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 !
Summer 2004, sitting in my living room searching for a song or two, I was listening to random songs to past the time. Summer in India can get pretty hot, especially in May-June. A well chosen stream of songs hitting your eardrums loudly and lazily lying around doing nothing else, can get you through the heat. I was waiting for the result of an entrance exam and was very tentative to say the least. A month of vacation before going to college, nothing more 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 to start with. And that song was stuck in my head instantly. It took me a while to find the name of the song. In fact, 6 days to be exact. I haven’t wasted my time listening to one song for that many times before or after that. Since then, I have been a huge admirer of Queen and especially, Freddie. 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. According to him, “Craziest ever! and not just in West London!! “. Here is one example of his stage presence.
Damn, He had a Voice! Not sure why the taste in music changes or how in many ways it still remains same, but 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.