Thursday, October 31, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Stock markets and random walks

I was surprised how widespread the misunderstanding of Eugene Fama's observations about the economy was. Fama explained that the QE program is just about buying one type of bonds for others so its effect is similar to removing $100 bills from the circulation and replacing them with a 10 times greater number of $10 bills: the effect is pretty much non-existent.

See also my polemics with the Pig.

Critics of these insights seem to be grouped into two not quite disjoint sets – those who believe that the Feds' permutation games are extremely helpful for reviving the economy and those who believe that those things are extremely dangerous. But despite the apparent differences in the sign, the misunderstanding by both groups has the same origin.

It's hard to summarize what the reason for their misunderstanding is. But I would say that they don't realize that bonds are a kind of "money", too; and they don't understand that the balance sheet isn't "wealth" or "equity" or "debt" because it's just some unphysical number that is immediately subtracted from itself, yielding zero for the quantities that actually matter. So it doesn't matter whether you increase your balance sheet. If you print $50 trillion and lock the bills in the basement, the effect on the economy is zero even though you may boast that someone (you) owes you $50 trillion.

Fiat LUX

Guest blog by Dr Adam Falkowski, Orsay, France

A new episode of the dark matter detection saga was just broadcast live from Sanford Lab. LUX is a new direct detection experiment located in a South Dakota mine, not far from Mt Rushmore. Today they presented their results based on the first 3 months of data taking.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Dark matter wars are over: LUX safely excludes all the hints

The dark matter wars are over.

Many TRF readers were watching the sequence of talks in Lead, South Dakota. A gold mine was rebuilt as a top laboratory, thanks to many folks including the philantropist Danny Sanford.

Today, we learned that LUX has instantly become the clear leader of the direct dark matter search experiments. I was immensely impressed by the methods, sensitivity, clever calibration, and so on. Some of the magic of this experiment is the accurate localization of the nuclear events inside the tank.

Eugene Fama is right on QE

Eugene Fama of Chicago Booth School of Business is one of the three winners of the 2013 memorial Nobel prize in economics – and a rare winner of one of these softer prizes whom I consider extremely well-chosen (the efficient market hypothesis will be discussed later).

Yesterday, CNBC's Rick Santelli asked him about the quantitative easing.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Gravity (2013)

I finally went to see Gravity, the new blockbuster with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (I won't use their codenames Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski: isn't it a good idea to simply use real actors' names in the movies?).

It's a visually impressive movie that can and should make you cry, be terrified, as well as think about the empty space, the human courage, the orbits, the angular momentum, and the hard job of astronauts on spacecrafts that experience problems. (But it isn't such a bad job to be a Hollywood star in a movie where astronauts experience problems.) Buzz Aldrin has said that the movie should re-energize the people's interest in space research. The box office results are highly encouraging but I am still afraid that most people in 2013 are distinguishing Hollywood and Houston and they prefer the former.

Spoilers follow. Close this page if you want to avoid them.

List of superpartners

Today could be a good time for many readers to remind themselves of the known elementary particles – and to try to understand which particles exist if supersymmetry is true and relevant even at LHC energies (or for the direct dark matter searches).

You must have seen this table. What we see around seems to be made out of atoms. They have electrons \(e^-\) orbiting around nuclei and nuclei seem to be composed of protons \(p\) and neutrons \(n\). For over 40 years, we have known that protons and neutrons aren't elementary. Each of them is composed (mostly) of three quarks, \(uud\) and \(udd\) where \(u,d\) stand for the up-quark and down-quark, respectively.

We also experience light and electromagnetic waves which may be shown to be composed of elementary quanta, the photons \(\gamma\). For quite some time, people could have thought that everything was made out of \(e^-,u,d,\gamma\). Well, once the quarks were known, physics has had learned about other particles as well, but there exists an alternative history in which this subtlety didn't arise. ;-)

Monday, October 28, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechoslovakia: 95th anniversary

We've had another beautiful, summer-like day today.

It was the Czech national holiday, an anniversary of the 1918 birth of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia isn't celebrating – I respect that but frankly speaking, I do think that it's a sign of their partial national immaturity.

Prof Tomáš Garrigue [American wife's surname] Masaryk returned from the exile where he convinced Woodrow Wilson and other leaders of the Western powers to agree that the dissolution of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy was inevitable and the creation of a new state of the Czechoslovak nation would make Central Europe more stable. As the ultimate authority, he's been the president-founder of the "First Republic" through the late 1930s. Other key founders of Czechoslovakia were Edvard Beneš who would become the second president (one who had to see the devouring of his democracy by Hitler and then Stalin/communism) and the Slovak diplomat/politician/pilot/astronomer/meteorologist Milan Rastislav Štefánik. None of these leaders of the resistance movement were fanatics or angry radicals we know from other nations; up to some moment, they favored some autonomy within Austria-Hungary, in fact. There were many important politicians who worked "internally" (Karel Kramář, Alois Rašín, and others).

Masaryk would still ride horses when he was 84. Troubles began to pile up soon after his death.

Similar TRF articles: 2007, 2008, others.

Raju, Papadodimas isolate the reasons why there aren't firewalls

Wonderful new papers refine the black hole complementarity and show that the black hole interior operators are included in the CFT and other descriptions of the bulk while locality holds more exactly than previously thought (by most experts)

Kyriakos Papadodimas and Suvrat Raju, two careful and bright researchers with a refined Harvard pedigree, wrote their first paper about the black hole information puzzle in November 2012.

Yesterday, they released two new papers that make the incorporation of the infalling observer's observations into a description of quantum gravity – especially the AdS/CFT correspondence – clearer than ever before. But before I will discuss their new insights, let me look at a fresh hype by Clara Moskowitz in Scientific American,

Physicists Euphoric but Confused about Black Hole Paradox,
which seems extremely unfortunate to me. My memory isn't too bad but I really don't remember the last article in Scientific American about theoretical physics, climatology, or sociology of science that didn't look painful to me.

Sunday, October 27, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Masterminds of spying against Merkel have to be brought to justice

In the previous texts about the global spying by the NSA, I was sort of neutral but times are changing.

Spiegel and Bild claim to have the testimony of an anonymous NSA official who claims that Angela Merkel's phone was not only eavesdropped between 2002 and 2013 but in 2010, Barack Obama explicitly requested the continuation of the program because "he didn't believe her". The U.S. embassy in Berlin – a building near the Brandenburger Gate – was used to collect the information.

Saturday, October 26, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Unreadable rich men's parties impress in Czech elections

The Parliamentary elections in Czechia ended 2 hours 50 minutes ago and what we see now are already the more-or-less final results because 94% of the election districts have been counted. The remaining ones are largely random, slightly leaning towards the larger cities (in average, larger districts take a longer time to be counted) where the leftists might be slightly weaker, so an improvement of the results will occur but it will be very slight.

Three hours after the voting ended, 97% of districts have been counted and the lawmaker counts changed to 51, 47, 35, 25, 15, 13, 14 relatively to the screenshot above.

The chart above (via shows that the leftists' result was much poorer i.e. less frustrating than expected. Social democrats won with 21-% (51/200 deputies) and commies have 15+ percent (37/200 deputies).

There won't be any "really right-wing" lawmakers in the Parliament. The center-right parties – Klaus-founded ODS, TOP 09, and the Christian democratic KDU–ČSL (decreasingly right-wing parties) – have 7.5%, 11+%, and 7-% (16, 24, 14 deputies – 54 in total, slightly more than the social democrats by themselves).

Thursday, October 24, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Pan-STARRS1 survey: dark energy up to \(w=-1.19\), 2-sigma deviation

Cosmological constant as an explanation of the accelerated expansion under attack

Scientific American chose a dramatic title for a 1-week old astro-ph preprint that the astro/physics blogosphere missed:

Leading Dark Energy Theory Incompatible with New Measurement (SciAm)

Cosmological Constraints from Measurements of Type Ia Supernovae discovered during the first 1.5 years of the Pan-STARRS1 Survey (astro-ph arXiv)
A "medium deep survey" looked at 146 Type Ia supernovae, found a small deviation, and allowed the experimental cosmologists to claim that Einstein's cosmological constant no longer plays the role of dark energy well.

Well, I find this claim exaggerated and/or premature.

UN's new 26 science advisers are not representative of science

Six days ago, the UN boss Ban Ki-moon announced 26 members of a Scientific Advisory Board for the U.N. that will be hosted by UNESCO:

UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board to strengthen connection between science and policy
I learned about this news story because Fabiola Gianotti, the former spokeswoman for the ATLAS collaboration at CERN (who led the discovery of the Higgs boson), is one of the 26 folks who were appointed – one of the 3-4 "real top scientists" in the board.

Otherwise I must say that the selection underscores the world organization's political and ideological distortion of the scientific process. You would expect that if scientists are advising the world organization, they should be representative of the scientific community, kind of.

However, you don't need to look too carefully if you want to see how the members of the board were actually being identified.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Is space and time emergent? ER-EPR correspondence adds a voice

After a cold September and early October, an Indian summer finally arrived to Central Europe. Well, it's only called "Indian summer" in Northern America. In Europe, we have a different meteorological phenomenon, the grandma summer (at least in Czech we call it this way – because the floating spider webs resemble grandmas' grey hair) ;-), and it's disputable whether the grandma summer and the Indian summer may be viewed as equivalents. Europe and Northern America are allowed to differ in other respects than just the human history and politics.

Such a nice weather keeps one offline. But another reason was a repulsion from an overwhelming avalanche of anti-quantum zealots who filled my very own blog. Everyone who knows me can confirm that I am holier than Jesus Christ, trying to self-sacrifice as much as I can, hurt no one, and so on. But I returned back to my senses an hour ago. This is my blog, in fact, my parttime job of a sort, so I am responsible for the management and maintenance here. A comment thread with 180+ comments from which those who should learn something don't learn anything at all is just too huge a waste of time (and space).

Related and hopefully free of misinteractions: Andreas Karch (a TRF guest blogger, among more important things) just released a nice text about the black hole interior for the APS. I endorse the content and it's similar e.g. to this text of mine.
James Gallagher was placed on the blacklist because he's been such a pain in the neck (we have also heard that John Bell was a greater mind and made greater contributions than John von Neumann – holy cow, how insane someone has to be to believe a similar thing) and I will do the same thing with analogous lunatics much more quickly than I was doing it before because being repelled from one's own blog isn't how things should work. The ban(s) may be temporary but this feeling of being overwhelmed with the repetitive nonsense is something I am likely to remember at least for a week.

Saturday, October 19, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

2013 TV135: 1 in 14,000 impact in 2032

NASA's Near Earth Object Program finally has another candidate rock whose Torino scale is positive, even though it's just 1 so far.

Its name is 2013 TV135. It's been observed for 9 days or so. During the recent hours, the probability of collision on August 26th, 2032 – Witten's 81st birthday (he wishes I would never have used his name in this sentence, but I've already heard this comment from him on 9/11/2001 right after my PhD defense) – has grown from 1 in 48,000 to 1 in 14,000.

Van Kampen, a pro-QM warrior: 1921-2013

Nicolaas 'Nico' Godfried van Kampen, a Dutch physicist and an uncle of Gerard 't Hooft, died in Nieuwegein two weeks ago, on Sunday, October 6th.

He was born in Leiden in 1921 and studied there under Kramers (yes, this Hendrik Anthony one who worked with Bohr on the interactions of electromagnetic waves with matter). He figured out how to deal with singularities in quantum scattering problems; Kramers would say that this insight was important in the development of renormalization.

Later, he would move to Utrecht (for the whole career) and do research on statistical physics in general and stochastic processes in particular. For example, the book you see (and you may buy) on the left side has collected 10 thousand citations. Wow.

Friday, October 18, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Shut up and calculate, especially if you're a lousy thinker

...and if you can't calculate, please leave hard science...

I was led to see a preprint by a Spanish anti-quantum zealot on steroids called Pablo Echenique-Robba called

Shut up and let me think. Or why you should work on the foundations of quantum mechanics as much as you please (August 2013)
which is nothing else than an inconsistent, dishonest, and demagogic assault against quantum physics and everything fundamental we know about it, and against many pillars of the scientific method. This Spanish rant has elevated my adrenaline level substantially but even now, once the level has returned close to the long-term average, I am still amazed how it's possible for the arXiv to allow such rants with zero scientific content to be posted in the quant-ph sub-archive. The endorsement system is clearly not working too well.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

HadCRUT4: Decembers cooling by 9 °C per century

All data refer to the Northern Hemisphere

A blog named Sunshine Hours calculated some slopes in a simple case of linear regression: the warming or cooling trends in the last \(7\times 12=84\) months (since September 2006) restricted to each of the 12 months in a year according to HadCRUT4, the latest version of the British leading weather-station-based global temperature dataset:

HadCRUT4 Northern Hemisphere Winter Doom
See the New Climate Model blog for related earlier calculations.

The results look sort of shocking.

The arXiv, Aaronson adopt Mathjax

ArXiv authors expected to use dollar signs in abstracts

This blog, the world's most important personal physics blog, celebrated its 9th birthday last week. Because it has always been focusing on mathematically heavy topics, there has always been the question whether the dominant expert method to type mathematical formalism – \(\rm \TeX\) and/or \(\rm\LaTeX\) – should be implemented.

For long years, there would be many solutions but all of them had some serious bugs that made me sure rather quickly that I wouldn't get used to them. Or you, the readers, wouldn't get used to them.

Techexplorer required the readers to install a plugin, something that a sensible blogger simply shouldn't expect from most readers. LaTeXMathML.js produced a rather ugly outcome; it wasn't using fonts that look fine at any resolution; and there were probably problems with background colors. CodeCogs had also trouble with the background color and high-resolution outcomes. And I wasn't satisfied with Mimetex and its variations, either. There were probably a few other attempts I forgot.

Things changed in Summer 2011, more than two years ago.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LUX dark matter event: October 30th

The broadcast starts at 4 pm Prague Winter Time. More info about the event. TRF doesn't say whether I endorse Mt Rushmore in SD; see Penn and Teller to restore some balance. ;-)

The paper (you can only read it if you're a LUX member) probably says "strong nothing", I've heard.

Originally posted on October 16th
The dark matter particle may become visible to us in 14 days; or even darker

One of the potentially coming discoveries in particle physics is – no, it's not the discovery what happens when you hit the debt ceiling, it is – the discovery of the dark matter particle.

Update (October 24th): One week from now, we will know what LUX is going to tell us. What's your guess? Answer in this poll:

What will LUX announce on October 30th? free polls 

Approximate results after 250 votes or so: 59% nothing, 27% light new particle, 8% heavy new particle, 7% something else. The majority was right.
A war has been taking place between (and within) direct dark matter search experiments. Some teams claim that they have already glimpsed the evidence for a dark matter particle that would be surprisingly light – beneath \(10\GeV\) (I like to quote the figure from CDMS II-silicon, \(8.6\GeV\)). Others, most notably XENON100, keep on imposing upper limits on the cross sections and shout that everyone who has claimed a discovery must be wrong.

LUX in South Dakota is a new player in the war that's been collecting the data for a couple of months. We were promised the first results before the end of 2013.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment is coming; it's exactly two weeks away.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Alexander Unzicker: The Higgs Fake

While browsing random websites, I was offered an ad promoting a new book by an author we already know well. It's no one else than Germany's answer to Peter Woit and Lee Smolin, Herr Alexander Unzicker.

He released a new minibook (160 pages, available both in Kindle edition and in paperback) on October 6th,

The Higgs Fake: How Particle Physicists Fooled the Nobel Committee
Cool. I must praise him for being able to predict that the Nobel prize would be awarded for the Higgs boson in 2013.

Unzicker has created a special website of the book and if you click at the link on the left side, you may be the first person in the world who buys the book.

Insolent Czechia plans to double reliance on coal

For Czech readers only: My article about the IPCC report in the October 2013 Václav Klaus Institute Newsletter is now out: PDF

The second edition of The Elegant Universe (in my translation) will be out in 2-3 weeks. More info about the book.
(Yes, I wrote Czechia: I've been using the word at least for 9 years, since the beginning of this blog. Last week, President Zeman visited Israel and praised Shimon Peres for his usage of the word Czechia - which isn't hard for Peres because the common Hebrew word for Czechia sounds exactly the same. I don't expect that foreigners will actually start to use the short apolitical name but Zeman and your humble correspondent did their best.)

In July 2013, the Czech government finally approved the complete end for subsidies for all "renewable energy" projects after the end of 2013. We've been obedient toadies for quite some time. Despite our being a medium-size EU country, we have become the #3 photovoltaic EU power in absolute numbers at some point. The price was substantial and everyone could realize that we simply didn't want increasing energy prices, arguments who pays for all of that, and so on. So the plan to avoid all similar "renewable" hysterias in the future seems to be a completely general consensus of all the political parties, including those that otherwise suck and that will win the snap elections in less than 2 weeks.

Monday, October 14, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Debt ceiling collision risk is being underestimated

Two weeks ago, I discussed the partial government shutdown that was coming and it indeed came and turned out to be the non-event I expected.

However, we were also aware of another threat which is related but much larger, perhaps by a factor of 100-1,000: a collision with the debt ceiling, a legally imposed upper limit on the amount of the U.S. public debt. We're now just 3 days away from the expected D Day even though the U.S. debt clock tells us that the threshold at $16.699 teradollars has already been breached. ;-) There is no deal so far, tensions are running high in the U.S. capital, and people outside D.C. are incredibly calm.

You will probably agree that I am almost always much calmer than the average person when it comes to alarms of any sort (and I have always been right so far). People worry too much. They love to scare each other and they love to be scared. At some point, I may have been worried about the Iranian nuclear bomb more than you were but those worries of mine decreased, too.

But this time is different.

Sunday, October 13, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Templars dispersed on Friday, October 13th, 1307 and present

0:15 13th of October, the day when the Order of Templars was dispersed

0:20 It's Friday, 13th of October, 1307. In all of France, a giant raid against the members of the Order of Templars is underway. It was one of the most powerful orders of the medieval Europe.

If you don't see a video above, go here. I don't have the nerves to reconcile the formatting of the objects with the HTML restrictions of

0:33 The accusations are completely shocking using the standards of that era: heresy, sodomy, homosexuality, denial of Christ, and so on. It was 127 charges in total.

Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?

A part of the blogosphere is discussing the following incident.

DNLee5, Dana N. Lee, a black female biologist (specializing in vampire bats: note that the words for vampire, bat are upír, netopýr in Czech, similar endings) who oscillates between Oklahoma and Tanzania and who blogs as the Urban Scientist at the Scientific American server, was negotiating with about her possible regular, monthly contributions to this biologically oriented community server of a sort.

(No, Twitter's DNLee without 5 is someone else entirely, a fact that dozens of mindless retweeters of this story failed to notice.)

As most rational people would, she asked about the conditions as soon as she heard about the offer. She was interested in the financial compensation. There wouldn't be any, she learned, so she stopped the negotiations. The editor called "Ofek" at biology-online dot org added the key line here:

Because we don't pay for blog entries? Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?
"Did you just call me a whore?" she replied, and so on. You may imagine. Thankfully, her race wasn't directly involved in the exchange.

The Urban Scientist's review of the story (which includes her video testimony) got deleted from the Scientific American server (probably because "Ofek" is associated with SciAm more closely than she is) but it got reprinted at many places. Most commenters are not commenting on a certain issue that I find primary.

Friday, October 11, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nobel prizes shouldn't be awarded to large groups

Great physicists are islands of a sort, not mindless screws in an institution

I don't remember the last day when I agreed with Sabine Hossenfelder so entirely. She just wrote a blog post called

Should the Nobel Prize be given to collaborations and institutions?
in which she disagreed with a recent oped by Sean Carroll in The New York Times,
No Physicist Is an Island.
I agree with Sabine not only because of the "sign" of her answer but because of some detailed arguments, too. I wanted to write a very similar text on Wednesday but it's great that I didn't because she would surely not have written the same thing afterwards. ;-)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Roy Spencer vs citizen scientists

Willis Eschenbach didn't deserve such a universal criticism

Citizen scientists typically – or, given some terminology, by definition – lack the official education and familiarity with the existing body of the technical literature in a scientific discipline. They're autodidacts and they haven't been "rated" by any well-established institutionalized system.

That means that the quality of their research differs. When it comes to atmospheric physics, we can find citizen scientists at many levels.

The Sky Dragon Slayers represent the bottom end of the spectrum; they're full-fledged cranks who are incapable of understanding the basic physical laws and mechanisms that make e.g. the greenhouse gas possible. On the opposite, upper end of the spectrum of citizen climate scientists, I would single out Willis Eschenbach. His analyses, often published on Anthony Watts' blog, are clever, usually free of self-evident errors, and make you think, to say the least.

His recent investigation of the CERES energy fluxes led to a battle with Roy Spencer whom Willis considers a "hero of his".

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nir Shaviv: the IPCC AR5, first impressions

The author is an Israeli astrophysicist and cosmoclimatologist, blogging at

The IPCC summary for policy makers is out, and as I started writing these lines so was the last draft of the main report. Of course, it will take a while to digest the 2200 pages of the full report (it has a lot of starch!). Until I do, here are my first impressions from having read the summary and having skimmed the full scientific report.

Planck telescope: the funeral

In March 2013, ESA's Planck telescopelaunched in 2009 – brought us the most accurate cosmological data about the Universe. Last year, the unit became mostly useless as it ran out of helium (the coolant) and the cruel European Space Agency is putting the gadget down now (BBC).

Recall that the telescope was working at the L2 Lagrange point, about 1.5 million kilometers away from the Earth in the opposite direction than the Sun. Because ESA is so cruel, they decided to make the funeral thorough.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

NIF: laser-powered fusion creates more energy than it consumes

Peaceful fusion may be just 49, and not 50, years away now

This project has been discussed twice on this blog.

In May 2009, I mentioned that the National Ignition Facility in Livermore near San Francisco (StreetView) was activated – Chu and Schwarzenegger couldn't miss this opportunity for self-promotion.

CMS: second BEH boson near \(135\GeV\) gets an \(e^+e^-\) boost

The announcement of the Nobel prize for the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism (Weinberg just said that he was sorry that Guralnik, Hagen, and Kibble couldn't share this prize; Migdal and Polyakov independently found the mechanism while playing with trucks in a Soviet kindergarten: they were 19; hat tip: John Preskill) doesn't mean that everything has been settled about the God particle's sector. The boss of CMS, Joe Incandela, said that he wasn't sorry that he didn't share the Nobel prize. His prize and his colleagues' prize was the discovery itself.

This isn't just a proclamation to look nice and Feynman-like before the 2014 Nobel prize in physics that he may still receive. ;-) It's how many people actually feel. And the CMS might discover something more revolutionary than just a single Higgs boson which is cool but it's so 1960s, too. Sometimes I take the perspective that the experimenters and theorists should be evaluated together and Brout, Englert, Higgs and the three pals above were just 48 years faster than ATLAS and CMS. ATLAS and CMS should get a Nobel prize for something that they find before the theorists! ;-)

Click to zoom in.

Three months ago, I mentioned a bizarre 3-sigma excess in the search for the Higgs boson decaying to two photons. Aside from the Higgs boson of mass \(125.7\GeV\) that we have learned to know and love – and, in the case of two senior physicists, to use it as a credit card as well – there seemed to be an extra peak centered at \(136.5\GeV\). Moreover, it seems like the same excess appears in two disjoint channels.

If true, it's the second Higgs boson! Well, if the new particle will be indeed found and its spin is zero, I propose to call this particle the Brout-Englert boson and to reserve the term Higgs boson for the known boson of mass \(125.7\GeV\). ;-) Only Higgs fully realized that there was a new scalar excitation but Englert has been much more active in supersymmetry etc. so it wouldn't be a bad idea to call a SUSY-like particle related to the BEH mechanism after him (and Brout). There should be many more particles to be named after Georgi, Dimopoulos, Bill Gates, and a few others.

What I offer you today isn't equally strong (unlike the \(\gamma\gamma\) excess above, it isn't discussed as an excess in the paper) and I don't have a consistent interpretation but it's still interesting because a new peak sits at almost the same place.

2013 Nobel prize in physics: Englert, Higgs

Congratulations to François Englert (left) and Peter Higgs (right)!

Today's Nobel prize in physics has been the most anticipated Nobel prize in any discipline for decades, especially because of the July 4th, 2012 discovery of the God particle, the most important finding in experimental particle physics in at least 30 years.

Well, I am sure it's fair to say that the Higgs boson discovery was more novel, original, and groundbreaking than the discovery of the top quark in the mid 1990s. Some people might argue that the Higgs boson discovery dwarfs the discovery of the massive gauge bosons in the early 1980s, too. Another way to see how the discovery is important: The word "Higgs" appears in 469 articles on this blog – and it is not primarily a Higgs blog in any sense. ;-)

At any rate, people have known about a not-yet-rewarded breakthrough that visibly surpassed all other breakthroughs, a breakthrough that connects the stories of the heroes of theory and the heroes of experiments in the traditional way which is why it made sense that the 2013 Nobel prize in physics could be linked to this development.

Monday, October 07, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CERN, CLOUD: ammonia-like odor helps aerosol production

Vaginal odors cause global cooling

CERN's CLOUD experiment that uses a particle-physics-based device to study the effects underlying the cloud formation just published a new paper in Nature and a corresponding press release:

Molecular understanding of sulfuric acid–amine particle nucleation in the atmosphere (Nature, by Almeida and dozens of co-authors)

...supporting information...

CERN’s CLOUD experiment shines new light on climate change (CERN press office)
I don't want to copy all the information you may find above so let me be brief.

For a while, it's been more or less known that the sulfuric acid \(H_2 SO_4\) itself (I mean using the U.S. spelling with an "f") isn't enough to produce the cloud condensation nuclei. Is there another compound that helps?

Sunday, October 06, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Choosing God particle Nobel laureates: a poll

The king of an unnamed Scandinavian country, C.G., asked the TRF readers to help him with a funny award.

Nobel Prize in Physics, live video of the announcement was embedded above.

A rich billionaire who earned the money from sales of explosives apparently wanted to clean his conscience a little bit so he donated some money to create a prize – similar to Yuri Milner's prize but 3 times less generous.

The inventor of the explosive must have been a twin brother of the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák.

On Tuesday 11:45 am Prague Summer Time, the king's committee has to choose the 1-3 new physics winner(s) and they had an idea that the winner(s) could be related to the July 2012 discovery of the God particle.

Plans to move Czech embassy to Jerusalem

An Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post, finally noticed the current visit of the Czech president Miloš Zeman to Israel.

The article describes some of the actual depth of the Czechoslovak and Czech support for the Jewish state. The new Czech president – who has always been comparing Arafat to Hitler and who recommended the NATO to invite Israel and redefine the purpose of the organization as a group fighting against the Islamic Anticivilization, an empire stretching from Northern Africa through Indonesia that is partly funded by oil and partly by drugs – made the proposal to move the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem a few days ago.

France partly abolishes private ownership

I know that many conservative French women like their socialist leader Hollande – among other things, he is an active warrior. However, what he's doing internally would look rather terrifying to me. It's not just about huge tax rates for the rich anymore.

A story hasn't made it to the world media. The French National Assembly has already approved some Hollande's bills sending France two more steps closer to communism.

According to the new bill, takeovers have to be consulted with the employees (!) as if they were kolkhozes in the Soviet Union. The second major point of the bill is that

[t]he owner of a company with more than 1,000 employees who is trying to close a unit with at least 50 employees has to do everything she can to avoid the closure and get a stamp from a special collective of parasitic, pushy, obnoxious apparatchiks that will officially confirm that everything has been done to preserve the jobs.
In other words, you can't even decide whether or not you should close a door in your "privately" held company. This regulation is apparently meant to reduce the unemployment rate. Holy cow.

Saturday, October 05, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Superdeterminism: the ultimate conspiracy theory

Sabine Hossenfelder has informed her readers that she was just writing a paper when she was pregnant and awaiting her daughters in hospital in late 2010. The nurses were hoping that she was writing something like Harry Potter IX: Employed As Chair Umpire In the Empires of Vampires but they didn't realize that she was actually writing something much spookier.

It finally appeared as a paper called Testing super-deterministic hidden variables theories which is just a code for Trying to Beat the Big Brother and Her Ultimate Conspiracy. She tries to claim that she has a test to figure out whether we live in the so-called "superdeterministic world" which is a world in which a supervisor restricts what experimenters may think and what buttons they may press. She tries to present the idea of superdeterminism in a would-be boring, technical, innocent way,

All that superdeterminism means is that a state cannot be prepared independently of the detector settings.
but that just hides the fact that the sentence above contradicts the basic assumptions behind science and any rational thinking about the world. So what is this superdeterminism?

Friday, October 04, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

NYT prints a demagogic essay on women in science

The New York Times have published a manipulative article about women in STEM fields,

Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?
by Eileen Pollack, a writer of a sort and a professor in the humanities who has received an undergraduate physics degree. She describes her – and not only her – hardcore conspiracy theory claiming that the underrepresentation of women in physics and related sciences is due to some evil cabal controlling the society.

In the first paragraph, she describes a 2012 paper written at Yale that "goes a long way toward providing hard evidence" of anti-women "bias" in science. If the admission committee gets the same documents about men and women, they're more likely to pick the male candidate and/or pay him some extra $4,000 in salary.

Thursday, October 03, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

String-string duality: irrational exuberance of sophistication

As is well-known, any consistent quantum description of forces including gravity has to be based on one of the equivalence approaches to string/M-theory. It is the supersymmetric vacua of string/M-theory (where SUSY is at most spontaneously broken) that are relevant for any stable world with fermions and without tachyons.

From K3, the simplest one after the torus.

Five 9+1-dimensional "string theories" in the old jargon – maximally decompactified vacua of string/M-theory in the new jargon – and one 10+1-dimensional theory (M-theory) are known. They are all connected to one network thanks to dualities, i.e. highly non-trivial equivalences that look impossible to a beginner and that a beginner wouldn't guess immediately but once he guesses them, they may be verified to hold absolutely exactly.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Android tablet: first experience

For 11 hours or so, mostly nighttime, I had a new Android tablet.

After having looked at several candidates and reviews describing them, I decided this 10-inch tablet (Asus MeMO Pad ME301T) looked OK. Well, Nexus 7 (7 stands for 7 inches) was a frontrunner but at the end, I concluded that those 7 inches just looked too small to me and I wanted something larger. Female readers will surely forgive me but there's some sense in which even 10 inches is too little.

Naively, the 1280 x 800 resolution (the Pythagorean hypotenuse is 1509 pixels) seems like a lot for a 10.1-inch screen (it's 149 pixels per inch or 5.88 pixels per millimeter). How could I see finer patterns? But it turns out that you can see it. If you want real quality, I am telling you that those 2560 x 1600 pixels of e.g. Google Nexus 10 (its 2nd, Axus-not-Samsung, edition will be out in two weeks) are surely improving things visibly. That's an important lesson for those who don't care whether or not the price of their new device doubles.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

APS prizes: Zajc; Moore; Kosower, Dixon, Bern; Volovik, Mineev

Due to its unprofessional activities in the climate debate, I am not exactly a fan of the American Physical Society. But let me mention the new winners of some of its prizes that were announced today.

Most importantly for the TRF community, and this sentence was added one day after the blog post was originally written, the 2014 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics was awarded to experimental physicist and TRF reader and commenter William A. Zajc, the chairman of Columbia University's physics department "[f]or his contributions to Relativistic Heavy-Ion Physics, in particular for his leading role in the PHENIX experiment, as well as for his seminal work on identical two-particle density interferometry as an experimental tool.". Congratulations, Bill!