Friday, July 11, 2014

Isaac Newton, the überhistorian

We know Isaac Newton as the founder of classical physics in the modern sense and perhaps the most ingenious scientist in the mankind's history. He's been doing many impressive things and some of them look crazy. But before you suggest that Newton wasn't the top expert in pretty much every discipline he touched, you should read his
The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended by Isaac Newton
which was published as an e-book in 2005.

It's a fun reading for the summer. You will learn about every one among hundreds of kings of dozens of empires and every single act they have done in their lives. ;-)

His memory had to be formidable. It's hard to match him. But one may try. I just memorized the 250,000 collisions in the Kaggle Higgs challenge which allows me to say whether an event is "signal" without a computer, with the score 3.5, without a computer. Fun. Why can't the computers be much better than we are? ;-)

Hat tip: Frank Wilczek (Twitter), thanks!


  1. All these experiments look at energies measured in GeV. Anything under 1 KeV goes undetected. A stupid question: why does a hydrogen atom not qualify as a leptoquark?

  2. Newton was an extraordinary experimentalist as well.

  3. kashyap vasavadaJul 11, 2014, 6:27:00 PM

    I understand from your comment that leptoquark at current LHC energy may cause trouble with proton decay. But for GUT you do need proton decay with a very large life time. So at very high mass they may be welcome. Right?

  4. -1, this kind of low-level agressively trolling comments are not appropriate here.

    In fact, on other dark places in the internet, tons of such and other very self-similar spam is generated, such that I suspect this nonsense is not even human written. It is most probably autogenerated by some spam-bots maintained and tested on some well known spam-servers.

    In particular the Columbia University should urgently run a good anti malware program on its network, to close some security holes which allow hackers from inside the network to spam attack any physics discussion in the internet ...

  5. And Fermi thought that Majorana was smarter than he was--"There are several categories of scientists in the world; those of second
    or third rank do their best but never get very far. Then there is the
    first rank, those who make important discoveries, fundamental to
    scientific progress. But then there are the geniuses, like Galilei and Newton. Majorana was one of these."

  6. ". But one may try. I just memorized the 250,000 collisions in the Kaggle
    Higgs challenge which allows me to say whether an event is "signal"
    without a computer, with the score 3.5, without a computer...".
    An AI android---I knew it :) Good story by Borges, Funes the Memorious and a case study by the great Russian neuro-scientist, Luria, The Mind of a Mneumonist. or J. Foer's
    Moonwalking with Einstein--The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (about him covering the US memory contest and then next year training and entering it himself)

  7. One of the properties of a leptoquark that Lubos mentions is "transforms as a color triplet". A hydrogen atom does not transform like that - it is a color singlet, i.e. it is "colorless", which means it carries no charge with respect to the strong force. Due to confinement everything you can see at low energy is colorless.

  8. Regarding careful, the problem isn't you, it's the people. You are - and might be as correct as you want with constant and linear effects. Naturally, girls could be less inclined to study IT (constant) and might respond less well to encouragement (linear). But, the variant of Jante's Law at work is not a linear function. 1) Little or no girls in IT, the remaining ones are discouraged. 2) Some in IT, neutral. 3) Too many, no effect from further efforts. Given that IT training on the 10% or so per boys returns value in excess (let's say 30% boys-only economy) of the proportional value of the 10%, it makes sense to well from the female talent pool, *even if* the improvement is only 5% of girls. That's still a jump from 30% to 45%, i.e. economic growth of 15%. $50M is a rounding error relative to that. No emotional argument here, just bare economics.

  9. I would not put Majorana in the same class as Galileo and Newton even though he may have had the potential to reach that stratospheric level. Tragically, his productive life was cut short by physical and emotional problems that ended, in all likelihood, with his suicide.

    Other geniuses have had such high potential but failed to live out that potential. Evariste Galois comes to mind.

  10. on my desktop now, so I thought I'd put this together :)

  11. hehe self-similar* spam. It's as good a word as any

  12. Just turn the data into high fidelity bird chirp auction and listen to the two types of the evens. You brain will learn it very quickly and then you won't have to memoruzre all 250k events.

    In fact a crow could learn this with a food reward.

    Just try it the brain is about 10^500 times smarter than si computer.

  13. There is no "problem" here, only irrational and obnoxious feminists like you are pretending that there is one.

    If an average girl gets discouraged from entering the IT industry, it's a good thing - it's a sign of her rational thinking - because, as the statistics clearly show, an average girl has vastly lower chances to succeed than an average boy.

    Only very non-average girls have a chance. They need a higher number of sigmas above average than what the boys need.

    Your word "improvement" used for changing the percentage of one sex relatively to the other sex only shows that you are biased. You are a "misandrist" - or, as feminists like you would say, a fascist sexist bitch.

  14. Neither would I, Gene. I was quoting Fermi (likely a gracious eulogy).
    Someone like Newton comes along only a few times maybe a millenium.
    (Archimedes, maybe Bach and Leonardo in different ways, maybe Gauss)
    Galois started a whole new way of looking at group theory and algebraic solutions of polynomials.
    His attempts to get contemporary famous mathematicians to read his papers ( and lose them or ignore them) reads like the Biblical Job story.
    In the 20th century, Galois theory was taken up by Emile Artin and particularly by Alexander Grothendieck, another highly original and eccentric French \(German) mathematician who eventually became an inaccessible recluse. An interesting biog essay about him is on AMS archives

  15. ... ;-)

    Yep, the question is now here

  16. The extreme
    stability of the proton could be related to the complexity or binding interlocking
    of the d- quark ( three particles) which I did also recognize as the Muon. A
    second reason could be the assumed symmetric
    geometry of the proton with the sensitive u-quark ( with only 2 interlocking
    particles) in the middle and sturdy d-quark at the outside.

    See perhaps also:

  17. Sorry but I was unable to find a refutation of my argument in your post. Since I was one of the boys that spend their teenage years with the computer rather than hanging out at the mall, I know there weren't that many girls. But, education is not the same as a hobby. Even if girls don't by themselves do IT, it still gives a positive ROI to train and encourage, and prevent exclusion. Outside digging up statistics, this is as far as I can explain this.

  18. I wonder if this would allow unusual decays in astrophysical events, like neutron star collisions, relativistic jets or cosmic ray impacts, and if they could be observed. Neutron stars as is are probably too cold. And would a leptoquark explain baryogenesis?

  19. alejandro riveroJul 13, 2014, 7:27:00 PM

    It would be good if someone answer the question and along the way some explanation of chiral leptoquarks (or quarks, on the same token) is given.

    Can a chiral leptoquark have a gluon vertex, or a photon vertex? How does it preserve spin?

  20. Sorry, disregard the last question, I was thinking of sphalerons. The matter-antimatter asymmetry isn't solved, it remains unexplained.

  21. I don't have anything special to say but chapter 10 of Lewis H Ryder teaches basics of instantons and other cool stuff that a good physics dude can talk about to pretend to know things about topology. Solving things is fun, but understanding the structures is where true power lies. Anyways, Everyone here obviously is aware of sphalerons, even I am surprised I know what they are prior to googling and confirming. I feel tempted to say more, but I need you to proceed by throwing down some equations to amplify your thoughts i.e if you want. I want to know what you mean. Anyways not trying to start anything, just a little free today that's all.

  22. Also in unrelated news ; sometime ago I asked a question on small vs large gauge transformations on a math Q & A site. See motivation on page 434 of aforementioned text, correlating dates should confirm the ktahn does not troll. Again a little free and empty could use some mathy talk.