Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Funding impacts (Score 2) 170

Prior to the possible discovery announcement, the LHC was often called one of the last big science experiments of our generation--- big science being a casualty of recession budgets. Do you think this discovery might persuade governments to invest more in big/expensive/multinational investigations?

Comment Been there, done that! (Score 5, Informative) 87

Six years ago, from a professor at my alma mater: This being slashdot, I didn't RTFA but the author seems to come to the same conclusion that Fitzpatrick did. Incidentally, if you ever need to know something about physics, chances are this fellow has excellent lecture notes posted on his website covering the topic (in hyperlinked html, pdf, and even a git repository for the latex code!).

Comment Non-relativistic QM is so 1920's... (Score 1) 241

I don't get why people get so hung up on these aspects of QM... QM is NOT a complete theory anyway, and treating a particle as a localized field configuration (quantum field theory) neatly fixes many of the seemingly inconsistent aspects of non-relativistic QM (albeit while creating a thousand other problems/questions). It's ultimately irrelevant in some sense...

Comment Re:Public is Public (Score 4, Insightful) 220

Researchers don't like this any better than you do-- it's indescribably frustrating to have to email colleagues at another university with a better, more comprehensive literature subscription. And that's before you acknowledge the fact that the researchers do everything up to printing the journal (generating the work, reviewing the work, revising the work), and yet the journal receives the profits. Trust us, we'd all like open access journals.

Comment Re:Shale is coming (Score 1) 1205

Majored in physics, not spin doctoring-- my apologies. Shale reserves are far from ready to produce, what makes you think holding fossil fuels up on life support via enormous subsidies and incentives for our best and brightest engineers/scientists to enter the oil/gas industry is a more logical plan than solar (or nuclear, gasp!) powered batteries or fuel cells? Your error re: Chu exposes your comment for what it is-- just so much spin and rhetoric.

Comment Re:Shale is coming (Score 2) 1205

Your rant would sound considerably less crazy if you correctly identified Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy, rather than Secretary of the Treasury, who is Timothy Geithner. Oh who am I kidding, you sound insane regardless! P.S.: I've interned with and a large portion of my undergraduate education was paid for by Schlumberger-- you might feel differently about fracking/fossil fuels in general if you've seen the beast from the inside.

Comment Re:Space elevator coming next? (Score 1) 159

Not only the fact that you do induce a voltage along the length of the tether-- think about the dynamics induced by the air currents. Anyone who has taken an introductory physics course knows that driven strings exhibit some pretty complex dynamics. It's entirely likely that you couldn't stabilize the tether, that some sort of instability would take hold and snap the damn thing. Incidentally, this is similar to the problems prohibiting viable tokamaks. You start out with what seems like a reasonable stable electron distribution (that is, reasonably close to an equilibrium solution), but small perturbations tend to grow pretty quickly and before you know it you've collided with the chamber wall.

Comment Re:I have problems with this (Score 1) 1319

This is a pretty commonly held misconception, exacerbated by the media. Einstein never objected to much of non-relativistic QM, but he did take issue with the attitudes adopted by many Copenhagen proponents-- that once you had the Heisenberg picture, the theory was put to bed. Einstein knew better than this, and was vindicated by Dirac et al during the development of quantum field theory. He never rejected QM in its entirety. It's unfair to diminish his role in developing modern physics, even with such benign criticism-- the man was probably the greatest scientist to ever live.

P.S. I study QFT. I'd be pretty interested in hearing Einstein's take on things like renormalization.

Comment Off Topic-- Dirac (Score 5, Insightful) 162

FTA "[...] people like Einstein and Paul Dirac (who predicted the existence of antimatter )"

It's so strange that they have to explain who Dirac is. I'm a student in a top high energy physics department, and the man's name is literally everywhere. He build quantum field theory from the ground up, damn near by himself. He's definitely a demigod within the community.

When I was in highschool I read (in Scientific American?) an article about Dirac, and it portrayed him as something of an under appreciated genius, that somehow he managed to escape the public eye. I guess this really is true.

There's this huge disconnect between who the layman idolizes (Einstein, Bohr, Hawking etc.) and who the theorists idolize (t'Hooft, Yang, Wilson, etc. though of course we do idolize the other guys as well).

Comment I've touched the TACC unit (Score 1) 213

It was kind of funny, I got to tour the TACC through a lab contact, and the most interesting thing wasn't Ranger (the fastest publicly owned supercomputer in the world), but this odd looking unit they have in the back room pushed up against a wall. Walking up to it, we thought it was filled with flourinert-- but then the systems manager stuck his finger in and licked the liquid off, explaining it was mineral oil! It's pretty amazing, they cool this thing using a swamp cooler. Just a pump with a heat exchanger that feeds a water loop through an exterior wall, to an evaporator. And apparently this thing works well during the Austin summers-- not as bad as Houston, but those of us who've had to endure it know that it can get pretty humid.

Submission + - The Data Peak That Causes The Excitement (

Takionbrst writes: "I awoke at the end of my QM III lecture today hearing this "in fifty years you might remember this as the day we found out why objects have mass." A preprint uploaded to the arXiv today reports on an unexplained peak in data collected from accelerators at Fermi-Lab possibly indicates the existence of a previously unknown particle. It's mass is likely in the 100-200GeV range--within the range of Higgs Boson energies predicted by the Standard Model. Is this the discovery of the century?"

Slashdot Top Deals

backups: always in season, never out of style.