Physics

The World Conference on Science Journalism held in London 2009 has its own web site, of course. Today they were so kind to let me know they had published there the recordings of all sessions, among which was the one where I gave my speech. The session title was "Blogs, Big Physics, and Breaking News", it featured Matin Durrani as chair, and Matthew Chalmers, myself, and James Gillies as speakers. The abstract ran as follows:

How are blogs changing the way science news develops and is reported?
The commissioning of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will offer a
telling case study over the next few years. Who will be first with news
A couple of months ago I wrote here about the first observation of a process called "diboson production", a quite rare occurrence in hadronic collisions: for the first time, the CDF collaboration could observe that rare process in events containing hadronic jets, which are usually riddled by enormous backgrounds.
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness in the desert air."

Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", vv. 53-56. I have always loved these lines, and besides, as I wrote a few years ago, "The relevance of these verses to the general melancholy of the Higgs hunter at the Tevatron is obvious… Suffices to say that the Tevatron is currently producing of the order of 20 Higgs bosons per day in CDF and D0, and yet they blush unseen, born by dark unfathomed caves of
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US, have performed sophisticated laser measurements to detect the subtle effects of one of nature's most elusive forces - the "weak interaction", and in the process also found the largest effect of the weak interaction ever observed in an atom.

The Principle of Maximal Aging - Capturing the Essence of Relativity

The hunt for dark energy is on and ways to find it, such as weak gravitational lensing and baryon acoustic oscillation, hold great promise but are as yet unproven.   Supernovae studies, which depend on measuring the redshift and brightness of distant Type Ia supernovae, are the most reliable.
Robert Wald has formulated QFT in curved space time in terms of it's algebra of observables on a manifold.  In doing so he has, perhaps unintentionally, provided framework in which very different theories of quantum gravity look very similar. 
Readers familiar with this blog know that I am a die-hard skeptic on the issue of physics beyond the Standard Model. However, today I am wearing my fluctuation-enthusiast hat, and I will be trying to argue in favor of the possible signal of new physics that is coming out of the Tevatron data. Please do not get confused: everything is still in order. Maybe.
Call it irreversibility, call it time's arrow, call it the second law of thermodynamics. Fact is that everything evolves in such a way that things get more messy. Disorder rises. Entropy increases. We do not observe the opposite happening. Heat flows from from hot to cold, not the other way around. Fluids mix but don't unmix. Shattered pieces of crystal don't reassemble into a vase.
Detailed balance is a simple and powerful rule to describe the dynamics of two-state systems.

If you know the probability of a transition from a state A to the other state B of a physical system (in some appropriate time unit), and you also know the probability of the reverse reaction , then you automatically know what is equilibrium condition for N bodies distributed in the two states:

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