Apr 12, 2011

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A pedometer a physicist will carry – Einstein Pedometer

Einstein's Pedometer

Theoretically awesome Pedometer just for us!

Among other things, Einstein’s theory of special relativity says that as an object’s velocity increases, time as experienced by the object will slow down when compared to another object traveling at a lower velocity. This means that a “relatively” short round trip on a space ship traveling at close to the speed of light would see you arrive home having aged less than those back on Earth. While the greater the velocities involved, the greater the effect, the theory applies to all relative movement. Now there’s an iPhone app that will let you know just how many extra nanoseconds you’ve gained by getting moving as opposed to sitting on your rear end.

To calculate just how much time you’ve gained by walking to the shops, the Einstein’s Pedometer app uses the iPhone’s GPS capabilities and the Lorentz transformation, which describes how two observers’ varying measurements of space and time can be converted into each others frame of reference. A quick stroll round the neighborhood with Einstein’s Pedometer yielded me an extra 0.00021440 nanosconds.

I just downloaded it. It is free as well, because Physicists are very frugal with time and are not known for being very wealthy either!

Also, next time I am caught speeding, I can tell the police that I was just trying to contract time.

Via Gizmodo & Book of Joe

Mar 2, 2011

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Dear supersymmetric partner : we hardly knew ye!


I sense a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands of physicists cried out in confusion, and were suddenly silenced by a plot (from LHC data).

Looks like the Supersymmetry is dead! *

Last week, the anticipated signs of SUSY were missing from the early data generated by the LHC’s two experiments, ATLAS and CMS.

This is almost as bad as having a decade long on-line relationship with your “soul mate”, and then finding out that your love interest on the other side was a Nigerian scammer.

No love for low scale supersymmetry at the LHC.

Don’t be upset about this. We are physicists, we are always open to the possibility that our ideas may be wrong.

Physicists: social, fair if not generous toward colleagues, open to the possibility that their ideas may be wrong, and remarkably willing to accept criticism.

* I know, it is only the Minimum Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM) that seems to be in trouble. With 150 known parameters and unknown numbers of other unknowns, it can never be ruled out.

Nov 10, 2010

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What, milky way has balls?


Oh the puns one can make..

First there were blackholes and hair, and now there are blackholes and balls. .. or blackholes with bubbles…

I am not surprised as this. Milky way is a thin disk and in the perpendicular direction there is something going on… May be thats what keeps the disk so thin!



Above is a cartoon picture to summarize the observations of the Fermi bubble structures. Two blue bubbles symmetric to the
Galactic disk indicate the geometry of the gamma-ray bubbles observed by the Fermi -LAT. Morphologically, we see corresponding features
in ROSAT soft X-ray maps, shown as green arcs embracing the bubbles. The WMAP haze shares the same edges as the Fermi bubbles
(the pink egg inside the blue bubbles) with smaller extension in latitude. These related structures may have the same physical origin: past
AGN activities or a nuclear starburst in the GC (the yellow star).

Actual pictures are like watching a poor ultrasound and trying to figure out the features.



Meng Su, Tracy R. Slatyer Douglas P. Finkbeiner

Sep 15, 2010

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Really talking like a physicist!


Yes, I plead guilty to this. I have done this so often that it is not even funny.

The really funny part is that this method works 90% of the time. I still don’t understand why they need a whole journal, sometimes even several journals, for <that field>.


Sep 1, 2010

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Astroid Fever – astroid density in the solar system


Of course one knows about the astroid belt, but it has never been visualized as clearly as this image and the compendium video shows.

Click for a better view or visit Current Map of the Solar System

The terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) are shown on the diagram by Cyan or White squares, and their orbits are represented by the blue ellipses around the Sun (the yellow dot at the centre). The Earth is highlighted because of its special importance to us. Small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. This does not exclude the possibility that they will do so in the future but generally we can consider the Earth to be safe from these for the near future. Yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which we astronomers call the Sun ;-) are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors after the first one discovered. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit in a short time. There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.

It is estimated that there are perhaps 100,000 to 1,000,000 undiscovered asteroids on similar Earth crossing orbits.

And here is a video of astroids as they are discovered over the last 30 years. If you prefer, you can view the last 30 seconds to see the current known density of the astroids. I am sure additional astroids will be discovered but I suspect the density map will probably remain the same.

Notice now the pattern of discovery follows the Earth around its orbit, most discoveries are made in the region directly opposite the Sun. You’ll also notice some clusters of discoveries on the line between Earth and Jupiter, these are the result of surveys looking for Jovian moons. Similar clusters of discoveries can be tied to the other outer planets, but those are not visible in this video.

As the video moves into the mid 1990′s we see much higher discovery rates as automated sky scanning systems come online. Most of the surveys are imaging the sky directly opposite the sun and you’ll see a region of high discovery rates aligned in this manner.

At the beginning of 2010 a new discovery pattern becomes evident, with discovery zones in a line perpendicular to the Sun-Earth vector. These new observations are the result of the WISE (Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer) which is a space mission that’s tasked with imaging the entire sky in infrared wavelengths.

Currently we have observed over half a million minor planets, and the discovery rates snow no sign that we’re running out of undiscovered objects.

Thank You Scott Manley for making this video – astroid belt has never been so real to me.

May 16, 2009

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Collective Nouns for Physicists : A current of physicist, A knot of physicists


ImageThe Vocabulary column in NY Times had an interesting question:

This weekend, co-vocabularists are invited to submit novel nouns of assemblage for modern phenomena. A bucket of Wiis? A swamp of blogs? A murder of crowds?


So what would you call a crowd of physicists? Here are my suggestions:


A quantum of physicists

A current of physicists

A plasma of physicists

A horizon of physicists

A resistance of Physicists

An einstien of physicists / A bohr of physicists / A hawking of physicists

An inertia of physicists

A sigma of physicists


Of course, a crowd of string theorists will be called:

A string of Physicists

A knot of Physicists

A manifold of Physicists

A dimension of physicists


I am sure you can come up with something better. Leave a note in the comment.

Talk Like a Physicist