Physics

Burton Richter, 1975 Nobel prize in Physics for the discovery of the J/ψ meson, speaks about the need of a new linear collider for the measurement of Higgs boson branching fractions in a video on Facebook (as soon as I understand how to paste here I will!)

Richter has been a fervent advocate of electron-positron machines over hadronic accelerators throughout his life. So you really could not expect anything different from him - but he still does it with all his might. At one point he says, talking of the hadron collider scientists who discovered the Higgs boson:

I am very happy today because I have been notified by the European Community that a project I submitted for funding as coordinator last January has been evaluated very positively by the EU reviewers. The project is a training network of universities and research centres in Europe, with participation of two additional academic partners and four industrial partners from the US, Russia, Italy and Belgium. The network name is "AMVA4NewPhysics", and it aims at developing and applying cutting-edge statistical learning tools to new physics and Englert-Higgs boson studies to the LHC data collected by ATLAS and CMS.

Rydberg atoms, atoms whose outermost electrons are highly excited but not ionized, might be just the thing for processing quantum information. These outsized atoms can be sustained for a long time in a quantum superposition condition (a good thing for creating qubits) and they can interact strongly with other such atoms, making them useful for devising the kind of logic gates needed to process information. 


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.

Richard Feynman, who would turn 97 years old today. Happy birthday, mr. Feynman!

All light is made of electromagnetic waves.  This means that like any wave, there is something repeatedly sloshing back and forth with light.  A water wave is crests and troughs on the water going up and down over and over as they travel across the surface.  Light waves have some resemblance in that with light, it is electric and magnetic fields which are periodically wobbling back and forth. 

When a mirror reflects light, it experiences a slight push but it is negligible in our everyday lives. Our furniture is not moving because due to radiation pressure of light, a 100 Watt light-bulb causes a radiation pressure that is only a trillionth (one part to 1000000000000) of the normal atmospheric pressure.
As yesterday in Italy was the equivalent of Labor Day, and today is a Saturday, with people around me exploiting the three-day rest for a recreational trip, I do not feel in a very productive mood, so rather than writing something original here I will exploit other people's work, pointing at what I found interesting or anyway worth my attention among the papers appeared on the Cornell Arxiv in the last few days, and other assorted material.

Detecting ionizing radiation does not mean that a disaster has or will occur.  Detecting radiation is generally a good thing if the radiation is expected, intended or natural.  We and all living things on earth are naturally radioactive.  This is due primarily to our requirement to have a healthy level of potassium and carbon in our bodies (and these are both naturally radioactive). 

"B.W. Lee also carries much of the responsibility for calling the Higgs boson the Higgs boson, mentioning repeatedly 'Higgs scalar fields' in a review talk at the International Conference on High-Energy Physics in 1972."
J. Ellis, M.K. Gaillard, D. Nanopoulos, "An updated historical profile of the Higgs boson", arxiv:1504.07217.