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.

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.