Physics

It is a well-known fact that given the availability of food, we eat far more than what would be healthy for our body. Obesity has become a plague in many countries, and the fact that it correlates very tightly with a decreased life expectancy is not a random chance but the demonstrated result of increased risk of life-threatening conditions connected with excess body fat.

Yet we eat, and drink, and eat. We look like self-pleasing monkeys trained to press a button to self-administer a drug. To make matters worse, many of the foods and drinks we consume contain substances purposely added to increase our addiction. So it takes a strong will to control our body weight.

A team of researchers has developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of an individual electron - contained within a nanoscale defect in diamond.

Their technique uses ultrafast pulses of laser light both to control the defect's entire quantum state and observe how that single electron state changes over time.   

This research contributes to the emerging science of quantum information processing, which demands that science leave behind the unambiguous universe of traditional binary logic—0 or 1—and embrace the counterintuitive quantum world, where behavior is radically different from what humans experience every day. While people are generally content being in one place at a time, electrons can be in many states at once.


Today the Cornell arxiv features a paper by J. Aguilar Saavedra and F. Jouaquim, titled "A closer look at the possible CMS signal of a new gauge boson". As I read the title I initially felt somewhat lost, as being a CMS member I usually know about the possible new physics signals that my experiment produces, and the fact that we had a possible signal of a new gauge boson had entirely escaped my attention. Hence I downloaded the paper and started reading it, hoping to discover I had discovered something new.

Tomorrow's commercial refrigeration systems, such as those in supermarkets, could be cooled by carbon dioxide instead of hydrofluorocarbons.

Hydrofluorocarbons are a greenhouse gas that is nearly 4,000 times more potent than CO2 and a future with less of them could be important because millions of pounds of HFCs leak into the environment every year, said Brian Fricke, a researcher in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Building Equipment Research Group.

To address the problem, Fricke and colleagues are experimenting with CO2 and other refrigerants, including a hydrofluoroolefin called R1234yf.


As I reported a couple of times in the course of the last three months, the ATLAS experiment (one of the two all-purpose experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider) has launched a challenge to data analyzers around the world. The task is to correctly classify as many Higgs boson decays to tau lepton pairs as possible, separating them from all competing backgrounds. Those of you who are not familiar with the search of the Higgs boson may wonder what the above means, so here is a crash course on that topic.

Crash course on the Higgs and its decays to tau leptons

As a quantum state collapses from a quantum superposition to a classical state or a different superposition, it will follow a path known as a quantum trajectory. For each start and end state there is an optimal or "most likely" path, but it is not as easy to predict the path or track it experimentally as a straight-line between two points would be in our everyday, classical world.


UPDATE III is a rather important one.  There is a group at Cambridge which does some similar work to mine.  Great minds think alike, I guess. I have posted and revised a few times a paper on my new hypothesis for a theory of gravity which unifies Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity.  Whenever someone writes "I have posted and revised a few times a paper on my new hypothesis for a theory of gravity which unifies Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity."  The crank alarms should be flashing red alert, but I assure you all Einstein was quite right, but then so was Feynman and those who followed him.  

First some background on Quantum Gravity research:

In a different blogHenry Brown made the following statement:

Everybody seems to be talking about the Kardashian index (call it K) these days. It is a rather useless number that you compute as a ratio between the number of twitter followers you have and the number of citations that your papers got.

Here is a quote from its inventor Neil Hall:

“I am concerned that phenomena similar to that of Kim Kardashian may also exist in the scientific community,” wrote Hall. “I think it is possible that there are individuals who are famous for being famous (or, to put it in science jargon, renowned for being renowned). We are all aware that certain people are seemingly invited as keynote speakers, not because of their contributions to the published literature but because of who they are.”
The other day I wrote a post reporting of the lowered expectations of SUSY enthusiasts, who now apparently look forward to seeing 2-sigma effects in the next Run data of the CMS and ATLAS collaborations. That would keep their hope going, apparently.

I would have no problem letting them wait for late 2015, when the first inverse femtobarns of 13 TeV collisions will have been given a look at. But another thing happened today which made me change my mind - a colleague noted in the comments thread of that article that the LHC experiments appear to not publish their 2- and 3-sigma excesses when they see them, waiting for more data that "wipes out" the fluctuation. This is a strong (and probably unsupported) claim!