Category Archives: Science

Are articles in high-impact 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

Posted in Science, Science By Press Release, Scientific Publishing | Leave a comment

Test your intuition

The name of this post was shamelessly stolen from Gil Kalai’s popular series Test Your Intuition. But today’s post will be testing our physics intuition, rather than our mathematical intuition. Although this is a quantum blog, we’ll look at the … Continue reading

Posted in Physics, Puzzle, Science | 1 Comment

Apocalypses, Firewalls, and Boltzmann Brains

Last week’s plebeian scare-mongering about the world ending at the wraparound of the Mayan calendar did not distract sophisticated readers of gr-qc and quant-ph from a more arcane problem, the so-called Firewall Question.  This concerns what happens to Alice when … Continue reading

Posted in Off The Deep End, Quantum, Science | 1 Comment

Is science on trial in Italy?

Big news from Italy today, where a regional court has ruled that six Italian scientists (and one ex-government official) are guilty of multiple manslaughter for the deaths of 309 people that were killed in the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009. The reaction … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Science | 7 Comments

Haroche and Wineland win Physics Nobel

The physics prize was shared between experimentalists Serge Haroche and David Wineland, longtime leaders in the study of atom-photon 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 | 1 Comment

Physics World gets high on Tel Aviv catnip

It should be no surprise that loose talk by scientists on tantalizing subjects like backward causality can impair the judgment of science writers working on a short deadline.  A recent paper by Aharonov, Cohen, Grossman and Elitzur at Tel Aviv … Continue reading

Posted in Quantum, Quantum Basterdizations, Science | 2 Comments

This post was supported by Goldman-Sachs Grant No. GS98039

After my earlier post about the defense budget, I thought it might be nice if there were some other similar-sized revenue streams that we could tap into other than DoD funding.  It got me thinking… who has the most money? … Continue reading

Posted in $$$, Science | 5 Comments

Rounding Error in the Defense Budget

I recently (and somewhat belatedly) came across the following news item: NASA gets two military spy telescopes for astronomy The gist of the article is that the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) just donated two telescopes with greater optical capabilities than … Continue reading

Posted in $$$, Science | 4 Comments

What increases when a self-organizing system organizes itself? Logical depth to the rescue.

(An earlier version of this post appeared in the latest newsletter of the American Physical Society’s special interest group on Quantum Information.) One of the most grandly pessimistic ideas from the 19th century is that of  “heat death” according to … Continue reading

Posted in Computer Science, General, Mathematics, Physics, Science | 6 Comments

Unindicted co-conspirators — a way around Nobel's 3-person limit?

This is the time of year the selection process begins for next fall’s Nobel Prizes.  Unlike Literature and Peace, most fields of science have become increasingly collaborative over the last century, often forcing Nobel Committees to unduly truncate the list … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Science | 4 Comments