The fourth edition of the International Conference on New Frontiers in Physics has ended yesterday evening, and it is time for a summary. However, this year I must say that I am not in a good position to give an overview of the most interesting physics discussion that have taken place here, as I was involved in the organization of events for the conference and I could only attend a relatively small fraction of the presentations.
ICNFP offers a broad view on the forefront topics of many areas of physics, with the main topics being nuclear and particle physics, yet with astrophysics and theoretical developments in quantum mechanics and related subjects also playing a major role.
As a whistle-blower and interdisciplinary scientist who appreciates the strength of philosophical arguments (read: logic!), I receive idiotic rejections declining to publish my work, perusing laughably silly justifications all the time. This is understandable in today’s throughout PC, eggshell walking careerist academia and publish-or-perish corrupted scientific community. But there are different degrees of how sure-of-themselves proud the rejections are for example. Physicists usually at least pretend to argue something, no matter it is clear that the editor or reviewers have not read beyond the abstract and reference list in order to find out whether they were cited.
One of the important things in life is to have a job you enjoy and which is a motivation for waking up in the morning. I can say I am lucky enough to be in that situation. Besides providing me with endless entertainment through the large dataset I enjoy analyzing, and the constant challenge to find new ways and ideas to extract more information from data, my job also gives me the opportunity to gamble - and win money, occasionally.
Nowadays Physics is a very big chunck of science, and although in our University courses we try to give our students a basic knowledge of all of it, it has become increasingly clear that it is very hard to keep up to date with the developments in such diverse sub-fields as quantum optics, material science, particle physics, astrophysics, quantum field theory, statistical physics, thermodynamics, etcetera.
Simply put, there is not enough time within the average life time of a human being to read and learn about everything that is being studied in dozens of different disciplines that form what one may generically call "Physics.
Twenty years have passed since the first observation of the top quark, the last of the collection of six that constitutes the matter of which atomic nuclei are made. And in these twenty years particle physics has made some quite serious leaps forward; the discovery that neutrinos oscillate and have mass (albeit a tiny one), and the discovery of the Higgs boson are the two most important ones to cite. Yet the top quark remains a very interesting object to study at particle colliders.
So called "memristors" are an intriguing hot topic in electronics and nanotechnology, and highly controversial to boot. A certain type of memristor device was predicted to exist in 1971. Being perhaps a simple electrical component much like a resistor or capacitor, HP claimed to have discovered the missing memristor in 2008, except, "The Missing Memristor has Not been Found
" [Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports 5, 11657 (1215)
A three inch long equation (or according to Kaku one inch) is the holy grail of post modern theoretical physics. We all want one equation from which one can derive all known physical laws. I don't have that. What I have today is a three inch equation which goes a step towards unifying gravity and the standard model of particle physics. It will allow one to predict the gravitational corrections to standard model interactions. Not only do I have a theory to present, but an experiment to propose which could test this theory.
One of the nice things about the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson is that the particle has been found at a very special spot - that is, with a very special mass. At 125 GeV, the Higgs boson has a significant probability to decay into a multitude of different final states, making the hunt for Higgs events entertaining and diverse.
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On these hot days of August one is led to remember the lyrics of Elton John's 1972 hit "Rocket Man": "and all that science I don't understand... It's just my job five days a week". Indeed, being a scientist should not be considered a mission, something you work at 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We do have our lives and attend to them... more or less.