Comment on the Number of Flavors in Standard Model
   A widely used definition (see e.g. Wikipedia for a summery) of the number of particle ‘flavors’ in the SM is 6: 3 particle mass copies (e. g. electron, muon, tau for charged leptons; u, c, t for up-quarks …) doubled by the two up- and down- states.
   Flavor is still a mystery in the SM. Historical Rabi’s quip “Who ordered the muon?” is steel urgent now for the three flavor mass copies of elementary particles.

I HAVE A VIRTUAL REALITY machine in my fridge. It’s a banoffee pie, and when I eat two of them in the dark while listening to the Beatles’ White Album, I am far, far away on another planet, no hardware necessary.

            But the global tech industry doesn’t know about this (shhhh!), so this year, expect to see virtual reality headsets on the shelf from Oculus Rift (Facebook), Samsung, Sony, HTC and Google.

LIGO the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory may announce the detection of gravitational waves tomorrow at 10:30AM Eastern time.  I will watch it  and  live tweet it.  The question of the day for most normal people will be...  What are gravitational waves?  See below for the answer to this question, and below that a live stream of my tweets on the subject as it happens.  


UPDATE:  The Perimeter Institute a hub of theoretical physics research will have their own livestream following the LIGO press conference. 

UPDATE2: Updated to display a collection of my tweets on gravitational waves during and near the time of the press conference.


In an unprecedented decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has sort-of overruled a lower Circuit Court's decision to allow the "Clean Power Plan" to proceed pending final adjudication. The Supreme Court had never before granted a request to halt a regulation before review by a federal appeals court.

(Click this link for a step-by-step derivation of the "Hamilton-Jacobi Schrödinger" equation) (Let me know about link issues to PDF)

Sir Willian Rowan Hamilton realized the equivalence of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation and the eikonal in 1834. With a little bit of imaginary work theoreticians of his time could have derived a quantum mechanical Hamilton-Jacobi equation equivalent to the Schrödinger equation.
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” - George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Mark Twain (1835-1910)


The Fallacy:

The so-called “Greenhouse effect” is one of the most persistent fallacies in popular science. It is a flawed speculation left over from the late 19th century, when it was first entertained by such scientific luminaries as Joseph Fourier, John Tyndall, and Svante Arrhenius.

In fact, however, the so-called “greenhouse gases” do not “trap” infrared energy radiated from the surface of the Earth, as proposed; they merely slow its inevitable return to outer space.
Being back in blogging mood, I decided I would make a poll among the most affectionate readers of this column - those who will come here to read "blog" pieces and not only "articles which are sponsored on the relevant spots in the main web page of the Science20 site.
The idea is that I have a few topics to offer for the next few posts, and I would offer you to choose which one you are interested to read about. Of course, you could also suggest that I write about something different from my proposed topics - but I do not guarantee that I will comply, as I might feel unfit to the requested tasks. We'll see, though.

Here is a short list of a few things I can spend my time talking about in a post here.

- recent CMS results
- recent ATLAS results
When a system is well understood, a well-constructed mathematical model of that system can make realistic predictions based on the data sets fed into it. However, when a system is not well-understood, but one insists on making a mathematical of it, anyway, the holes in the database and the gaps in our knowledge must, necessarily, be filled with assumptions and estimates, instead of established principles and actual data.

The poorer our understanding of the system, the greater the impact of those simplifying assumptions and arbitrary estimates on the modeled results.
Sexual Harassment in federally funded research should be considered a federal crime.   This blog post originates as a comment on this blog at Forbes  "Advice For The Reformed Harasser On Rejoining The Scientific Community" by Janet D. Stemwedel.  

Her third point is way off and looks really bad in light of the fourth point.  I want to say I agree with the spirit and intention of this article and most of the points made within it.    (You know what's coming next.) 

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist I and many other astrophysicists look up to has been accused of rape by Tchiya Amet  who was a student at UT Austin at the time that Neil DeGrasse Tyson was a graduate student TAing her Astronomy 101.  As if that wasn’t awful enough Tchiya Amet lived with it for 30 years.  Then when she comes forward with a blog post about it her story is met with over a year of solid deafening silence.   That this has occurred, and that the response to it has varied from very little support to outright hostility is what I find most disturbing.