Physical Sciences

Yesterday, October 20, was the international day of Statistics. I took inspiration from it to select a clip from chapter 7 of my book "Anomaly! Collider physics and the quest for new phenomena at Fermilab" which attempts to explain how physicists use the concept of statistical significance to give a quantitative meaning to their measurements of new effects. I hope you will enjoy it....

The Theory of Everything may be a mathematically simple model which is rich in implications and more difficult in concepts than calculations.  The model I have just published as a candidate theory of everything is just such a model.   String theory on the other hand is simple in concept but difficult in calculations.   The concept of my model is that we treat all energy the same way.  This is a MASSIVE oversimplification. All the scientific details for any experts that have questions are in the latest paper and the references to it.
Like many others, I listened to yesterday's (10/16/17) press release at the NSF without a special prior insight in the physics of neutron star mergers, or in the details of the measurements we can extract from the many observations that the detected event made possible. My knowledge of astrophysics is quite incomplete and piecemeal, so in some respects I could be considered a "layman" listening to a science outreach seminar.

Yet, of course, as a physicist I have a good basic understanding of the processes at the heart of the radiation emissions that took place two hundred million years ago in that faint, otherwise unconspicuous galaxy in Hydra. 
The WTF paper, Boyajian et al. (2015), made an observation about a peculiar pattern of semi-periodicity in the light curve of KIC 8462852:
At 10:00 AM this morning, my smartphone alerted me that in two months I will have to deliver a thorough review on the physics of boson pairs - a 50 page thing which does not yet even exist in the world of ideas. So I have better start planning carefully my time in the next 60 days, to find at least two clean weeks where I may cram in the required concentration. That will be the hard part!

Three detectors tracking gravitational waves emitted by a merger of two black holes have brought science a little closer to locating a gravitational wave's birthplace in space. 

Gravitational waves are ripples in space and time created when two massive, compact objects such as black holes merge. The new detections were made on August 14, 2017 by two gravitational-wave detectors in the United States - Hanford and Livingston at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), operated by Caltech and MIT - and by the Virgo Gravitational-Wave Observatory in Italy. This marks the fourth detection of a binary black-hole system.

Clamps are miniature equivalents to the gravitational shock fronts caused by colliding black holes that currently reach the press because very sensitive measuring equipment such as LIGO can detect these fronts when they pass the sensor. During travel, these fronts keep their shape, but the height diminishes as 1/r as a function of the distance r to the trigger location. The result is temporary, and the front integrates into the Green’s function of the vibrating field. Thus, the spherical shock front deforms its carrier. Having mass is synonym to having the capability to deform its carrier. That vibrating field is our living space. Where a huge explosion triggers the front that passed the LIGO sensor, are clamps triggered by a point-like artifact.

The top quark is the heaviest known matter corpuscle we consider elementary. 
Elementary is an overloaded word in English, so I need to explain what it means in the context of subatomic particles. If we grab a dictionary we get several possibilities, like e.g.- elementary: pertanining to or dealing with elements, rudiments, or first principles

- elementary: of the nature of an ultimate constituent; uncompounded
- elementary: not decomposable into elements or other primary constituents
- elementary: simple
Until recently, we hadn't observed brightening of Boyajian's Star (KIC 8462852) over time. There were documented instances of fading over time, some more convincing than others. It was as though the star is gradually fading until the day it finally disappears from view.

Simon et al. (2017) changed all of that. Using ASAS/ASAS-SN data, the researchers documented two apparent episodes of brightening in the last 11 years. It now seems Boyajian's Star has long-term variability that is likely periodic.

Since the apparent amplitude of the long-term magnitude signal is not small, it's reasonable to expect it should show up in century-long data, despite the noisy nature of this data. I have confirmed this expectation with simulations.


Physical reality must be simple.