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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »

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I just saw the most annoying video about an interesting physics question. Apart from the over the top stereotypical German (supposed to be funny or is he for real?) and arrogant “look how clever we physicists are” attitude, the most annoying is that the really interesting stuff about the question isn’t even mentioned. Arrrggg - how can one be so ignorant?

You may have heard about certain potential dangers of nanotechnology; I like to write about some of them on occasion; and you probably know about the almost lost battle against so called superbugs, those pesky bacteria that evolved in hospitals to become resistant against all our drugs. Now combine these for something a little more scary: Fast-track evolution towards superbugs.

Even one year after the disaster at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, it is still unfolding. It was locally surpassing the severity of Chernobyl relatively soon in the first few weeks. Four out of the six facilities were already no more than a pile of radioactive trash just like Chernobyl and it was clear since then that the future will be also similar to that of Chernobyl: A radioactive monument, still for our grand children’s grandchildren to be concerned about.

Why is there something rather than nothing?” studies have become a field provided with copious Templeton funding. Yale recently had the 2011 WITA (Why is there Anything?) conference (see their blog), which was funded by the Templeton and Yale Divinity School. Rutgers sports the Rutgers Templeton Project in Philosophy of Cosmology, and they now have a blog where they ask a list of questions ending in a grand finale with lucky number 13 being the ‘WITA question ’ in its better known version:

 

Quantum physics is close to the ultimate foundation of everything, but not because it is about little things. Quantum physics is not about little things; a radio-wave photon can be hundreds of meters long (in terms of wave length as well as coherence length). Physics is fundamentally the question of what is possible at all. With quantum mechanics, physics arrived at a point where we either face up to uncomfortable facts or refuse to follow science any further. Quantum physics is not important to consciousness because of some quantum magic in the brain that switches the light on, but because physics is fundamentally about all that is possibly possible for consciousness to be conscious about – a consistent description of all phenomena, telling us what is possible.

It may be of interest for those outside of science and academia to get a closer look at what diverse scientists’ work environments are like.  Some may be surprised about the drab conditions.  Only few places look like the mad scientists’ secret laboratory in movies, although my previous lab was just like that (see below).


Here is my present work place at the National Laboratory for Solid State Microstructures, University of Nanjing, China.  Most of the day, I am in front of a computer in My Office, which I sometimes convert into a standing desk deal; see Dumpster Diving For Longevity: