (especially the dark green band) are still allowed. He concludes by saying

All in all one gets the impression that the "window of opportunity" for the MSSM is closing down. But if you read the paper (written by MSSM enthusiasts) you might get a different idea!
What a dumb criticism of the paper!

Saturday, March 02, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

We don't live in a simulation

In 2011, I already wrote a text about the theories that our universe is a computer simulation:

Rebooting the Cosmos
Needless to say, a regular reader has seen lots of other criticisms of discrete physics, a more general concept. Let me return to this topic – and change the focus somewhat – in the wake of a sensible text at a German physics blog,
The simulation hypothesis and other things I don’t believe
As David Tong explained using different words in his Silver Prize Winning Essay written for a crackpot foundation whose basic mission does include the promotion of the "Simulation Hypothesis", there is strong scientific evidence today that the world isn't discrete (and it isn't simulated).

AGW petition by Ranga Myneni: 1 billion signatures left

When I opened Alexander Ač's blog today, I had to laugh. An unknown alarmist from Boston University named Ranga Myneni started a petition "with a billion of linked hands". Before the 144th birthday of Vladimir Lenin (which comes next year), he wants to collect a modest 1 billion of signatures.

Friday, March 01, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Bubbles support \(10\GeV\) or \(50\GeV\) dark matter

March 2013 is expected to be a great dark matter month, especially due to the eagerly expected results from AMS-02 that may emerge as early as the next week (ANTARES has seen nothing a few days ago). Joseph S. has brought my attention to an excellent astro-ph paper by Tracy Slatyer (IAS) and Dan Hooper (FNAL)

Two Emission Mechanisms in the Fermi Bubbles: A Possible Signal of Annihilating Dark Matter
that eliminates all doubts that the authors belong among the very top of the world's astroparticle physics. They looked at the spectrum of the Fermi bubbles – that Tracy co-discovered – and decided to write down the most natural model(s) that explain(s) the observer spectrum. What the models depend upon – and what the observations should therefore clarify – is what is the spectrum of electrons, the radiation, and masses and dominant decay channels of hypothetical dark matter particles that team up to produce the spectrum.

I think that they show their ability to split the data into regions that seem to be dominated by different effects, explain the partial datasets, and design economic theories that are able to explain several features of some partial datasets simultaneously. What does it mean in practice?

Is the Higgs boson just Higgs-like?

Jester wrote a satirical essay,

When shall we call it Higgs?
that I fully subscribe to. The ATLAS and CMS papers – and some media and theoretical papers inspired by them – keep on referring to the particle officially discovered on July 4th, 2012 as "the 125 GeV particle", "the scalar boson", or – most often – as the "Higgs-like boson".

But it's been quacking like a duck for quite some time. Moreover, from a theoretical perspective, it looks pretty much inevitable that a Higgs boson has to be there because the probabilities of the longitudinal W-bosons' scattering could otherwise exceed 100 percent at energies near a TeV. While we have 5-sigma known that there was a new particle around 126 GeV for half a year if not more than a year, we weren't sure whether its properties exactly agreed with what is required from a Higgs boson. Well, we will never be sure. In fact, we are sure that the properties won't exactly agree with those envisioned by any particular known theory.

It's still a Higgs boson. We're not saying it's exactly the Standard Model Higgs boson – note that the Standard Model is absent in the previous sentence – but it is a Higgs boson and as long as it is the only known one, we may also call it "the Higgs boson" (don't forget that as a linguistic Slav, I am no expert in "the" and "an", whether they are particles or articles, I don't even know how to call these bastards). Papers have shown that it must be a scalar, not a pseudoscalar, at a rather high confidence level. It is a boson i.e. a particle with integer spin. And the spin one is prohibited by the Landau theorem.

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