All of Physics

One thing that bugs the heck out of me, is when I hear particle physicists talk about their field as if it is all of physics. I have a great love of particle physics, so I’m not dissing the field at all, nor arguing that it isn’t more fundamental, but it rubs me the wrong way to disregard all of the rest of physics that is currently going on. This especially irritates me since it gives students the wrong impression that the only exciting physics is in particle physics. (Yeah, I know, I’m in a CS department, so what do I know about physics :) BTW)

Why bring this up? Because over a Nanoscale Views, Doug Natelson has just put up a blog post with a list of Hot Topics and Controversies in condensed matter/nanoscience. And if the topics listed don’t show you an exciting field full of important open problems, then you’re crazy! The eventual goal of the post is to discuss each of the items on this list in latter blog posts which is a great idea which I am sourly tempted to steal and try out here with quantum hot topics and controversies (okay, maybe the entire field is controversial!)

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5 Responses to All of Physics

  1. Robin Blume-Kohout says:

    Dave,

    Your second pragraph, I think, epitomizes two of the four things I like a blog to do. (1) it alerts me to an interesting thing in your subject area; (2) you propose to start a discussion that really ought to be started! So don’t even dream of not doing it, or caveating about sourness! Steal it, do it.

    Here, I’ll donate a pair of open problems/controversies — one that’s damn important, and one that’s just near to my heart.
    1) Is the non-Markovicity of noise a real disaster for fault tolerance (i.e., dropping the threshold from 1e-4 to 1e-8), or not?
    2) Do symmetric informationally complete POVMs exist in all finite-dimensional Hilbert spaces?

    (And, in case you were wondering… I agree with the first paragraph too, but didn’t have so much to say about it. And the other two things I like a blog to do are (3) amuse me, and (4) provide expert P.O.V. and commentary.)

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  2. Elia Diodati says:

    Hear, hear!

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  3. Dave Bacon says:

    Robin, (3) is most important! And now I have no excuse for following through…

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  4. Miniature golf says:

    Hear, hear

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  5. Harry Koski says:

    OMG, thanks for that, and don’t forget – “Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism the way you play it is free will..”.

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