Hands down, This probably will be the best Ted Talk I have ever watched.
Hands down, This probably will be the best Ted Talk I have ever watched.
Elegance goes directly to the question of how the laws of nature are constructed. Nobody knows the answer to that. Nobody! It’s a perfectly legitimate hypothesis, in my view, to say that some extremely elegant creator made those laws. But I think if you go down that road, you must have the courage to ask the next question, which is: Where did that creator come from? And where did his, her, or its elegance come from? And if you say it was always there, then why not say that the laws of nature were always there and save a step?
—Carl Sagan, Conversations with Carl Sagan
75th Anniversary of Bruce Timm’s Batman !
Millennium Problems : These are very big deal when it comes to Mathematics. But, for some obscure reason, One of them is not very popular among Engineers, even though one of the last standing problems in classical physics – Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness (one of the millennium problems) is of major consequence to Fluid Dynamicists, Aerospace/Mechanical/Chemical Engineers and Many others alike. I still don’t know why is that the case. Maybe the recruiting agents at undergraduate level do not want to scare away students who are already bog down by assignments and homework based on the ‘Solved’ mysteries of last century. I agree, even ‘Euler’ equations – simplified form of N-V equations, will require a significant amount mathematical prowess to tame that beast ‘Computationally’ (leave aside analytically) …
Something interesting happened in February this year, Dr.Terence Tao from UCLA, has a new paper out. (Title Reads : Finite Time Blowup for an Averaged Three-Dimensional Navier-Stokes Equation). His new idea is making quite a buzz around but as most of them say, it just a new direction to the approach, but no way closer to resolving the problem. Next stop is to study the consequences of this paper and ( the one involving finite time blowup of Euler Equations), but that would be a summer Project altogether. I would be seeking help from some colleagues who have a formal training in Logic Gates. Next are the Von Neumann Machines. Still this cross pollination of different ideas from distant branches of Engineering might just pay off for the next generation wave of researchers … Yes it is as weird as Indian Hip Hop – Beware the MC !
Now, just to learn what it means to ‘Blow up’ a solution, We would need a whole lot of machinery of Numerical Methods and Linear Algebra. But in short means exactly what it sounds – Reaching non physical values of Physical entities ( or just infinities). Let the melody ring in your ear over and over again …
Computational Vs Theoretical Vs Experiments !!!!
This is how it feels sometimes:
Well, tomorrow might be a BIG day for the Astrophysics community. The buzz going around the possible evidence for the detection of ‘Primordial Gravitational Waves’ is huge. If ‘Higgs’ discovery was a major breakthrough in Particle Physics, detecting Gravitational Waves (atleast directly, indirect detection came in 1974) will be crown jewel in the throne of Astrophysics. Implications are very big for Inflationary cosmology and understanding the ‘Early’ state of the universe. Now, it not just any other ‘tick’ in the checklist of confirmation of the theory of relativity, it will be THE most important box in that list.
All bets are on BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) experiment, which is designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Now, this experiment is claimed to have unprecedented level of precision as compared to the previous attempts. Check out the sensitivity comparison for various experiments :
CMB temperature fluctuations (BICEP data, 2008) are well represented in the following movie, check this out —
When ‘Higgs’ detection was confirmed, the list of people involved in the project at CERN took more space for the journal entry than the actual paper which came after title credits ! To go through the QFT and the possible variations of it to understand the data released at CERN takes a lot out of you as a student. It is quite an undertaking if you are majoring in something other than Particle Physics at this point of time. But, classically speaking, understanding Gravitation is where the real FUN begins if you ask me. It is very deterministic and quite fascinating even to visualize while studying abstract concepts like virtual time and so on. Best summary that I could find on this subject came from two sources :
1. Gravitation (Physics Series) Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne , John Archibald Wheeler.
2. Three Hundred Years of Gravitation – Stephen W. Hawking (Editor), Werner Israel.
These two books are very verbose but with great description of the matter which is considered the foundation of theory of Gravity. Big chunk of pages to cover in one sitting so I would say ‘One page at a time, Brother’ !
Now, if their claims are verified in upcoming years to come, It will be a quite a change in the way we approach the study of cosmology in mainstream. Many are going to be drawn to study inflationary way of describing the observations (all hail Guth!) back to the best known game in town ! Press release can be read here.
This is the REWARD you get from doing Physics. It is getting more and more exciting every year. Bring on the Pretty and Mighty detectors for us to play ! Com’on !!
Satellite-based CMB observatories :
1.COBE – Cosmic Background Explorer
2.WMAP – Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
4.SPOrt Sky Polarization Observatory
Balloon and Ground-based CMB experiments:
ACBAR Arcminute Cosmology Bolometer Array Receiver
ACME/HACME Advanced Cosmic Microwave Explorer/ HEMT+ ACME
ACT Atacama Cosmology Telescope
AMI Arcminute MicroKelvin Imager
AMiBA Array for Microwave Background Anisotropy
APACHE Antarctic Plateau Anisotropy CHasing Experiment
APEX-SZ Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment
ARCADE Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission
ATCA Australia Telescope Compact Array
BAM Balloon- borne Anisotropy Measurement
BaR-SPOrt Balloon-borne Radiometers for Sky Polarisation Observations
BEAST Background Emission Anisotropy Scanning Telescope
—BICEP Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization*
BIMA Berkeley Illinois Maryland Associations
—BOOMERanG (B2K2) Balloon Observations Of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysics*
CAPMAP Cosmic Anisotropy Polarization MAPper
CAT Cosmic Anisotropy Telescope
CBI Cosmic Background Imager
CG Cosmological Gene
COMPASS COsmic Microwave Polarization At Small Scales
DASI Degree Angular Scale Interfer-ometer
EBEX The E and B Experiment
FIRS Far Infra- Red Survey
KUPID KU-band Polarization IDentifier
MAT Mobile Anisotropy Telescope
MAXIMA Millimeter Anisotropy eXperiment Imaging Array
MBI-B Millimeter-Wave Bolometric Interferometer
MINT Millimeter INTerferometer
MSAM Medium Scale Anisotropy Measurement
PIQUE Princeton I, Q, and U Experiment
POLAR Polarization Observations of Large Angular Regions
POLARBeaR POLARization of Background microwave Radiation
QMASK QMAP and Saskatoon (SK) Data Combination
—QuaD- Quest (Q and U Extra-Galactic Sub-mm Telescope) at DASI (Degree Angular Scale Interferometer) *
QUIET QU Imaging ExperimenT
SPT South Pole Telescope
SuZIE Sunyaev- Zeldovich Infrared Experiment
SZA Sunyaev-Zeldovich Array
VSA Very Small Array
Note : Keep an eye on these bad boys (*)
Demo : The Movie by Alom Shaha. Its something to watch (not read!) …
For a long time, Cosmos has been on IMDB’s top 10 TV shows of all time. It is no wonder that appetite for understanding of deep mysteries of cosmos fascinates people. Sagan’s Cosmos has a special place in popular culture here in West, well to be honest, even in Asia, Africa and other parts of world as well. His way of delivering the state of the art to his audience has been the bold identifier of the Science Communication in US and all over the world since 1980.
Tonight, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiers on FOX and National Geographic. Stay tuned for the awesomeness which belongs to prime time television !
End of summer 2004, sitting in my living room searching for a song or two, I was looking for random songs to listen to. Summer in India can get pretty hot and hard to bear more often than not, especially in May-June. A well chosen stream of songs hitting your eardrums loudly and lazily can go miles with you, for whatever you might be doing or trying to get done. I was waiting for the result of Engineering Entrance Exam and was very anxious. A month of vacation before going to college, nothing more exciting or depressing can happen to you in that age, well depending on how well you did in the exam.
Stage was set for my ‘search and destroy’ mission. Goal was to remove all the unwanted songs and find new ones. TV was playing some random MTV songs – some in Hindi and some in English. Yes, MTV in India is weird, as weird as or more so than in US counterpart. The song which caught my attention was Queen’s ‘I want to break free’.
I still remember how dumbstruck I was after watching that video. Well, another annoying habit of these music channels is that they often don’t play the whole song. That video is crazy for the beginner, still the song was stuck in my head instantly. It took me a while to find that song. In fact, 6 months to be exact. I remember how many counts my system got playing that song on loop. 38 ! I haven’t wasted my time listening to one song for that many times before or after that. Since, I have been a huge admirer of Queen and especially, Freddie Mercury.
His story is one of the most inspiring stories ever. His songs have given countless no of hours of sheer joy to millions across the world, including me. A linear algebra teacher told my class last year, about him attending the Queen concert at Wembley in 86. According to him, “Craziest ever the crowd has gotten, like ever, and not just west London”.
Damn! He had a Voice. Not sure how the taste in music changes or how in many ways it still remains same, his songs will surely be in my ‘Go To’ list of songs ….. In all of his songs and live performances, he was unapologetically, Freddie !
1. The Matrix (1999) .. 9.5/10.0
2. 2001 : A space Odyssey (1968) … 9.4/10.0
3. Contact (1997) …. 9.2/10
4. Blade Runner (1982) ….. 9.1/10.0
5. Alien (1979) … 9.0/10.0
Next five (generally nobody cares after top 10. Not worth the effort to go further, even if there are many)
6. Gattaca (1997) … 8.5/10.0
7. Jurassic Park (1993) … 8.5/10.0
8. The Andromeda Strain (1971) … 8.5/10.0
9. Dr. Strangelove (1964) …. 8.4/10.0
10. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) … 8.3/10.0
Experimental Philosopher Joshua Knobe talking about the idea of ‘True’ self …. Weekend divergence with a pinch of ‘Philosophical’ salt.
Seems like Experimental Philosophy is a very new branch of Philosophy, nonetheless, it is fascinating to know how can we find the connection between the abstract ideas of Philosophy of human mind and cognitive behavior of humans from Psychology perspective.
List of speakers is pretty fascinating : Sendhil Mullainathan: “What Big Data Means For Social Science”; June Gruber: “The Scientific Study of Positive Emotion”; Fiery Cushman: “The Paradox of Automatic Planning”; Rob Kurzban: “P-Hacking and the Replication Crisis”; Nicholas Christakis: “The Science of Social Connections”; Joshua Greene: “The Role of Brain Imaging In Social Science”; Laurie Santos: “What Makes Humans Unique”; Joshua Knobe: “Experimental Philosophy and the Notion of the Self”; David Pizarro: “The Failure of Social and Moral Intuitions”; Daniel C. Dennett: “The De-Darwinizing of Cultural Change. Also participating: Jennifer Jacquet, Daniel Kahneman, Anne Treisman.
Don’t forget to get a double espresso shot before engaging yourself with any one of the videos ! I found Knobe talk worth mentioning among all. Well, all are very well put to say the least.
The most beautiful thing about English is that it has a way to bring you all those wonderful works of wonderfully beautiful minds crossing the boundaries of culture, country and prejudice ! F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘A Life in Letters’ is such an example of brutally honest yet profoundly meaningful collection of writing. I wish I could have read it in high school. Yet, here I am.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s endearing letter to his daughter touches you instantly. There are few things about the world that you want to tell everyone as soon as you understand them. This is no different …..
August 8, 1933
I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.
All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”
Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?
I will arrange the camp bill.
Halfwit, I will conclude.
Things to worry about:
Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about. . .
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?
With dearest love,
P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. “Egg Fitzgerald.” How would you like that to go through life with — “Eggie Fitzgerald” or “Bad Egg Fitzgerald” or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?