Physics

How to explain resonance to a non-scientist? A few years back I heard a guest speaker on BBC Radio 4 trying to explain the resonance effects of pulsed microwave radiation on the brain in contrast to the thermal effects of the carrier frequency: sadly he failed miserably. What is it about resonance that makes it so hard to explain?

I have taught it to A-level students and to undergraduate engineers. Electrical engineers, in particular, need to be thoroughly familiar with the phenomenon and yet, I could see that its significance eluded them. There are few, if any, good visible examples in real life. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is one famous example, where strong winds set the bridge oscillating. Eventually it hit its resonant frequency and collapsed.
I was delighted to receive news this afternoon of three new interesting results produced by the DZERO collaboration in the analysis of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) processes.

QCD, the theory of strong interactions between quarks and gluons, is the "boring" part of the physics of high-energy hadron-hadron collisions. It used to be more more exciting twenty years ago, when the theoretical calculations were not as refined as they are now, and there was still a lot to understand in the physics of strong interactions between quarks and gluons. But nowadays, things are much more clear.
The CDF collaboration, which runs one of the two proton-antiproton collider experiments at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory since the early eighties, has published hundreds of scienticif papers in the course of its 25 years of operation. I believe the number has abundantly surpassed the half-thousand mark, but I am unaware of its exact entity.
On March 8th, international women day, the CMS experiment at CERN will be run almost entirely by women. 32 of the 34 shifts needed to run our experiment will be covered by women scientists of our Collaboration - which counts 588 women overall.

I think this is great news and a very good idea. 588 women scientists are quite an impressive force! And believe me, most of them really do kick ass!!
Yesterday somebody asked me here if I could explain how does a muon really decide when and how to decay. I tried to answer this question succintly in the thread, and later realized that my answer, although not perfectly correct in the physics, was actually not devoid of some didactic power. So I decided to recycle it and make it the subject of an independent post.

Before I come to the discussion of how, exactly, does a muon choose when and how to decay, however, let me make a few points about this fascinating particle, by comparing its phenomenology to that of the electron.
The CDF collaboration has recently released new results from a search for what is probably the clearest signature of Higgs boson decay: pairs of high-mass photon candidates. I am very glad to see this new analysis out for publication, since so far only DZERO, CDF's competitor at the Tevatron, had produced results on this particular final state.
"We were not yet prepared to claim that we had found a new charged lepton, but we were ready to claim that we had found something new. To accentuate our uncertainty I denoted the new particle by U for unknown in some of our 1975-1977 papers. The name came later. This name was suggested by Rapidis, who was then a graduate student and had worked with me in the early 1970s on the problem. The letter is from the Greek for "third" -the third charged lepton".
Science Fun With A Hot Drink


Here is a most enjoyable physics experiment that anyone can do almost anywhere.

You will need:

1 hot drink,
1 comfortable chair,
1 table or desk.

You will not need:

1 thermometer.


Having made yourself a nice steaming hot drink, sit in the chair and put the cup on the table.
You may, if preferred, put the cup on the table and then sit down.  This will in no way affect the validity of the results.  However, if you sit on the table and put the chair on the cup you are likely to invalidate the entire experiment, so stop being so silly!

The T2K (Tokai-to-Kamioka) project has tracked their first neutrino, one of the least understood particles in the universe.  The detection of the neutrino as it passed 185 miles from the East to the West of Japan means the study of the mysterious phenomenon of neutrino oscillations may shed more light on the role of the neutrino in the early universe, or perhaps even help answer questions about why there is more matter than anti-matter in the universe.

"Neutrinos are the elusive ghosts of particle physics, T2K spokesperson Takashi Kobayashi said."They come in three types, called electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos, and tau neutrinos, which used to be thought to be unchanging. This is a big step forward, we've been working hard for more than 10 years to make this happen."
We live in an expanding universe. Distant galaxies move away from us, and these galaxies see us moving away from them. If we reverse time and trace back this expansion, it follows that the universe has evolved from a dense primeval/primordial state.

The big bang concept summarized in three sentences.

Sounds easy?