Physics

Betting a grand on the existence or not of new physics is cool, but one does not need to be that daring (or to be that daring every other day) to enjoy the game of making predictions for what the fundamental research in experimental particle physics will discover or measure in a future close enough that we can reasonably expect to experience ourselves. So here I am, at the end of this eventful 2010, to look forward rather than backward, with no additional grand to invest but some insight to use, some reputation to waste, and a bit of humour to stuff between the lines.

Some unforeseen Christmas-vigil blog activity bringing here a few visitors more than average was traced today back to BBC News, who discussed the 2010 science highlights here.

The incoming link is in this paragraph:

The evolving role of the blogosphere in science came to the fore as particle physicists were preparing to gather in Paris for their annual conference. Internet rumours suggested that the US Tevatron particle smasher had seen hints of the elusive Higgs boson.

A reader of this blog asked in the comments thread of a recent piece the following interesting question:

"Assuming mH = 201 GeV/c2, how many Higgses shoud have been produced at
the Tevatron by now with an integated luminosity of 10 inverse
femtobarns? And how many H -> ZZ -> µµµµ would one expect to see?"
As sure as death and taxes, and as timely as a Swiss watch, the Tevatron collider never ceases to awe us. Well into its twentysixth year of life, the aged and celebrated proton-antiproton collider sitting just a few meters underground in the west Chicago suburbs hit the mark of 10 inverse femtobarns of collisions delivered to the core of the CDF and DZERO detectors.

10 inverse femtobarns! Ten inverse femtobarns of proton-antiproton collisions is a HELL of a lot of them. Plus, you should multiply that number by two, since the same number of collisions happened inside two different collision areas -those manned by the two competing collaborations.
Ten years ago the trilobite molecule came into the Physics media, like Physics News, Physical Review focus etc. It reappeared about a year ago, in fact in Nature. I am planning to demonstrate here that the trilobite molecule is not at all trilobite-like, it is much more pine-cone like.
An expert is a man who has made all of the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
Niels Bohr
You haven't seen any new hardcore physics posts entering this blog in recent weeks. Reason is a new role in my professional life, combined with a new science project that I have started in my spare time (if successful, you will definitely read more about the latter here). Both activities currently consume a lot of my time, and as there are only 1015 inches in a day, something has to give. 
A faithful reader of this blog has been asking me for answers to some of the 42 questions which were given at an exam for particle physics researcher wannabes in Italy in 2005. I already provided some answers in a separate post a few months back, but the reader asked for an answer to some specific exercises which I had not bothered to deal with here. I will do so now.
There exists a tendency in nature to reduce complexity via modularization. This tendency grows when more modules become available. Finally this tendency enables nature to create intelligent and very sophisticated creatures. I encountered relations in several areas of physics and in human interactions. Physics is based on relations. Quantum logic is a set of axioms that restrict the relations that exist between quantum logical propositions. Via its isomorphism with Hilbert spaces quantum logic forms a fundament for quantum physics. However, quantum logic only describes static relations. Classical logic is a similar set of restrictions that define how we can communicate logically.

This is the last of the four part series about the Edge discussion between Lee Smolin and Leonard Susskind.

I previously discussed the physics and the philosophical issues. You will have by now understood who won the battle in my eyes. However, I would like to use this final opportunity to stress that we have yet again a clear showcasing of that it is, as so often, sufficient to merely analyze the style of argumentation in order to figure out who is not to be trusted.