Physics

In a different blogHenry Brown made the following statement:

Everybody seems to be talking about the Kardashian index (call it K) these days. It is a rather useless number that you compute as a ratio between the number of twitter followers you have and the number of citations that your papers got.

Here is a quote from its inventor Neil Hall:

“I am concerned that phenomena similar to that of Kim Kardashian may also exist in the scientific community,” wrote Hall. “I think it is possible that there are individuals who are famous for being famous (or, to put it in science jargon, renowned for being renowned). We are all aware that certain people are seemingly invited as keynote speakers, not because of their contributions to the published literature but because of who they are.”
The other day I wrote a post reporting of the lowered expectations of SUSY enthusiasts, who now apparently look forward to seeing 2-sigma effects in the next Run data of the CMS and ATLAS collaborations. That would keep their hope going, apparently.

I would have no problem letting them wait for late 2015, when the first inverse femtobarns of 13 TeV collisions will have been given a look at. But another thing happened today which made me change my mind - a colleague noted in the comments thread of that article that the LHC experiments appear to not publish their 2- and 3-sigma excesses when they see them, waiting for more data that "wipes out" the fluctuation. This is a strong (and probably unsupported) claim!
In the world we commonly perceive around us, it takes only a slight disturbance for a pencil standing on its tip to fall in one direction or another, but in the quantum world it is possible in principle for particles of a system to fall both left and right at the same time.

Differentiating this “and” state – the quantum entanglement of particles – from the classical “or” is an experimental challenge. Scientists have now devised a  quantum metrology method that enables entanglement verification for states of large atomic systems.
This morning at the ICNFP 2014 conference in Kolympari (Crete) the floor was taken by Abdelhak Djouadi, who gave a very nice overview of the theoretical implications of the Higgs boson discovery, especially exploring the status of Supersymmetry models.

Djouadi explained how even if the average mass of sparticles is being pushed up in surviving models of Supersymmetry -both because of the negative result of direct searches and because of the effect of hardwiring in the theoretical models the knowledge of a "heavy" lightest scalar particle, which sits at 125 GeV- there is reason to be optimistic. He explained that for stop quarks, it is the geometric mean of their masses that has to be high, but the lightest one may be laying well below the TeV.

One of the baffling electronic properties of the iron-based high-temperature superconductor barium iron nickel arsenide is that, at sufficiently low temperatures, it becomes a better conductor of electricity in some directions than in others.

The odd behavior, which has been documented in a number of materials, occurs at temperatures slightly higher than those needed to bring about magnetism; magnetism is believed to be essential for the origin of high-temperature superconductivity. A new study in Science Express offers the first evidence that the directionally dependent behavior arises from inherent physical properties of the material rather than from extraneous impurities, as had been previously suggested.


Yesterday I gave a lecture at the 3rd International Conference on New Frontiers in Physics, which is going on in kolympari (Crete). I spoke critically about the five-sigma criterion that is nowadays the accepted standard in particle physics and astrophysics for discovery claims.

My slides, as usual, are quite heavily written, which is a nuisance if you are sitting at the conference trying to follow my speech, but it becomes an asset if you are reading them by yourself post-mortem. You can find them here (pdf) and here (ppt) .

Schrödinger's cat is one of the famous examples of the weirdness of quantum mechanics  

The thought puzzle is that you put a cat inside a box and make its life dependent on a random event, when does the cat die? When the random event occurs, or when you open the box?


In Lewis Caroll's novel "Alice in Wonderland", the Cheshire Cat could disappear but its grin remained.  Why? Who knows? Like dogs named Checkers and Esther Williams swimming pools, things don't always make sense. Scientifically, that cat was an object separated from its properties - it was a quantum cat.


If someone can use Kickstarter to raise $50,000 for making potato salad, perhaps, I can raise at least $2500 to pay publication fees on three papers.  It is a little known fact that formally publishing an article in a scientific journal cost money.