Physics

Today (and the next time in this series on duality), I explain the most interesting insight that I have gotten from string theory about black holes.
Two days ago I wrote here about the projected reach of Higgs boson searches of the Tevatron experiments, discussing what can be seen by CDF and D0 if they combine their analyses results, after improving them as is today thought possible to do. The reach was shown as a function of the integrated luminosity, which allows one to infer what can be done if the Tevatron stops running in 2011 or, as is being proposed, it continues for a few more years.
Last Tuesday I presented new precise Tevatron results on top quark physics at the "LHC Days" conference in Split. The top-quark measurements that CDF and DZERO have produced with their multi-inverse-femtobarn datasets of proton-antiproton collisions are very precise, and they surpass pre-Run-II expectations: suffices to say that the top-quark mass is now estimated with a 0.61% uncertainty, over twice smaller than promised. So it was nice to display these results to an audience mainly composed of LHC colleagues. I received several questions and the interest in my talk was clear.
Sorry, cosmic acceleration, this was not your year.   The Nobel Prize in Physics 2010 was awarded jointly to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene".

Without question ultrathin carbon is here to stay and a lot of terrific work is done with it every month.  Bendable computer screens and ultralight materials could all result from graphene research.
I am spending a few pleasant days in Split for the conference "LHC Days". I will be representing the D0 and CDF collaborations here in a talk on top physics at the Tevatron; in the meantime, I am pleased to witness that talks are of high quality. This morning the most interesting to listen to (at least to me) was the one by Guido Altarelli, a distinguished theorist from the University of Roma III. Altarelli has given crucial contributions to the advancement of our understanding of Quantum Chromo-Dynamics in the seventies, and it is always a pleasure to listen to him (a previous report of a talk he gave in Perugia two years ago is here).
No, the following does not belong into the humor section, because I know of people who made a career with the method described below. This is serious! This is another article in my series on the usual cheating in science.

POP-science culture (POP = publish or perish = popular) ensures that only publications count in academia. Successful grant applications also count, but the grant you get only if you have many publications. And “friends” count, which you get with coauthoring and publications. And all that impacts science – no conspiracy theory necessary here. This is science today:

Over at Cosmic Variance Sean Carroll is fighting an interesting battle. In a series of recent blogs that started under the title "The Laws Underlying The Physics of Everyday Life Are Completely Understood" he is making the claim that physicists have fully figured out whatever we may encounter in our day-to-day lives. Everything. No exception. Sean wonders why this several decades old achievement never got the attention it deserves.
I will be attending next week to a conference in Split (Croatia). The conference is titled "LHC Days", and has the purpose of bringing together experimental physicists working at the main CERN experiments with theorists and experimentalists from all over the world, to discuss the current status and the future perspectives of research in particle physics, focusing of course on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
Georges Charpak, a French physicist and 1992 Nobel Prize winner, died yesterday.

Of Polish origin, Charpak gave crucial contributions to experimental physics, in particular for his invention of the multiwire proportional chamber in 1968.

Back then, the signal of passage of charged particles was recorded by bubble chamber images and images triggered by spark chambers - where the charge deposition would create a discharge in a very high electric field.

Duality is one of the most important insights in physics and philosophy of physics. What does duality mean? It means that there are dual descriptions of one and the same observed physics. Duality implies that you cannot possibly decide whether the one description T or the other, to T dual description T is right or wrong, because both descriptions lead to the exact same observations for the observers who live in a universe that can be described by the theories T and T’. Both are equally right or wrong, as they are dual descriptions.