I have been again teaching two subjects where electric and magnetic phenomena are important (atomic physics and solid state physics) and met naturally new students. I always tell about the SI system and its history, but ask the students to use "for thinking" the Gaussian-like system (Carl Friedrich Gauss 1777 – 1855, portrait from Wikipedia) , where there is either a strength constant, or the units of charge are defined so that one gets the force as product of the two charges divided by distance. Potential, field energy density and all that are then simply expressed through the field strength, charge, etc, there is definitely no 
Everyone has heard of "Fahrenheit 451", the classic novel where big government gets its agenda by increasingly taking away rights in order to mandate fairness. 

This article has nothing to do with that.   Instead, it is about measurement of the viscosity of a gas at a few billionths of a degree Kelvin, or -459 degrees Fahrenheit.    Researchers have used lasers to contain ultra-chilled atoms and measured the viscosity or stickiness of a gas often considered to be the sixth state of matter. The measurements verify that this gas can be used as a "scale model" of exotic matter, such as super-high temperature superconductors, the nuclear matter of neutron stars, and even the state of matter created microseconds after the Big Bang.

This is PART III of the four part series about the Edge discussion between Lee Smolin and Leonard Susskind. After criticizing Smolin the last time in PART II, it is now time to turn on Susskind.

Leonard Susskind is well read, certainly enough to know about the measure (not “measurement”) problem in modern quantum physics (introduced in PART I).

Our present understanding of fundamental physics implies the existence of three generation of matter particles, which we consider structureless and "elementary", both in the sense that they cannot be divided into smaller entities, and in the sense that they are the building blocks of all observed manifestations of matter.

Why is there anything? It is kind of conceivable that there could be no thing 'existing' at all – no world, no universes, no consciousness. However, there is at least something.

The opposite of “there is something” is “there isn’t anything (e.g. observed)” but not “there is (e.g. observed) some nothing”. This is important to avoid much ado about nothing. “Nothing” refers to the absence of anything. “Nothing” is not another something.

H0 charge "clouds" in |4,3,1> state.


In about 1985, while considering a banal problem of scattering from atoms, I occasionally discovered the positive-charge (second) atomic form-factors


describing effects of interaction of a charged projectile with the atomic nucleus [1]:


"So string theory is certainly among the directions that deserve more investigation. But should it continue to be regarded as the dominant paradigm of theoretical physics ? Should most of the resources aimed at the solution of the key problems in theoretical physics continue to support research in string theory ? Should other approaches continue to be starved in favor of string theory ? Should only string theorists be eligible for the most prestigious jobs and research fellowships, as is now the case ? I think the answer to all these questions must be no. String theory has not been successful enough on any level to justify putting nearly all our eggs in its basket".

Lee Smolin, "The Trouble With Physics"
Uli Baur

Uli Baur

Nov 30 2010 | 1 comment(s)

I was quite saddened today to hear the bad news that Uli Baur passed away prematurely yesterday. Uli was a professor of physics at the University at Buffalo, and his research interests focused on electroweak phenomenology. I knew Uli as I worked with him in a workshop at Fermilab, when we tried to determine the Run II potential of the Tevatron in the physics of weak bosons. He was a brilliant theorist, known for his good manners and charm. He was also a CMS collaborator (although I did not know that! We are simply too many in these large collaborations...)
Physics hunts for the ultimate theory; at least that is what the media and people like L. Susskind and M. Tegmark tell us incessantly what physics is all about (god particle, ultimate string theory landscape, ultimate ensemble, and all that). If you are after the ultimate theory, Smolin
The time is now. If you are going to fantasize about the possibilities of an extended Tevatron running and how likely it is that your favourite physics model may be tested by CDF and DZERO, you are advised to get in the game.