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The Quantum Pontiffs
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Author Archives: chb
Are articles in highimpact journals more like designer handbags, or monarch butterflies?
US biologist Randy Schekman, who shared this year’s physiology and medicine Nobel prize, has made prompt use of his new bully pulpit. In How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science: The incentives offered by top journals distort … Continue reading
Cosmology meets Philanthropy — guest post by Jess Riedel
My colleague Jess Riedel recently attended a conference exploring the connection between these seemingly disparate subjects, which led him to compose the following essay.–CHB People sometimes ask me what how my research will help society. This question is familiar to … Continue reading
Posted in Astrobiology, Astronomy, Economics, Off The Deep End, Uncategorized
2 Comments
Scientific Birthdays –Toffoli gate honored on namesake’s 70′th
Tommaso Toffoli’s 3input 3output logic gate, central to the theory of reversible and quantum computing, recently featured on a custom cake made for his 70′th birthday. Nowadays scientists’ birthday celebrations often take the form of informal miniconferences, festschrifts without the … Continue reading
Posted in General, Physics, Quantum
7 Comments
Resolution of Toom’s rule paradox
A few days ago our Ghost Pontiff Dave Bacon wondered how Toom’s noisy but highly faulttolerant 2state classical cellular automaton can get away with violating the Gibbs phase rule, according to which a finitedimensional locally interacting system, at generic points … Continue reading
Posted in General, Mathematics, Physics
5 Comments
Nonchaotic irregularity
In principle, barring the intervention of chance, identical causes lead to identical effects. And except in chaotic systems, similar causes lead to similar effects. Borges’ story “Pierre Menard” exemplifies an extreme version of this idea: an early 20′th century writer … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics, Physics
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Simple circuit "factors" arbitrarily large numbers
Last Thursday, at the QIP rump session in Beijing, John Smolin described recent work with Graeme Smith and Alex Vargo [SSV] showing that arbitrarily large numbers can be factored by using this constantsized quantum circuit to implement a compiled version … Continue reading
Apocalypses, Firewalls, and Boltzmann Brains
Last week’s plebeian scaremongering about the world ending at the wraparound of the Mayan calendar did not distract sophisticated readers of grqc and quantph from a more arcane problem, the socalled Firewall Question. This concerns what happens to Alice when … Continue reading
Posted in Off The Deep End, Quantum, Science
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Haroche and Wineland win Physics Nobel
The physics prize was shared between experimentalists Serge Haroche and David Wineland, longtime leaders in the study of atomphoton interaction. In recent decades both have honed their techniques to meet the challenges and opportunities opened by “quantum information science” which … Continue reading
Posted in News, Quantum, Quantum Computing, Science
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A way around Nobel's 3person limit
Most fields of science have become increasingly collaborative over the last century, sometimes forcing the Nobel Prizes to unduly truncate the list of recipients, or neglect major discoveries involving more than three discoverers. In January we pointed out a … Continue reading
Posted in General
3 Comments
Throwing cold water on the Quantum Internet
There has been a lot of loose talk lately about a coming “Quantum Internet”. I was asked about it recently by a journalist and gave him this curmudgeonly answer, hoping to redirect some of the naive enthusiasm: …First let me … Continue reading