# Sexy Standard Model Symmetries 2: Experimental Corrections

May 02 2011 | comment(s)

Thanks to all that read my previous post, “Sexy Standard Model Symmetries”. Most probably did not notice quite a few technical exchanges between David Halliday and myself. I was pretty darn sure I had a way to represent electroweak symmetry using quaternions. David was pretty darn sure I did not. Such exchanges can go on for some time, unless one party finally sees that they were in fact wrong on the facts. That doesn’t happen often. It did happen here, and I was the one who was wrong. This blog will go into my mistakes, and generate a few more animations which may open up new views.

# The Say Of The Week

May 02 2011 | comment(s)

"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers."

R. Feynman

# If Schrödinger Cats All Die, Do The Alive Ones Go To Hell?

May 01 2011 | comment(s)

Schrödinger’s cat is in a quantum superposition of two states, namely |Dead> and |Alive>. If we open the box and find the cat dead, where is the living one? You all know the answer: In the ‘parallel universe’ where I pull the cat out alive. Let me add a twist that only a true cat hater can come up with.

$ds^2=-dt^2+a^{2}(t)\left[\frac{dr^2}{1-kr^2}+r^2d\theta^2+r^2Sin^2(\theta)d\phi^2 \right]$

# The big bang was not an Explosion: However an explosion is a metaphor for what the big bang was.

May 01 2011 | comment(s)

The big bang was given it's name by Fred Hoyle, in order to make the theory sound absurd.  He metaphorically called it an explosion.   In the mist of time most people even some scientist lost the metaphor part of that and thought of it as an explosion.  Others then stopped using the metaphor because it confused people.
This is more of an entry about the use of language than physics.  That said here is the shortest possible argument for why the big bang was not an explosion for anyone who needs convincing:

Explosions are the free expansion of material from higher, pressure, temperature and density to lower pressure, temperature and density in a short amount of time.

# Quantum Reflections

Apr 29 2011 | comment(s)

In his article “The World Is Not Woven From Real Stuff” Sascha Vongehr raised the important matter of quantum physics and our perception of the natural world.

He argued that “the feeling that facts are just out there in a really existing world, is strictly wrong” and asked “However, how can a layperson best grasp that direct realism is wrong?”

The reader was then taken through the mental exercise of considering how familiar objects such as billiard balls behave, that is, they lose motion. This was used to demonstrate that “real things” cannot be made of smaller things inside smaller things because eventually “real stuff out of smaller real stuff slows down and collapses into a motionless heap over time.”

# A Simple Derivation Of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

Apr 27 2011 | comment(s)

In his recent blog post "The World Is Not Woven From Real Stuff", Sascha Vongehr wrote:
Some merely claim that we need quantum mechanics so that the electron does not fall into the atom’s nucleus. Any classical electric charge would spiral into the atom's nucleus. The material that they make up would collapse.... Well, how convincing is this argument? Does it convince you? It would not convince me without a severe dose of already knowing at least a bunch of electromagnetism. Why could there not be some other, more intuitive explanation of why atoms do not collapse?

# An Interview On The ATLAS Signal

Apr 27 2011 | comment(s)

The interest for the tentative new signal of a Higgs decay to photon pairs does not seem to cease. Yesterday I gave a short interview to Fabio De Sicot, on the latest Higgs rumour. Fabio works for an Italian radio station, Radio Città Fujiko.

The interview is available as a podcast here, but be aware that it is in Italian...

# Jon Butterworth on the ATLAS Higgs Signal

Apr 27 2011 | comment(s)

Another comment on the ATLAS rumour is worth mentioning today, even if it comes a bit late, because it is written by Jon Butterworth, who is a ATLAS collaborator who also writes for the Guardian. You can find it here.

In particular here's a notable quote:

The thing is, CERN is an exciting place right now. New data are coming in as I write. There are lots of levels of collaboration and competition. Retaining a

# Nielsen On The CDF Bump

Apr 26 2011 | comment(s)

Worth mentioning because of its irrelevance: that's my other choice for a post which points out a new preprint by H.Nielsen, the Danish physicist who became famous by hypothesizing that the future was influencing the past in order to prevent us from discovering the Higgs boson.

# A 325 GeV New Quark In DZERO Data?

Apr 26 2011 | comment(s)

Spring is my favourite season in Batavia, watching peaks blossom in every distribution... A comment by Lubos Motl (in the thread of a post of mine on Higgs searches in ZZ decay modes) alerted me of a new result by the DZERO collaboration, where a significant (2.5 standard deviations) fluctuation of the data in the mass distribution of t-prime quarks makes its ephemeral appearance. Lubos already covered it in his blog.