December 2012 – In memory of those who are no longer with us


Unlike previous months, I thought I would take note of those who have passed away this December 2012 and who have had an impact on my life.

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Was Deep Thought Wrong?


I was watching the live feed from the conference which announced the Higgs Boson had been probably detected (as far as I understand what went on) and also tracking the tweets from somebody I knew in the audience. My theoretical physics days are well behind me; as an undergraduate I celebrated the confirmation of the W-particle with a beer (I think it was the W, whatever that is!), now I followed the unfolding events merely to remind myself of days gone by.

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Faster than the speed of light?


So in the last few days we have all been excited by the suggestion (here) that CERN may have sent some neutrinos either faster than the speed of light / backwards in time [which may be the same thing in Einstein’s General Relativity. I have worried (here) about Relativity before, so here I go again!

I don’t propose  to explain the tenets of Relativity here, just do some basic (partly informed analysis). See you after the break…

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Psycho History Killer


Snappy title but…

As anyone who wanders around this tiny corner of cyberspace (remember when it was called that!) knows I worry about things like time travel and thermodynamics.  This all means that whilst I enjoy my sci-fi, I have to suspend a lot of belief to do so. One case that brings this together well is the brilliant (yet badly flawed) Foundation Series by the equally brilliant (and probably not at all flawed) Isaac Asimov. Yes we are back in old school classic twentieth century science fiction territory. The same flaw also exists in the great yet trashy Lensmen series by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith. There’s a name I haven’t conjured with for years! I even touch on another doctor at the end!

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The Joy of Thermodynamics


Science can be fun – really!

Why write this piece?

Early January 2011 the BBC science show Horizon presented a show led by the comedian Ben Miller who also it transpires studied for a PhD in Physics in Cambridge at the Cavendish! As he was so kind as to spend several minutes talking in front of yours truly (and zooming into my livery i.e. the phrase Reality Checkpoint carved into my paint) I was inspired to add my minor reflections on thermodynamics to his thoughts.

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