Physics

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.

This is just a short update on the saga of the anomalous excess of W-boson-pair production that the ATLAS and CMS collaborations have reported in their 7-TeV and 8-TeV proton-proton collision data. A small bit of information which I was unaware of, and which can be added to the picture.


A new study has unlocked the potential to create new materials using nanosized ‘building blocks’, by using a laser technique to examine in rich detail the structure and internal atomic motion of a small cluster containing an acetylene molecule and a single helium atom,  C2H2−He complex .

The technique excited single clusters and generated rotational wavepackets, which are composed of multiple waves illustrating the individual motion of atoms. The team were able to track these wavepackets in real time up to one nanosecond over many rotations.
This is just a short post to report about a useful paper I found by preparing for a talk I will be giving next week at the 3rd International Conference on New Frontiers in Physics, in the pleasant setting of the Orthodox Academy of Crete, near Kolympari.

My talk will be titled "Extraordinary Claims: the 0.000029% Solution", making reference to the 5-sigma "discovery threshold" that has become a well-known standard for reporting the observation of new effects or particles in high-energy physics and astrophysics.

Assembling yttrium-based high-temperature superconducting tapes in order to fabricate a large-scale magnet conductor has led to the National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) in Japan  achieving an electrical current of 100,000 amperes, by far the highest in the world.


Researchers have succeeded in embedding nearly perfect semiconductor crystals into a silicon nanowire. They say the new method of producing hybrid nanowires, very fast and multi-functional processing units, can be accommodated on a single chip in the future. 

Nano-optoelectronics are considered the cornerstone of future chip technology, but the research faces major challenges: on the one hand, electronic components must be accommodated into smaller and smaller spaces. On the other hand, what are known as compound semiconductors are to be embedded into conventional materials. In contrast to silicon, many of such semiconductors with extremely high electron mobility could improve performance of the most modern silicon-based CMOS technology.


It is now generally admitted that the BICEP2 Collaboration has not yet produced an evidence for the existence of primordial B-modes in the measured polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Contrary to the claim contained in the initial  (March 2014) version of their article arXiv:1403.3985v1 and to the strong media coverage that followed this announcement, the Physical Review Letters 112, 241101 version (June 2014) explicitly recognizes that the experimental and phenomenological situation is not so simple.

A vacuum - empty space - is not as empty as one might think. In fact, empty space is a bubbling soup of various virtual particles popping in and out of existence – a phenomenon called "vacuum fluctuations". Usually, such extremely short-lived particles remain completely unnoticed, but in certain cases vacuum forces can have a measurable effect.

A team of researchers have proposed a method of amplifying these forces by several orders of magnitude using a transmission line, channeling virtual photons.


"Borrowing" Energy, but just for a Little While


Many new particles and other new physics signals claimed in the last twenty years were later proven to be spurious effects, due to background fluctuations or unknown sources of systematic error. The list is long, unfortunately - and longer than the list of particles and effects that were confirmed to be true by subsequent more detailed or more statistically-rich analysis.
As a consumer of science who is not a scientist how can you know if a theory is legitimate or simply crakcpottery.  Here are some easy to understand signs that an alternative theory is legitimate science.  

A blog about spam by Tommaso Dorigo ( The Spam Of Physicist Mailboxes ) got me thinking about this issue.  How can one know if a theory which is less favored or "alternative" to the accepted "standard model(s)" is legitimate science? These points will apply to any area of science, but I know astronomy and astrophysics the best.  So, I will use an example from that area of science.