Saturday, December 31, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

How would Jesus deal with global warming?

Gingrich fires a prolific female AGW-religious hack

This story is kind of hilarious. Three years ago, current GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich recorded a love scene with Nancy Pelosi on Al Gore's couch. Funded by the former vice-president's $300 million fund dedicated to the propagation of myths about the climate (which didn't succeed at all), they claimed that "We can solve it", meaning global warming.

Two Climategates and other events have changed the atmosphere in America and pretty much everyone in the U.S. knows that the movement claiming that a dangerous climate change is behind the corner is a fradulent pseudoscience driven by politics, ideology, and special interests. Newt Gingrich, a hardwired career politician, has noticed the change so he began to undo his "sins" not only with Nancy Pelosi.

His newest step in this direction involves a change of his coming book about the environment.

National Journal (and CBS, WaPo, Grist) informed us – I learned it from Marc Morano – that a chapter on climate change has been dropped from the book.

The details are interesting, too. The chapter was written by Katharine Hayhoe, a wife of a pastor in Texas who is, incredibly enough (as you will see), also employed as an atmospheric scientist. Rush Limbaugh was making fun out of her quotes on his show – and there's a lot of material here to be humiliated, indeed – so Newt decided to sack her in an effort to prevent a few more millions of GOP voters from leaving him during his otherwise promising campaign.

While Gingrich is regaining his rational thinking when it comes to the climate, he hasn't regained his control over the website yet. :-) Try to click the link many times: it's always different.

Hayhoe has co-authored a book filled with climate change "facts" optimized for "faith-based decisions". This book shows that not only leftists may get infected by this pseudoscientific virus; the combination of warmist and Christian zeal is possible and arguably viable. After all, man-made global warming is a religion and whether two religions may co-exist depends on various details of the situation and the individual humans' attitude.

Friday, December 30, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

GHZM experiment and indefensible emulators of quantum mechanics

I want to go through the GHZM experiment again and somewhat carefully (and in \(\LaTeX\)) and discuss the insanity of the assumptions about the laws of Nature that are forced upon you if you want to believe in "realism", i.e. the idea that the results of experiments (including those at the microscopic level) reflect a pre-existing reality.

GHZM state

The Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger state, later improved by Mermin, is an entangled state of three spins. Imagine that we produce 8 million triples of electrons and send the electrons to 3 laboratories – on Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn. The distance between each pair of these laboratories is 1 light hour.

These will be referred to as laboratories 1, 2, 3, and the corresponding electrons will be described by the basis vectors \(\ket\uparrow\) and \(\ket\downarrow\), meaning \(J_z=\pm \hbar/2\), written at the three places of a tensor product.

Clearly, some familiarity with the bracket notation is required. Each triplet of electrons is prepared in the GHZM state which is

\[ \ket\psi = \frac{ \ket\uparrow \otimes \ket\uparrow \otimes \ket\uparrow - \ket\downarrow \otimes \ket\downarrow \otimes \ket\downarrow }{\sqrt{2}} \]
The state is normalized. The relative sign of the two terms is negative. Each term is a tensor product of three factors. Reading from the left side, the factors describe the \(z\)-component of the spin of the electron on Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn, respectively.

Thursday, December 29, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC: is \(\chi_b(3P)\) a new particle?

Sometimes, quantitative progress isn't real progress

A week ago, many media outlets including BBC and Fox News announced that the LHC at CERN has discovered its first new particle. It's called \(\chi_b(3P)\); pronounce it "chi bee three pea". But is it fair to call it a new particle? And how excited should we be?

The preprint by the ATLAS collaboration released on December 22nd is called

Observation of a new \(\chi_b\) state in radiative transitions to \(\Upsilon(1S)\) and \(\Upsilon(2S)\) at ATLAS (arXiv)
The "palm tree letter" above is known as "Upsilon" and if it sounds Greek to you, then it sounds exactly as it should.

Congratulations to ATLAS and especially the people most closely connected with the discovery.

The new particle is actually a level of a bottomonium, which is a bound state containing a bottom quark and the bottom antiquark, \(b\bar b\), which is a subset of objects known as quarkonium. In a similar way, a charmonium is a \(c\bar c\) bound state of the charm quark and the charm antiquark (the most famous level of this object is the \(J/\psi\) meson). The term "quarkonium" isn't being used for the lighter quarks i.e. \(u,d,s\) because these lighter quarks get mixed and the bound state doesn't have a pure enough "flavor". Despite the catchy name, a toponium \(t\bar t\) doesn't exist because the top quark decays "before" it may create a bound state.

Bound states of quarks and antiquarks of different flavors (especially \(b\bar c\) or \(c\bar b\)) also exist but it's unlikely for them to be produced because such a production violates two of the "charm", "bottom", or "top" quantum numbers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kronecker, Levi-Civita, Stieltjes: jubilees

Three famous mathematicians were born or died on December 29th, in a year ending with a "1" or "6":

Leopold Kronecker was born in Legnica, Poland – which belonged to Prussia at that time – to a Jewish family. Once he learned some number theory and algebraic number fields from Peter Gustav Dirichlet, he knew everything he needed to become a manager of some real estate that belonged to his uncle so that he didn't bother to produce any mathematical results for 8 years. ;-)

Later, he returned to work and studied solutions to algebraic equations, extending the work by Galois. Kronecker became a forefather or intuitionism, by rejecting some continuous objects that he found contrived. While I would often count myself as an intuitionist in mathematics, I would disagree with extreme statements by folks like Kronecker. For example, he rejected Weierstrass' "pathological" function that is continuous everywhere but differentiable nowhere. Well, such Brownian-motion-like functions are actually the dominant contributions to Feynman's path integrals today so I wouldn't claim that they "don't exist" or that they are "not important".

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech guy tries to bring 247 snakes and reptiles to aircraft

What is a mixed feeling?

This is the feeling when I read about a Czech compatriot who does something extraordinary – it makes me proud – but the extraordinary thing is to bring 247 reptiles such as lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles, snails, and other often poisonous creatures to an international flight from Buenos Aires to Europe (Madrid).

The Daily Mail was the first source among many that informed about the adventures of the 51-year-old Czech man who was arrested in Argentina a few weeks ago. But aside from his nationality, there's another reason why this story gets reported on this blog. It has something to do with mathematics and the passenger's name.

Steven Weinberg and anti-quantum zeal

A great scientist is defending GRW-like pseudoscience

In recent months, I have made several comments suggesting that Steven Weinberg is somewhere close to one-half of his path towards a personal transmutation into an anti-quantum zealot. This was based on some random sentences from his interviews etc. But I vaguely realized that there was actually a much stronger reason for such beliefs.

And I was reminded about a preprint proving that the figure "one-half" in the previous paragraph is unfortunately a significant underestimate:

Collapse of the State Vector (September 2011)
In this text, Weinberg endorses his own version of a Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber collapse theory. Recall that this is a model designed by several deeply confused people who think that every \(10^{15}\) seconds, each particle in the Universe is forced to fill a "census" after which its position has to become well-defined with the accuracy of 1 micron or so.

Sunday, December 25, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

KM3NeT: neutrinos in the sea

Second largest construction after the Great Wall of China

In recent days, it became much more likely that KM3NeT (home page), i.e. Cubic Kilometre Neutrino Telescope, would begin to be built in 2012.

Together with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the Antarctica, they would form a global neutrino observatory.

Saturday, December 24, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Satellite fragment hits a house on Cosmonaut Street

If you're a defender of the space research, you may have been asked whether there is a danger that a failed satellite may return to the Earth and hit someone or his assets such as his house.

Just like me, you must have responded that many things may happen but it just very unlikely. Even if a fragment of a satellite managed to return, most of the Earth's surface is unoccupied and there are no buildings or people almost anywhere.

So you would estimate that the probability is similar to the probability that a satellite will return from space and crash into a house at the Cosmonaut Street, named after the astronauts, and that this event will occur on the Christmas Eve so that the satellite fragment may be viewed as a Christmas gift from the astronauts. But how large this probability actually is?

Friday, December 23, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all readers, including those who – much like your humble correspondent – fail to be proper Christians!

"Vánoce" [Vah-naw-tseh] is the Czech word for "Christmas". Skip any video you find boring or annoying!

The playlist above hopefully exhibits as much Czech bias as you expect from a humble correspondent from the heart of Europe.

Some Czech carols, merry Czech Christmas songs, and translations of well-known international carols and songs won't surprise. And I am sure you realize that the Good King Wenceslaus is no one else than the Czech patron, too.

Paul Dirac's forgotten quantum wisdom

It just happened that after more than 20 years, I opened Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac's book on quantum mechanics again, for a longer time. And it's great, indeed. If this book were used as a textbook, the arguments indisputably presented in the book would guarantee that people avoid lots of misunderstandings and misinterpretations of quantum mechanics.

It's pretty likely that one of the reasons why I found the basic conceptual framework of quantum mechanics free of problems was that I did read the book as a teenager.

Václav Havel: 1936-2011

Video: "Citizen Havel", a 2-hour "intimate" documentary mostly about his presidential years. Press the "CC" button (make it red) for English subtitles.

Originally posted on December 18th

We learned about the sad news in the morning. It had to happen at some point and it did happen today. Václav Havel died at sleep: a blessed way to leave the world (a cardiovascular failure). BBC I, BBC II, BBC III, BBC IV, BBC obituary, BBC pix, BBC tributes, others (2,000+ stories). A week ago, Dalai Lama met Havel (again) and he may have been preparing Havel for the leaving.

Right now it's the featured story of the BBC, CNN, WSJ (and others) and the 3rd+4th most viewed one after Brian Cox's "Atoms are empty" and "Prince Harry assisted mugged friend".

"The truth and the love have to beat the lie and the hatred, Václav Havel." Erase excessive articles if any, please: I have really no clue where they belong. A typical poster we would see (and post) everywhere during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The term "truthlovists" for the people around Havel later became a derogatory term used by some Havel's opponents; as a friend of the truth and love, I have never used the term before.

Your humble correspondent and Václav Havel

I was a red [pro-communist] guy until my 7th or 8th birthday. That changed approximatetly when my paternal grandmother returned from West Germany where she was allowed to meet her son i.e. my uncle (father's brother who emigrated to West Germany in the early 1980s). I was invited to West Germany many times, including the time when my other uncle (mother's brother) who emigrated to Australia in the late 1960s visited Munich, Bavaria as well. Of course, the communists never allowed me to go there.

My grandmother could share lots of experiences – and great products (when I think about the religious treatment that was given to a bitter low-quality kiwifruit, something I bought for $0.05 a piece yesterday, it makes us sure that we're living in a totally different era) – and that was the time when I began to be interested in the differences between socialism and capitalism in a little bit more informed way. ;-)

About a year later, when I was 10 years or so, I managed to catch Radio Free Europe on my radio. I was totally excited. It just happened that I was recording everything on that day. So the first 5 minutes in my life when I heard RFE were recorded on my tape and I pretty much memorized them because of that. ;-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EU vs world: trade war over airline carbon tax

The European Union bureaucrats apparently think that they have the right to impose their insane social engineering policies on the rest of the world.

While Beyond Petroleum ("BP") plans to rename itself as Beyond Solar ("BS") because after 38 years, they are killing their BP Solar section which isn't viable (The Guardian, The American Interest) and exactly when Solar Millenium became the second German solar company filing for insolvency in December after Solon, the European bureaucrats continue in their mindless jihad against one of the pillars of the contemporary industrial civilization, the fossil fuels.

However, it seems that their plan to charge the airlines extra money for the "CO2 emissions" has collided with the feelings of dissatisfaction of 42 countries, especially three tiny disobedient nations.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Feynman's thesis: arrival of path integrals

Under the article about Dirac's book on quantum mechanics, A.S. Maier remarked that Feynman's thesis deserves a similar extended review. And I agree with him, indeed!

The thesis was published as a book in 2005, together with a 1933 paper by Dirac and an informative introduction by Laurie Brown. Oops, I originally wrote "Laurie David", a name of a hired gun of Al Gore. For $17 or so, you get 140+ pages containing some concentrated brilliance.

Feynman has been one of the most ingenious physicists of the 20th century and there are many things to learn from this text. He's been already working on related issues as an undergrad so as a graduate student, he was experienced with many of these issues; it's really cool when your thesis may already contain some mature breakthroughs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Real Climate bashes Santa Fe and contrarians

Mark Boslough's most damning criticism of the deniers: they have no shared defining ideology and motivation!

Mark Boslough is ironically employed as a scientist in New Mexico. His most significant contribution to the mankind occurred in 1998 when he spread a fake article claiming that the Alabama school board redefined \(\pi\) to be equal to the Biblical value \(3.0\).

This article, seemingly successfully humiliating all the Christians in the U.S., together with a couple of nearly identical papers about the 1994 collision of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet with Jupiter, convinced the folks at the Real Climate that he is the most qualified "climatologist" to describe the Third Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate Change which took place during the Halloween week.

The author of the \(\pi=3.0\) paper rightfully remarked that the Santa Fe conference was "notable for the breadth of opinion — and the span of credibility — of its speakers." But those who know the first 100 digits of \(\pi\), much like your humble correspondent does, will probably figure out that Boslough's implicit opinion that the climate skeptics were sitting at a lower end of the credibility spectrum than himself is slightly upside down: it's rotated by \(\pi\) radians relatively to the truth and be sure it's more than \(3.0\) radians.

Carbon allowances jump 32 percent after a vote

Corruption and insider trading are guaranteed around the EU structures

According to Bloomberg and others, the European Union Parliament's environment committee backed a decision to make the "carbon caps" more stringent in the following years, i.e. to extract some carbon indulgences from the market.

The price of the permits for one ton of CO2 instantly jumped by 32 percent or so, from €7 to €10 or so. The committee which has 68 members may de facto change the worth of this trillion-euro industry by a third in a few minutes, just by raising their hand.

The financial transfers caused by raising the hand are equal to tens of billions of dollars per person. Now, try to convince me that these people are acting neutrally, without any external pressures and connections, but be prepared that I will hysterically laugh to your joke and the wind from my laughter could blow you to the Moon.

Assumptions in Heisenberg's 1925 paper

Hsirihs asked: I am not entirely clear as to what were the bases for Heisenberg's assumptions in his 1925 paper. He claims that one cannot consider relations between quantities that are unobservable "in principle", like the position and period of revolution of an electron.

To quote some text : "These rules (the abovementioned relations) lack an evident physical foundation, unless one still wants to retain the hope that the hitherto unobservable quantities may later come within the realm of experimental determination.

This hope might be justified if such rules were internally consistent and applicable to a clearly defined range of quantum mechanical problems."

My first query is why does he claim the position and period of an electron to be unobservable "in principle"? There was theoretically no reason (at THAT time) to doubt that these quantities could be measured, though certainly they were indeterminate practically.

Monday, December 19, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Celebrating the Heisenberg picture

As I suggested in the article about the solution of the Hydrogen atom using the \(SO(4)\) symmetry, one of the reasons why almost no people properly learn the "foundations of quantum mechanics" is the textbooks' and teachers' excessive focus on the Schrödinger picture (and the wave functions) and their disrespect for the Heisenberg picture (and the operators) even though operators – the observables – is what quantum mechanics is all about.

This unfortunate bias has its human dimension, too. Werner Heisenberg has been a much more brilliant physicist than e.g. Erwin Schrödinger. Heisenberg, unlike his wavy colleague, really understood what quantum mechanics is all about.

To discuss this point, I want to start with Heisenberg's July 1925 paper about quantum mechanics, an article that has been described as the work of a magician. Many things were unclear in the paper and most readers fail to understand the reasoning behind the formulae but Heisenberg made some incredible correct calculations and, what is even more important, he remarkably predicted what physics would begin to revolve around.

Extreme adventures of Jakub Vágner

I just returned from a lecture and it was much more amazing than I expected.

Click for more pictures with the same guy.

My bank has organized a public lecture for clients who are not just generic thousandaires but they don't have to be billionaires, either. Just something in between, in CZK. ;-) I knew that the speaker would be a 30-year-old (on Saturday, i.e. on Christmas Eve) fisher called Mr Jakub Vágner (WWW) who is also a photographer and voyager.

Based on some previous experience, my expectation was that he would be a relative of a friend of an employee of the bank, so he would just try to impress some random Pilsner folks by a couple of pictures he took on his vacations and some people in the bank could report that they have organized a fun event for the customers. My expectation couldn't have been more wrong!

Sunday, December 18, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why the God particle is an accurate term

Leon Lederman originally wanted to call his book on the Higgs boson "The Goddamn Particle" because it was so hard to find it.

But the title was too long and the publisher recommended to shorten it. "The God particle" is shorter and also potentially more catchy. The publisher turned out to be right. Lederman's book was selling well and the term "God particle" became the nearly dominant term for the Higgs boson in the press. (At Google News, the "Higgs boson" still beats the "God particle", 1900-to-1300.) Also, the "God particle" is a more lasting term than "the Goddamn particle" because once the Higgs is found (and this "once" has almost become the reality by now), we will no longer be angry about it so there will be no reason to call it "the Goddamn particle" anymore.

A few days ago, Fox News quoted a couple of physicists including Matthew Strassler, Michio Kaku, and Gordon Kane who claim that almost all physicists (if not all physicists) hate the term "God particle". Well, this ain't so as the respectful comment by Greg Landsberg of Brown University indicates.

It's obvious that because there's no "scientific proof" that the God particle is a wrong term, you will inevitably find physicists who think that the term is OK. I am probably among them. There are many other not-quite-justified names that are not being attacked; the proton (coined by Rutherford) comes from "protos", or "first", but there's nothing "first" about this random hadronic composite, either. I guess that the hatred directed against the term "God particle" is a ritual that helps to assure many physicists that "they're a part of the right community", a classical example of a group think. But the physics community nurtures some kind of independence so you're always pretty likely if not guaranteed to find people who (sometimes deliberately) avoid this kind of group think.

Journalists do lots of bad things but using a catchy name for the Higgs boson isn't one of the, I think.

New Scientist cartoon on supersymmetry

Nude Socialist managed to create a cartoon that is both accurate enough when it comes to the content as well as kind of witty:

Note that Z-bosons are zombies and W-bosons are George W. Bush, among dozens of other cute details. :-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EPR correlations in Heisenberg picture

Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and others realized that physics isn't a framework to describe how the world is; physics is human activity studying the true statements we may say about our observations.

Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli

Classical physics may of course be phrased in this way as well. In classical physics, we may make a statement about the initial state, for example
\[ \vec x = (x,y,z), \qquad \vec v = (v_x,v_y,v_z) \] where the components are particular numbers. The dynamical equations of classical physics (imagine a planet orbiting the Sun) allow us to calculate \(\vec x,\vec v\) in the final state, after some period of time, as some calculable functions of the values of positions and velocities in the initial state. So we may decide which statements about the final quantities of the type \(\vec v^{\rm final}=(u_x,u_y,u_z)\) are true and which of them are false.

From this viewpoint, quantum mechanics only changes one thing: the observables such as \(x,p\) no longer commute with each other. All the other new features of quantum mechanics really follow from this fact.

Thursday, December 15, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Solar bankruptcies spread to Germany

Solyendra was a major example of a government-subsidized American solar energy company that went to default.

Solon SE headquarters: I must say it looks pretty remarkable

Financial Times, Financial Post, and others discuss a fresh case of insolvency. Solon SE (Germany) which had almost 1,000 employees and the annual revenue close to €1 billion didn't make it. Despite the huge government subsidies for its consumers, the firm recorded a staggering €0.3 billion annual loss.

Implications of a 125 GeV Higgs for SUSY

The results of the 2011 Higgs search at the LHC have been announced and phenomenologists began to write papers about the implications of the findings for their models.

In the case of the Standard Model that has nothing new beyond the freshly nearly discovered Higgs, the implications are simple. At 125 GeV, the Higgs potential becomes unstable at a scale between \(10^{13}\,\,{\rm GeV}\) and \(10^{20}\,\,{\rm GeV}\) [formally]. A fresh paper from today (using two-loop equations) puts the instability scale to a value as low as \(10^{9\dots 11}\) even for 126 GeV. We don't know the exact value because it sensitively depends (especially) on the mass of the top quark and the W-boson which are not known quite accurately, either.

And the same holds for the Higgs mass which is also not known too accurately. It just seems much more likely than not that the vacuum gets destabilized below the Planck scale for a 125 GeV Higgs; if you count this instability as an inconsistency, the very existence of a 125 GeV Higgs implies that there have to be new particles beyond the Standard Model with masses much lower than the Planck scale (but not necessarily light enough to be seen by the LHC).

There's not much else to say (well, a new paper from today says that the Standard Model with 4 generations is compatible with the new Higgs data) and the uncertainty will probably not go away too soon. I just wanted to start with the Standard Model to assure everyone that all sensible people talking about particle physics – including your humble correspondent – think about the behavior of things in the Standard Model at the very beginning. The fact that they don't spend too much time with it boils down to the observation that the Standard Model is pretty simple. It also seems deficient in describing what happens at the natural fundamental scale of quantum gravity, the Planck scale.


Things become more interesting in the MSSM, the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model. Supersymmetry (or SUSY, for short) adds superpartners for all known particles. Each boson has its fermionic partner and vice versa. So we deal with winos, binos (or photinos, zinos), higgsinos (neutralinos cover all of the previous ones), charginos (charged higgsinos and charged winos combined), gluinos (that completes the gauginos), sleptons such as stau, squarks such as stop, and so on. One more special superpartner is the gravitino.

However, this spectrum would be (gauge) anomalous (and would fail to generate masses for one-half of the quark flavors) so another Higgs doublet has to be added, together with the higgsinos. By definition, the resulting spectrum is that of the MSSM.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs at 124-126 GeV is a sure thing

Ideas that this signal will go away are not far from science-fiction

People talk about prudence, disappointment, inconclusiveness, and so on, but let me admit that I, for one, consider the existence of a Higgs boson of mass near 125 GeV to be a sure thing. It's not sure according to the stringent standards of discovery in particle physics but I think you would be very bold at this point if you made a bet that there is no Higgs boson of a nearby mass.

Phil Gibbs' tricollider galactic combination chart makes the point very clear.

Click to zoom in.

Fabiola Gianotti's right to use Microsoft fonts

Fontgate: The boss of ATLAS shouldn't be attacked for her Comic Sans MS

When we watched the public talks at CERN yesterday, I opened a TRF Higgs chat box where up to 40 people were chatting on their fresh excitement, feelings, and concerns related to the Higgs search at the LHC collider.

When Fabiola Gianotti, the female spokesman [sic] of ATLAS began to speak, someone – and I guess it was B Yen, the chimpanzee – started to scream:

Oh no! Oh no! Oh my God! Why!? She has used the Comic Sans font! The sky is falling!
Or something like that. I wasn't sure what it meant and whether it was serious. Many other people present in the chatroom were equally puzzled. But it was completely serious and Fabiola Gianotti became an unlikely heretic and martyr. Indeed, you may check the PDF file and see that starting from the title on the title page, she is using Comic Sans pretty much everywhere. If you didn't actively know the font, this is how Comic Sans looks like.

But how is it possible that it makes some people go ballistic?

Monday, December 12, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs: 125 GeV Higgs rumors were accurate

Update after the talks

The talks – get PDF or PowerPoint from both of them – showed that the rumors were almost entirely accurate. The most striking excess was one by ATLAS in the di-photon channel:

IQ test: can you see a spike in the picture?

In the gamma-gamma channel only, the local ATLAS excess near 126 GeV is 2.8 sigma.

Sunday, December 11, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kyoto protocol extended through 2020

Update Tuesday morning: Canada becomes the 1st country that leaves the Kyoto protocol. Congratulations to Canucks! An unhinged Ms Christiana Figueres, the UNFCCC's boss personally trained and authorized by Al Gore in his training camps (she memorized An Inconvenient Truth slide show), immediately sent a legally nonsensical spam e-mail to Canada, claiming that Canada has no right to stop Kyoto policies whether it's a Kyoto signatory or not.
The delegates of the insane Durban climate conference have blackmailed each other and kept on negotiating for at least 36 extra hours. Finally, many of the delegates were so tired and so scared of the idea that their intimate recreational activities in Durban would be published by their even more alarmist counterparts that almost everyone okayed a sick deal:
Climate conference approves landmark deal
The failed 1997 Kyoto protocol that was scheduled to evaporate at the end of 2012 will be extended through 2020 (earlier plans would talk about 2017) and a new post-Kyoto deal should be negotiated and approved by 2015. The text of the new proposed treaty (which is probably meant to be tougher than Kyoto) probably exists but citizens of the participating countries aren't being shown what the text says because they're humans, the culprits whom the treaty is supposed to punish for their sins.

The parasites have also agreed with a $100 billion fund by 2020 which is not a big deal because it may approximately cover the vacations of these shameless climatic parasites and their employees in the individual countries. The global annual damages caused by the climate fearmongers are comparable to a trillion of dollars.

Not so secret Higgs PR preparations at CERN

I wanted to know every detail about the preparations for the media fireworks associated with the evidence for (or against) the Higgs boson on Tuesday 14:00.

At 2:10, 117.3 GeV should be replaced by 125.5 GeV: not a bad guess for a 4-year-old composition by Don Garbutt. Also, I hope you will forgive the composer his somewhat careless mixing of the Higgs and the inflaton. ;-)

So I contacted a guy who has very good relations with CERN's bosses and who plans to make a visit to CERN.

Friday, December 09, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Richard Feynman on the climate conference in Durban

Marc Morano sent us a link to a remarkable UNFCCC draft document that was proposed as the final statement by the participants of the ongoing climate fat cats' orgies in Durban, South Africa:

Update of the amalgamation of draft texts in preparation of a comprehensive and balanced outcome to be presented to the Conference of the Parties for adoption at its seventeenth session (note by the chair)
I suppose that the chair who has "amalgamated" the draft texts is that Latin American woman who has been trained in Al Gore's eco-terrorist training camps (where they memorized An Inconvenient Truth, among other things); sorry, I forgot her name and I don't think it's important enough for you and me to waste a minute by searching the name of that bitch.

The whole document is a kind of a hardcore Marxist rant. Everything that is important in this document is about the class struggle. The whole world is being divided to the rich and the poor. These two groups are treated totally differently: CO2 is a different chemical compound in different parts of the world.n The word "developed" appears 236 times (!) in the document. You also find four references to the "climate debt". What a theoretical construct! You may also learn about the "rights of Mother Earth", "rights of Nature", and especially "rights of indigenous people" (five times in the text). The human rights are "especially" the rights of women, children, migrants, and indigenous people. Sorry, men! ;-)
Breaking news: Thank God, Reuters informs that climate talks [were] suspended after rebellion over drafts. But you will be shocked to hear that the rebels – some savages plus the EU nuts – complained that the Marxist ambitions of the draft were not sufficient! ;-) The EU nut-in-chief Connie Hedegaard (whose MA in literature and history has made her a top personality of the European climate science because the more incompetent you are, the higher you can get) has complained about three tiny and disobedient nations that are blocking the EU-and-savages-proposed agreement – namely America, China, and India. :-)
If the "climate debt" is linked to the elevated CO2 concentration, I would like to mention that the interest rate on this debt is minus 2 percent because Nature's sinks absorb about 2 percent of the excess CO2 above 280 ppm, or (currently) about 2 ppm, every year. So the simplest way to repay the debt is simply to wait – something that you can't do if the interest rate is positive! ;-)

At any rate, Richard Feynman apparently attended the Durban 2011 conference and listened to the talks about the climate debt and redistribution between the rich world and the poor world. This is how he retroactively summarized it in his famous book:

Higgs mass: 124.6 GeV CMS, 126 GeV ATLAS

Every other experimental collaboration with more than 3,000 members harbors a traitor, whistleblower, or a black sheep in general. We're very fortunate that much like University of East Anglia, the CMS Collaboration at CERN obeys this condition, too. The renegade's name is Italian, Tommaso Dorigo, and he brought us a

Fundamental Glossary For The Higgs Broadcast
On Tuesday at 14:00 Prague Winter Time, there will be a CERN webcast at which we will hear about some new and strong yet inconclusive evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson. We have known from some anonymous sources that shared their excitement with the TRF comment section (I deleted the comment but revealed the content once it materialized elsewhere; but then the openness reached a threshold so I wasn't even trying to delete the e-mail from Rolf Heuer anymore) and other physics blogs that the masses will be 125-126 GeV.

However, the message I received talked about 124 GeV for CMS. It's pretty far from 126 GeV that will be reported by ATLAS – comparable to the full width of the expected bump – and I have personally worried about the 2 GeV difference. Fortunately, Dorigo has also told us the following sentence:
The gammas we will be hearing about are those directly coming from a Higgs boson decay, and these have an energy of 62.3 GeV, ...
This is meant to be an exercise in multiplication by two with a secret message as the bounty for the schoolkids who successfully solve it. So what's the result that about 10% of Dorigo's brightest readers are capable of finding? (He trains the readers to guess that statistical distributions look like extraterrestrial aliens: whenever you offer such an answer to one of the "what is it" tests at Dorigo's blog, you receive cookies.) The result is

Learning from theory and data about our string vacuum

By Gordon Kane, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, University of Michigan
Originally posted on Dec 7th

Let me begin by thanking Luboš Motl for the opportunity to explain our string theory prediction for the Higgs boson mass more fully. Our paper arXiv:1112.1059 is, we hope, complete and clear, but it is written for workers in the field and has the usual reliance on jargon. A lot of jargon is needed to communicate at all, but here I will try to say things a little differently.

Update: An answer by Prof Kane to the KKLT-like guest was added to the fast comments, and copied at the end of this article, too.
A number of collaborators have been crucial in doing the basic work I describe here. Most important is Bobby Acharya, a remarkable physicist who is an impressive string theorist and phenomenological theorist and Atlas experimenter, at ICTP, Trieste and at King’s College, London. Without Acharya this work would not have been done. Impressive and essential younger theorists include Piyush Kumar, currently Columbia postdoc; Konstantin Bobkov, moving to UCSF; Jing Shao, postdoc at Syracuse University, Scott Watson, assistant professor at Syracuse University; Eric Kuflik, postdoc at University of Tel Aviv; and Ran Lu and Bob Zheng, very good graduate students. Discussions with people at the annual International String Phenomenology Meetings and workshops of the NSF supported String Vacuum Project have been very important in leading to progress.

Our basic argument is fairly simple to state. To make predictions for our 4D world one has to “compactify” the 10 or 11D string/M-theory to 4D. The extra dimensions show up after compactifying via the presence of “moduli” fields, basically the modes of the extra dimensional graviton. The moduli take on non-zero values in the vacuum, and those values determine the sizes and shapes of the curled up small dimensions. The jargon is “stabilizing” the moduli. As modes of the extra dimensional graviton the moduli quanta couple to all matter and are therefore unstable quanta. The moduli lifetime is long if they are light because the decay is only via the very weak gravitational interaction, and if they decay during nucleosynthesis when the light elements we observe today are made they would prevent the nuclei from forming as the universe cooled and we would not get a universe like ours. Therefore they have to be heavier (it turns out) than about 30 TeV.

Thursday, December 08, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Plans and fears: euro breakup no longer taboo

It's not quite as true as it is in the case of the global warming panic but it's still true that the main drivers that led to the birth of the euro were some desired political signals, not economic advantages. Most of those leaders didn't care whether the shared currency would actually make the economies more efficient (it was pretty obvious that it wouldn't have); they introduced the euro as an argument for a further, possibly unstoppable integration of Europe, something that they wanted to achieve for purely dogmatic reasons.

Off-topic: Beautiful bird-eye moving pictures of Manhattan
The euro which has only been created for the good weather is facing the first mild rain and even previously ignorant people are starting to understand something that some of us have been saying for a decade, namely that the euro wasn't equipped with the ability to deal with a bad weather and that it was inevitable for such tests to occur at some time.

Gauß on the 10 Deutsche Mark banknote (€5.113 according to the last exchange rate)

Central banks of the European nations have finally started to work on their plans what to do when the eurozone splits. They should have started a long time ago but they're lucky that it's not too late to think right now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs at 125 GeV and SUSY with heavy scalars

See also: Gordon Kane about his/their stringy Higgs prediction
The world is eagerly expecting whether or not CERN will announce some evidence from the diphoton channel that there is a Higgs boson whose mass is between 124 and 126 GeV.

Well, the bump will probably be a bit wider. The image should say 14:00, not 16:00, as the beginning of the CERN webcast. Sorry for the error in the timing, I can't edit the image file anymore (except for wasting 5 more minutes).

I will talk about a 125 GeV Higgs, assuming that the answer to the previous question is Yes and that the two nearby bumps seen by CMS and ATLAS are signs of the same thing (the width of the Higgs bump in the diphoton channel should be close to 2 GeV, too).

IQ test: Why is this damn Rubik cube posted in an article about a Higgs at 125 GeV?

In my previous Higgs blog entry, I have already sketched some hidden messages that a Higgs boson of this mass could be trying to communicate to us. The viXra blog has said a few complementary things as well.

Let me expand on the topic what the different Higgs masses could mean.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Poland plans to ban German solar and wind energy imports

Der Spiegel DE (EN) brings us a story indicating, in the words of Mark Duchamp, that hubris has but one limit: reality.

Germany's Reichstag wants the Parliament of the N-th Reich, whatever the value of N is right now, to become the greenest Parliament building in the world. Click the image to see the 2008 celebration of this hubris by the self-described American website TreeHugger.COM.

Here's a translation based on Google's engine's services:

Poland threatens German energy policy

Border blockade against green electricity: Because the Polish network operator fears an overload, it wants to prevent the import of wind and solar power from Germany. The head of the German Energy Agency is now using the pages of Spiegel to urge negotiations with the neighboring country.

RSS AMSU: 2011 second coldest in this century

The RSS AMSU satellite temperatures have been updated repeatedly. Let me just add the new data and refresh the rankings.

Michael Duff, string critics, and global warming

Michael Duff has written an essay for Foundations of Physics that identifies some errors in much of the criticisms of string theory by the crackpots:

String and M-theory: answering the critics (arXiv)
Michael Duff is an important researcher at the Imperial College London who has written papers on supergravity and membrane theory before the events of the Second Superstring Revolution made it clear that these theories, when completed to be consistent, are inseparable from string theory. In the mid 1990s, it became clear that Duff studies the same "animal" as string theorists.

In recent years, he was particularly excited about multilinear invariants inside the black hole entropy formulae in compactified M-theory and their analogies with concepts in quantum computing. I took the picture a few years ago when Mike visited Harvard. The building behind the Physics Department's firefighters' staircase that was routinely used at that time (a reconstruction of the Jefferson Laboratory) belongs to the Law School.

In 2007, Duff debated Lee Smolin, one of the most fashionable anti-string crackpots of that time who had just enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame. The trouble with physics, Ladies and Gentlemen, is that there are two Smolins and not just one (I know both Smolins in person, too). Duff explained that Smolin's propositions he wants to write books about are indefensible at the level of scientific arguments so Smolin created two faces – one presented in front of the experts and another one presented just to the media and the stupid people who are buying his crackpot books.

His analogy comparing string theory with Manchester United and the oppressed LQG-like research with a team from a village I forgot was also amusing.

Monday, December 05, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

M-theory: \(G_2\) holonomy manifolds

This blog entry was written as a part of the math background for a new preprint by Kane, Kumar, Lu, Zheng that uses M-theory to predict the mass of the Higgs boson to be around 125 GeV. (We have previously seen that the prediction wasn't "made up" in recent weeks.)
I want to say some things about the group called \(G_2\), manifolds that have a "holonomy" equal to \(G_2\), and M-theory compactifications on these manifolds.

Symmetries and groups in mathematics: discrete and continuous ones

In mathematics, symmetries are codified by the concept of a "group". It's a set \(G\) of elements with an operation – called multiplication – that has to be associative, \((gh)j=g(hj)\), with an identity elements satisfying \(1g=g1=g\), and with the inverse element obeying \(gg^{-1}=g^{-1}g=1\) for each element \(g\) of the group \(G\).

One may view a group as a set of certain "reversible operations" with any "object". The left-right reflection, \(\ZZ_2\), is the simplest example of a group. The operations in a group may be mapped in a one-to-one way – so that
\[ \phi(gh) = \phi(g)\phi(h) \] – to operations acting on another group. The equation above is the key condition for \(\phi\) to be called an isomorphism (or "the-same-shapeness" in English): the property that the element \(gh\) is the product of \(g\) and \(h\) has to be preserved if you "translate" all these three elements \(g,h,gh\) by the dictionary.

Saturday, December 03, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Printing TRF

Some TRF readers incorrectly dislike the gadgets in the sidebar and the colorful non-minimalistic design of this blog. They're wrong but if they reduced their criticism to the printed version of TRF, they might be right. What to do if you want to print a TRF blog entry?

Friday, December 02, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs search on Dec 13th: will remain inconclusive

See also: What a 125 GeV Higgs could be telling us
Update: TRF reader Azerty13 (Azerty is how the French keyboard begins) and the rest of the CERN community received the following dramatic e-mail:
Dear colleagues,

I would like to invite you to a seminar in the main auditorium on 13 December at 14:00, at which the ATLAS and CMS experiments will present the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson. These results will be based on the analysis of considerably more data than those presented at the Summer conferences, sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the Higgs. The seminar will also be webcast.

Rolf Heuer
The significant progress with inconclusive results may mean some 3-4 sigma bumps seen by a collaboration or both of them. Or it may mean something else. Another rumor that began to circulate today is that a 2-3 sigma hint is seen at a completely new mass, namely 125 GeV. Other sources add that the di-photon channel of both experiments would dominate this peak. Additional rumors even say that ATLAS' peak near 126 GeV has 3.5 standard deviations and CMS' peak near 124 GeV has 2.5 standard deviations. That's 4.3 sigma (i.e. 99.998% confidence level) if you combine them in quadrature and ignore the difference in mass.

Well, 125 GeV is the "smaller" peak on the right side from the 119 GeV peak on the latest combined chart and close to Gordon Kane's most likely value of 127 GeV, well in the SUSY-more-likely-than-not territory. [124] 125 [126] GeV would favor \(\tan\beta=[7]\,\,8\,\,[10]\) in his scheme.

125 GeV is also the threshold above which extensions of MSSM could be favored over MSSM (Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model). Aside from \(G_2\)-holonomy M-theory models masterminded by Gordon Kane, the value of the mass would also please researchers of \(E_6\)-based grand unified theories (GUT). You may check that the Higgs mass predictions near 125 GeV are almost totally dominated by SUSY models.

If you prefer super-revolutionary (i.e. crackpot) papers with 3D pictures, 126 GeV equal to \(M_W+M_Z/2\) is also predicted by the four color theorem. Just a slightly more serious (PLB) paper involving asymptotically safe gravity predicts 126 GeV, too.
Related: see 300 articles on this blog that mention the Higgs
Adam Mann of Wired ordered the information from our insider readers to a slightly more readable and ordered article than mine...

Stefan Rahmstorf convicted as a liar

Major co-perpetrator of RealClimate.ORG and 2 °C limits found guilty

Stefan Rahmstorf offers a visual proof that the rising sea level will kill all of us; he is a prolific author of papers claiming that the sea level will jump by several meters if not kilometers per century.

Tobias Sander has pointed out the following interesting story in Spiegel:

Scandal surrounds German climate government adviser (original in German)

Court's verdict (Hans von Storch's website)

Report on NoTricksZone (Pierre Gosselin in English)
I implicitly asked Pierre Gosselin to exploit his comparative advantage (German) and tell us some more accurate details beyond what we can see with the help of Google Translate. He kindly did; see the last source above. Here is what they say:

Thursday, December 01, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nature: newborn Earth's atmosphere close to ours

As soon as our planet was born together with the Solar System about 4.7 gigayears before Jesus Christ ;-), it entered the so-called Hadean eon. About 3.85 billion years ago, Hadean was superseded by Archean.

This is a rare photograph because during the Hadean eon, they didn't possess too many digital cameras. The Moon (if it is the Moon) seems large: our satellite was about 30% closer than it is today.

The name is derived from the Greek word "Hades" which means something like "underworld" or "socialism". Tom Vonk may tell us whether "Hades" is etymologically related to "had" which is a snake in Czech. ;-)

This terminology is meant to indicate that the world probably resembled the Hell. Well, this has always been a somewhat loaded term because you would imagine that the climate was hot. However, the young Sun actually boasted just 70% of the current output (according to the current solar models) so it should have been very cool over here. However, the data indicate that we had liquid water from the beginning. This mismatch in the most naive estimate of the temperature is known as the faint young Sun paradox.

The chemical composition of the atmosphere is yet another unknown. It could have been much less hellish than expected, too.

U.S.: one month to buy lots of light bulbs

During the first day, TRF readers ordered 5 × 24 = 120 classical light bulbs through the link below. After two days: 9 × 24. After three days: 12 × 24.
Papertiger informed me that in one month, a new regulation banning the sale of most of the incandescent light bulbs will start to be enforced.

The law says that what's really being banned are "inefficient" light bulbs and because it's written in an as-impenetrable-as-possible way, I can't tell you whether your favorite light bulb will remain available after January 1st, 2012 (and it is not even widely known what percentage of existing models will be banned). Even if I were able to extract this detailed information from the U.S. law, I don't know which price you're ready pay and what other features you expect. One thing is clear: "inefficient" surely doesn't mean "bad" according to your rational judgement because the bulbs' consumption is tiny, anyway. Your desktop PC running at 120 Watt for half of the time (half of each day) is almost certainly a much bigger issue.

So I recommend you to use December 2011 for buying a dozen or few dozens of cheap classical light bulbs of the kind you would normally do – the number of such light bulbs comparable to what you buy in 5-10 years. The link with a pack of 24 light bulbs for $12 may be a good example. Such a $12 investment may rather soon turn out to be a good one.

Unless you have plans to offer the devices to all of your friends and many other people, you shouldn't buy an infinite storage of the light bulbs because in 5-10 years, the newer technologies will either get economical (and non-toxic) or the ban will be lifted because the U.S. is a democracy, after all.

Contextuality of our quantum world is a proven fact

In a recent article reviewing Feynman's Messenger Lecture on quantum mechanics, an anti-quantum zealot reader complained that ordinary hidden-variable theories and Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber "random collapse" theories are an easy target. They're just straw men: what about "contextual hidden-variable theories"? Well, a problem is that there aren't any.

But in this text, I want to settle the claim that all non-contextual hidden-variable theories are dead. What does it mean for a theory to be "contextual"? It means that there can't objectively exist any prepared answer what a looming measurement of any kind will reveal – an answer that would be independent of the type of measurement that the experimenter chooses to do. Those who assume that the world "has to be" non-contextual may be said to be perpetrators of the separation fallacy.

Quantum mechanics is clearly contextual in this sense; hidden-variable theories that have been constructed are non-contextual in this classification. They include an objective reality that is independent of the context. And they're therefore excluded. Feynman's Messenger Lecture on quantum mechanics showed that the good old double-slit experiment is enough to prove that all non-contextual theories inevitably disagree with the basic experiments: if the "which slit" information were ready for the case that we decide to use photons and measure "which slit" the electron took, then it would be guaranteed that there can't be any interference pattern in the case when we allow the electrons to interfere.

However, the hidden-variable apologists and anti-quantum zealots in general are deaf and blinded so the research continued and even these days, people publish new papers that claim that "finally, we can settle this debate" and show that non-contextual theories are wrong.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Gavin Schmidt on ideal ways to communicate climate science

The data must be as impenetrable as possible

One year ago, a pr*ck named Chris Mooney was inserted as a director into the American Geophysical Union and became responsible for science communication.

Apologies for the picture of the main hero of this blog entry. Because someone wants to learn something about him, other people have to suffer.

Last month, we learned about the first result of Mooney's "work": on behalf of the AGU, he chose the best climate communicator in the world. Who is it? Is it Michael Mann who likes to hide the decline? Heidi Cullen who works on the Nuremberg trials for skeptics? Phil Jones? John Cook who has already won lots of money in the Australian "spit on Archimedes" contest? Al Gore? One of the 3,000 folks across the third world whom Al Gore has trained to be almost as marvelous as Gore himself? Nope!

Chris Mooney decided that the $25,000 award would go to Gavin Schmidt, the main full-time spinner and part-time liar behind George Soros' Real-Enough-To-Be-Pure-Imaginary Climate propagandist blog.

When Andrew Revkin enthusiastically endorsed this outrageous choice five weeks ago, I was stunned and instantly removed him from my list of Facebook contacts. The Climategate 2011 e-mails show that I shouldn't have been surprised at all. One may see several e-mails in which Revkin offers his services and considers what's the best way to produce propaganda that would harm skeptics such as Christy and Singer. "Will you feel better if I will lick the left side or the right side of your r*ctum?" Revkin asked the members of the Hockey Team. Revkin offers his "tongue full of power" especially to Ben Santer who is just planning to beat the crap out of Pat Michaels.

A fun 30-minute interview on these issues with Marc Morano

However, the Climategate 2011 e-mails also show how the second best climate science communicator in the world after Kook John Cook (who just opened a new German server,, namely Gavin Schmidt, envisions the best possible way to communicate climate science. How do you make it literally accessible to other climatologists, the scientific public, and the public in general? What Steve Milloy has found is pretty hilarious.

Celebrating Grassmann numbers

Off-topic rumor: the LHC will probably only restart at 13 TeV, not 14 TeV, in 2015, after the 2013-2014 break (upgrade).
Hermann Graßmann was born in 1809 as the 3rd child to a math teacher (his father) in Stettin, currently in the Northwestern corner of Poland (Czech: Štětín; much of the city was controlled by Czechoslovakia in 1919-1956, despite the distance, because we cleverly defeated Germany in World War I): his father needed to train integers which are neither powers of primes nor products of two primes so he had to produce at least 12 children.

Hermann became kind of well-known as a linguist. However, this German polymath was also a physicist, neohumanist, general scholar, publisher, and especially mathematician who wasn't appreciated during his life. Even though this man was born more than 200 years ago, some people still misunderstand the nature of his contributions. In particular, the Grassmann numbers were shown to be a part of Nature about 100 years after their discovery in mathematics.

And because they are intrinsically mathematical in character, their relevance for physics
is actually enough to show that the world cannot be classical.

Monday, November 28, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Fabric of the Cosmos IV

Here is the link to the final, fourth episode of Brian Greene's new PBS/NOVA documentary:

Universe or Multiverse?
I would say that it is inspired both by Greene's second popular book, The Fabric of the Cosmos, as well as the third major popular book, The Hidden Reality. A few more comments will be written below.

Feynman on QM in 1964

Whenever I want to mention Richard Feynman's attitude to the foundations of quantum mechanics, I typically point to this four-minute interview with an older Feynman. He says that physics at the fundamental quantum level is so fantastically different from anything we have seen before.

There's still a school of thought that doesn't want to believe that those rules are fundamental and wants to find out some mundane things beneath all the phenomena. This effort is due to their deep prejudice, Feynman says, and they will be defeated because Nature's imagination is much greater than Man's. She will never let us relax.

Decades later, those prejudiced people still haven't made any insight about Nature that would go in their preconceived direction but as the human population has dumbed down, it's also true that they have failed to be defeated. This anti-quantum stupidity is at least as alive as it was during Feynman's life.

An 8-minute beginning of the lecture

However, it's also interesting to listen to pretty much the same things that Feynman said in his 1964 Messenger Lectures at Cornell. The degree of constancy of his opinions is remarkable – and one could say that when it comes to topics that rapidly evolved during his later years, this constancy was too much of a good thing.

The \(c\)-theorem probably proved in 4 dimensions

In 1986, Alexander Zamolodchikov of the Soviet Landau Institute – whom I know well from my Rutgers PhD student years more than a decade later – proved the so-called "Zamolodčikov \(c\)-theorem": Wikipedia. You may read the whole paper:

"Irreversibility" of the flux of the renormalization group in a 2D field theory (PDF, full text)
Saša is a hero of two-dimensional conformal (and, more generally, renormalizable) field theories.

What did he prove on those 3 pages? He proved that it's possible to define a generalized number counting "the number of degrees of freedom" \(c\) in such a way that the value of \(c\) always decreases if you extract the "effective theory for longer distances", relatively to the value at shorter distances. In other (experts') words, the function is non-increasing under the renormalization group flow.

The quantity \(c\) had to be defined as a clever function.

Sunday, November 27, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Recent setbacks of the AGW movement

Durban, South Africa will be hosting another annual two-week gathering of the global warming activists and lobbyists. The proceedings will begin tomorrow.

Fortunately, the nations of the world will only pay some extra vacations to these misguided or fraudulent redundant individuals but nothing that would lethally hurt the mankind should be expected from the gathering. As South African business newspapers say, the general expectation is that the meeting will bring no binding agreements: let's hope it's true, they add in an article titled "Climate change ushers in a new age of superstition".

Meanwhile, Canada – the most politically correct country in the Americas – will probably leave the Kyoto protocol next month.

Europe no longer wants to act unilaterally and because others don't want to act, it means that Europe may finally "stop acting" as well. However, that doesn't mean that people haven't paid for the climate hysteria dearly.

Swiss banking giant UBS has calculated the costs of the European emission ponzi scheme. It's being said that the European consumers have "only" paid $287 billion for the existence of the scheme; the impact of the scheme was zero. Well, more precisely, it was negative: in the most recent year, the annual production of the greenhouse gases has jumped by the greatest amount yet. (I don't even have to discuss that any drop, if real, would have no detectable impact on the climate, and even if the influence became slightly detectable sometimes in the future, the influence would be negative.) If you extended the fees from the European Union to the whole world economy, the mankind would have paid something over $2 trillion so far.

Those $287 billion is less than a third of a trillion of dollars so it hasn't killed the Old Continent so far. Still, for this money that's been completely wasted, one could pay most of the giant Greek debt. Alternatively, every single inhabitant of the EU (including babies) could have received an iPad or something along these lines. Imagine what you could do with this particular investment – or hundreds of others. Instead, we have failed to stop the global warming bigots and crooks so all we got are worthless carbon permits. The markets with them is expected to collapse and be phased out in 2012. Let's hope that we will be able to deal with the criminals who have co-created this outrageous wasteful framework to share the fate of their invention.

Saturday, November 26, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Andrea Rossi: pressure and boiling point

No boiling occurs in the "reactor"; numbers match

In June, Swedish server Cornucopia looked at the following 13-minute June 2011 presentation by Andrea Rossi organized for Steven Krivit, a critic of Rossi's cold fusion whose negative attitude could however be just a part of Rossi's theater, a little bit critically and with some updates from TRF, it becomes pretty hilarious. The explanation should be comprehensible to everyone who's been exposed at least to high school physics.

Rossi's comments are so naive that it actually seems plausible to me that he is not realizing the simple mistake. Alternatively, he knows very well what he's doing, trying to earn some money by fraud. Andrea Rossi has claimed that a secret consumer has ordered the devices for $24 million. One may buy lots of chewing gums for that, or whatever you prefer. ;-)

The "reactor" needs some energy from the grid. This point itself is rather bizarre: if it were a real reactor, why would it need any inflow of energy at all? Rossi doesn't offer any answer but he claims that the "reactor" produces much more energy than what it consumes which would still be enough to prove the existence of a new source of energy. And that's why some people unfamiliar with nuclear physics behind fusion are excited.

The Fabric of the Cosmos III

Quantum Leap

Just one link. If you have 53 spare minutes, you may watch the third episode of The Fabric of the Cosmos with Brian Greene on PBS.

The outline of the program below isn't supposed to be pretty or ordered...

It is about quantum mecbanics: quantum computing and bizarre "interpretations" of QM are included. Allan Adams nicely says that quantum mechanics is in a 100% agreement with everything we know. Great, thankfully, Lewin and Lloyd are saying the same thing.

Friday, November 25, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Jones and Mann in Tahiti: and many other e-mails

Tom Nelson has found some new hilarious e-mails in the Climategate 2011 package.

You must have always wondered how the billions of dollars are being spent in the climate research if the only outcome seem to be a few fraudulent graphs that every other crackpot is able to fabricate for free. Well, a 2008 e-mail offers a part of the answer: the keyword is Tahiti. Those people scream that a warmer weather would be dangerous but they enjoy Tahiti where the average temperature is 21-31 °C throughout the year.

Hydrogen atom and \(SO(4)\) symmetry

"Shut up and calculate" is not only a wise attitude to the questions about the foundations of quantum mechanics; it is a constructive approach to physics in general. But what about the idea to walk the walk and calculate something?

Symmetries play a crucial role in physics – in classical physics and especially in quantum physics. It turns out that the Kepler problem in quantum mechanics (much like in classical physics) may be fully solved by symmetry considerations.

Aside from the interesting mathematical details, this text wants to point out that observables i.e. operators, and not wave functions, are what quantum physics is all about. Indeed, to solve the simplest atom, I won't even have to mention any particular "states" or "wave functions".

Task: Find the energy spectrum of all bound states of the Hydrogen atom in non-relativistic quantum mechanics and their degeneracy purely by symmetry considerations. The Hamiltonian is
$$ H = \frac{p^2}{2m} - \frac{k}{r},\qquad k\,\,\,\mbox{is a constant} $$

Thursday, November 24, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Google's renewable energy is sunsetting

Google is thankfully acting as a commercial entity that does care about the impact (and profitability) of their projects. So – see Reuters – among the projects it will be retiring or "sunsetting" by Spring 2012, we find:

How classical fields, particles emerge from quantum theory

As Gene and Sidney Coleman have pointed out, the term "interpretation of quantum mechanics" is a misnomer encouraging its users to generate logical fallacies. Why? It's because we should always use a theory, or a more accurate, complete, and universal theory, to interpret its special cases, to interpret its approximations, to interpret the limits, and to interpret the phenomena it explains.

However, there's no language "deeper than quantum mechanics" that could be used to interpret quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, what the "interpretation of quantum mechanics" ends up with is an attempt to find a hypothetical "deeper classical description" underneath the basic wheels and gears of quantum mechanics. But there's demonstrably none. Instead, what makes sense is an "interpretation of classical physics" in terms of quantum mechanics. And that's exactly what I am going to focus in this text.

Plan of this blog entry

After a very short summary of the rules of quantum mechanics, I present the widely taught "mathematical limit" based on the smallness of Planck's constant. However, that doesn't really fully explain why the world seems classical to us. I will discuss two somewhat different situations which however cover almost every example of a classical logic emerging from the quantum starting point:

  1. Classical coherent fields (e.g. light waves) appearing as a state of many particles (photons)
  2. Decoherence which makes us interpret absorbed particles as point-like objects and which makes generic superpositions of macroscopic objects unfit for well-defined questions about classical facts
Fine, so let's start.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Norman Ramsey: 1915-2011

Bill Zajc wrote something about Roy Glauber and I randomly wanted to check some data about the Harvard optics Nobel prize winners and happened to visit the Wikipedia page about Norman Ramsey.

Unfortunately, the page stunned me by the information that he died 3 weeks ago. See The Guardian for a detailed biography.

CDF at Tevatron: 9-sigma excess of multimuon ghost events

The CDF Collaboration has presented many extraordinary claims during the recent year which seem probably incorrect today, not only because of the refutations by D0 (Z'-boson-like bump near 150 GeV, a huge top-antitop mass difference, and so on).

But we must give them another chance because their new result is said to be much more statistically significant than all the previous ones or, if it is wrong, it is shriller and even more embarrassing than the previous CDF claims. ;-)

An additional study of multi-muon events produced in \(p\)-\(\bar p\) collisions at \(\sqrt{s}=1.96\,{\rm TeV}\) (arXiv: hep-ex)
One reason I mention this result at all is that the general theme, multi-fermion events, seems to be compatible with some emerging hints from the CMS even though the CDF's claim sounds like a much stronger signal that could be inconsistent with the relative agreement with the Standard Model seen at the LHC. What is is about?

Monday, November 21, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Could Nature, LHC prefer N=2 supersymmetry?

An even more ambitious, more stringy type of supersymmetry could actually be more compatible with the LHC data

A year ago or so, we have entered the serious LHC era in which many eyes of high-energy physicists have been refocused from formal, top-down theory to experiments and phenomenology, i.e. to the thinking about the signs of new physics we may soon see.

While the speed with which the LHC may uncover new physics has surely been disappointing for many victims of a wishful thinking, it can't be excluded that some signs of new physics will emerge in a few months or years. Aside from the Higgs boson(s), supersymmetry remains the most likely scheme that could appear as the first discovery.

Minimal and extended supersymmetry

Supersymmetry is a new, very abstract form of a symmetry. It is mathematically analogous to ordinary symmetries such as the rotational symmetry \(SO(3)\).

The rotational symmetry forms something known as a Lie (continuous) group and a very efficient way to study and classify such possible symmetries is to look at the infinitesimal transformations (transformations by infinitely small angles). Those may be expressed as tiny variations of the identity matrix, \({\bf 1}+iM\), where \(M\) is typically an infinitesimal Hermitian matrix (I needed the \(i\) factor for the sum to be unitary).

The information about the "shape" of the rotational symmetry group or another group is encoded in the linear space of possible matrices \(M\). This space is known as the Lie algebra and contains an operation \([M,N]\), the commutator, which knows everything about the multiplication rules of the original group as well as its "curved structure". The commutator may be viewed as an abstract operation but if you represent the generators by genuine particular matrices, it reduces to \(MN-NM\), indeed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Anton Zeilinger on quantum mechanics and games

Earlier this month, Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger who is arguably the world's most prominent experimenter working on the foundations of quantum mechanics (if I avoid the term "recreational quantum entanglement physics") gave this rather entertaining 50-minute talk in Cape Town, South Africa.