Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Possible-impossible inspired.

In the wake of the next PI lecture on The Physics of Impossible Things, I did some research on this topic and found an interesting CBC link of Bob McDonald interview with Michio Kaku, the author of Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel.

I found also interesting close to the end of the radio show (at minute 17:32) Bob's comments about Arthur C. Clark and his video self obituary.

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A master of quantum pirouette choreography.

Found an interesting story on how Raymond Laflamme (University of Waterloo's IQC director) is harnessing the quantum world by choreographing the atomic dance.

Read it here:

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Christmas fun.

Wanna dance during Christmas? Then elfyourself and enjoy your moves.

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A better jet engine.

Speaking of jet engines...

In the era of jet travel and green awareness any attempt to save energy is laudable. Read THIS STORY on how an over 20 years old concept is about to take off.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Airplane's jet engine might.

If you ever wondered how come those jet planes are still in the air during heavy rain or when their engine swallows birds during take off or landing then below video is more than convincing.


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Heroes Remembered.

The 90th anniversary of the Remembrance Day was celebrated last week in Canada and other western countries.

Watch this video on the celebrations that took place in Kitchener-Waterloo Region.

I found interesting this year Regis Philbin's symbolic gesture to wear Canadian poppy during his morning show Regis and Kelly. He also suggested that the other western countries should adopt the Canadian custom to wear poppies prior and during Remembrance Day celebration.

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It's an exciting time to be a thinking being.

Frank Wilczek ended his PI lecture with the following two enthusiastic statements:

It's an exciting time to be physicist, it's an exciting time to be a thinking being.

I was just thinking why he is so enthusiastic?

First of all since SUSY's experimental evidence "will be glorious" as he said. Then since "Unification loves SUSY" as he put it. SUSY will help theoretical physicists to get to the Physics' holly grail, the Grand Unification Theory, a theory that will unify the nature's 4 fundamental forces.

Frank confessed that his vision is only "la creme de la creme" of what the new golden age will be.

It just happens that these days I'm listening Fernández-Armesto's audio book "Ideas That Shaped Mankind: A Concise History of Human Thought" and learned that the idea of nothing has obsessed mankind for long time.

Now I found another reason of Frank's excitement. Mankind will learn at last what nature's nothingness looks like and what was before the Big Bang. Susy's third identity is the nature's deep inner space with its mesmerizing song of quantum fluctuations.

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Apples and oranges.

How things so different like apples and oranges could be interchanged? Frank Wilczek thinks that he has a trick to do the job if we substitute apples with electrons, oranges with photons and LHC will witness that fundamentally they have something in common.

After reviewing the first part of his PI lecture, Frank Wilczek presented his vision of what will setup the new golden age in physics.

He started with the fancy picture of a 2009 paper calendar shaped as a dodecahedron (a highly symmetric three dimensional geometric object).

He made the analogy of dodecahedron assembly with the state of theoretical physics today that has only few of the pieces required (given by the Standard Model or Core Theory as Frank likes to name it). For example, it is known that electrons are related with quarks and photons relate with gluons. Electrons and photons are quite different since electrons reject each other (causing matter's hardness) while photons attract themselves (lasers work this way).

The idea that electrons and photons might have something in common would have outraged the theoretical physics community 40 years ago. Now it is a not such a crazy idea anymore as electrons and photons could be part of the same structure in another quantum state. This is what the supersymmetry (SUSY) theory predicts.

Frank Wilczek hopes that LHC will reveal (by creation) the other missing pieces of the dodecahedron puzzle.

Why Frank Wilczek thinks that SUSY will open the gate of a new golden age? Read my next post!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So you think you can dance Physics?

Frank Wilczek proved that he can bust some LHC inspired rap moves.

Before presenting his vision on the new Golden Age he felt that a physics quiz was due. Before the quiz though he decided to review the physics knowledge presented in a surprisingly funny way, by showing the Alpine Kat's - Large Hadron Rap, that I've embedded below.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

From disturbance to creation.

In order to see something you have to create it. An almost mystical idea that characterize the deep quantum world, confessed by Frank Wilczek during his PI lecture. Using Einstein equation E=mc2 if you provide enough energy you create something that probably LHC will capture.

Frank continues by making the point that this is quite a difference by comparison with the second golden age of quantum mechanics where in order to see something you have to disturb it as Heisenberg uncertainty principle proves it.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ultrastroboscopic Nanomicroscoping.

The title of this post is a weird kind of verb that I've learned about during Frank Wilczek's PI lecture. The verb represents what the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is going to do, since LHC is a ultrastroboscopic nanomicroscope, the world's most powerful microscope.

LHC, in Frank's opinion (paraphrased) is our civilization response to pyramids. LHC was not built out of vanity but as a monument to human curiosity. It is a symbolic expression of what human race is and what can be done through collaboration.

Thousands of circular magnets were mounted with high precision and cooled at 2 absolute degree (Kelvin) to accelerate and guide the elementary particles beam towards their dooming destruction in the benefit of science.

LHC pushes the technological limits of advanced electronics and information processing. The electronics will sense the results of human induced small big bangs and the information processing infrastructure will analyze the huge amount of data generated. The LHC computing grid is an Internet on steroids with thousands of networked computers providing a tremendous data processing power.

After LHC presentation Frank Wilczek asks a simple question: what LHC does? And the intriguing answer comes: to look at "empty" space. Empty is quoted since the nature at its deepest level looks empty but this emptiness has it all, it is a lava lamp kind of quantum fluctuations.

SUSY is a triple identity character, in my opinion. LHC is one of its identity. It is the experimental tool that will validate the contenders' beautiful theories since a beautiful theory doesn't mean it is valid. LHC is the reason for a new golden age in physics.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Frank and SUSY.

Frank is in love with SUSY but he is not the only one aspiring for her heart. SUSY is luring her contenders with a mesmerising song that is hard to hear and decipher. Will Frank be able to understand SUSY's message and conquer her?

This is a short paraphrase of yesterday's amazing PI lecture Anticipating a New Golden Age of Frank Wilczek. OK, I have to admit that I had hard time choosing a title for this post. First I've chosen "Apples and Oranges", then I said maybe "Oranges and Apples" would fit better :) After a while as the lecture content was resonating with me I came up with "So you think you can dance Physics?", "The Tricky Happy Dancer", "The Nobel Dancer", "The Tricky Contender" or "ultrastroboscopic nanomicroscoping" titles.

Why so many titles? Because the lecture had all of the above and more, relaxed presented on the background of very serious fundamental physics ideas.

By now I think you have guessed who Frank is. Stay tuned to find out who SUSY is and how Frank is fighting to get to her heart.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Anticipating a rare and real treat.

Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek is coming back to Waterloo with a PI talk that I'm anticipating as special. I'm eager to learn what golden tricks beyond the Standard Model his smiles will reveal.

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Economics Black Hole.

It looks like the current world economy is heading into an economics black hole (watch this video to get more info on why we are living now historic moments).

I've associated this analogy with an idea I learned during the last PI lecture presented by Sir Roger Penrose: PI scientist Lee Smolin considers that a new Universe is born from a black hole. We can extrapolate that after all is done and over with our current black hole a new world will emerge.

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The Cup and the Lucky Cloud Tree.

Just realized a similarity between the 2008 Olympics lucky cloud tree with 16 branches (mentioned here) and the cup that represents Universe's expansion (presented during this PI black hole session).

Looking for a plausible explanation I've extrapolated that the lucky tree could represent an economic expansion triggered by China joining the open world.