Banner
Why SpaceX Won't Turn Us Into A Multi-planetary Species

Anyone announcing the successful sale of tourist trips around the moon would attract ridicule and...

Rational Suckers

Why do people skip queues, cause traffic jams, and create delays for everyone? Who are these misbehaving ...

Triple Or Bust: Paradox Resolved

A few days ago I discussed the coin toss game ‘triple or bust‘. The game is between Alice and...

Paradox: Triple Or Bust

Today I have a decision problem for you....

User picture.
picture for Tommaso Dorigopicture for Hank Campbellpicture for Jerry Deckerpicture for Vladimir Kalitvianskipicture for Bente Lilja Byepicture for David Halliday
Johannes KoelmanRSS Feed of this column.

I am a Dutchman, currently living in India. Following a PhD in theoretical physics (spin-polarized quantum systems*) I entered a Global Fortune 500 company where I am currently Chief Scientist

... Read More »

Blogroll
In my late teenage years I grew fond of Scientific American. Although language caused a barrier, and while I could digest and understand only some of the articles, the popscience presented opened my eyes to exciting developments and invited me to study further the subjects presented.

These days, many years later, I still glance through the magazine, but generally with less enthusiasm. Today's editions seem packed with rather superficial information, and the articles tend to be less inviting towards further studies. Yet, once in a while, a hidden jewel attracts my attention. Such is the case this month with an article by Steve Carlip from UC Davis. Subject is quantum gravity. Quantum gravity in a pancake universe, that is. 
Ridicule might delay truth but it can't replace it. In recent weeks astonishing rumors have been spreading fast in science circles, and soon the wider public will be in the know. According to these rumors, despite all the denial and ridicule, planet Nibiru is real. Yes, you read that correctly. Nibiru is a fact. Science leaders are ready to admit the observation of Nibiru.

This rogue object was there all the time. Right under our eyes. Since the days of Galileo we are aware of its existence. Initially it was mistaken for a star, and later for a solar system planet. It's neither. 
February 23rd 1987 is a day indelibly imprinted on the minds of everyone interested in astrophysics. At 7:36 GMT that day, now 25 years ago, the big one hit us. There was no escape. For 13 seconds a tsunami of neutrinos, emanating from a giant star eleven billion times more distant than the sun, flooded earth. This wave of neutrinos paled the steady stream of neutrinos reaching us from the sun by a factor of more than ten thousand.

Yet no one noticed.
Those working on quantum gravity have to accept the fact they are unlikely to ever compete for a Nobel in physics. No matter how brilliant and how widely accepted the contribution, a Nobel prize in physics is not awarded as long as the work has not been verified experimentally. I am not sticking my neck out very far when I predict that a direct detection of quantum gravity effects will not happen before the end of this century. And as Nobels don't get awarded posthumously, the Hawkings of this world have to put their hopes on alternative prizes that are less focused on experimental verification.
We are all familiar with velocities. Velocities tell us how positions change with time. Velocities can not be assigned to individual objects, as they describe a relation between pairs of objects. We know this since Galileo Galilei. Yet, in common day language this profound fact is mostly ignored.

No, not a million of those... I am talking about page hits. And no, there is no reason for retiring: the next million is awaiting!

I didn't give much thought to page hits when I started blogging. And I probably still don't give it enough attention, but I do realize it is page hits that make the internet tick. And yes, it is stimulating for me to witness a piece that I have written attracting many thousands or even tens of thousands of hits. Yet somehow it feels unreal. Who are all these folks clicking on a link to this blog? A million hits for a nerdy and rather inaccessible physics blog is way more than I ever could have expected.