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Jes and Jen gets Starts With Bang, Ethan Siegel to explain (Part 1 of 2)

47651_1457152267831457_321225293_nDon’t ask me how we got Ethan but we got Ethan, and wow did he do a bang up job, naturally, of course.  You can’t go wrong with Ethan.  Perhaps the most awesomest (it’s a word now) thing about Ethan is his die hard resolve to take science discussions out of the small room of academia and into the hot hands of the general public (Hey, we live here, we are a part of this cosmic fabric, we want to know how it works too!)  This is exactly where my vision for Science By Number and Ethan’s goals meet,  I wanted a show that breaks it down without dumbing it down, that presents critically and respectfully as many complex levels of physics, cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, etc…as we could fit into 20 minutes and illuminate any and all who are curious,m and ideally get even more people curious, about this universe!  Don’t ask me about the other universe, let’s sort this one out first.

Ethan Siegel has the best blog I’ve ever read on uber hard material called Starts With A Bang,  he is writer for Forbes, here is the facebook page for it even!  And straight out of it are some achievements this guy collected with this blog:

“2010 Physics blog of the year from the Institute of Physics;

Charm Quark writing award winner from 3 Quarks Daily.”

So I am really just spit happy that he signed up to chatting with 2 girls from the physics arena on two pet peeve issues I’ve long wanted clear explaining to:

Dark matter vs Dark Energy and Expansion vs Inflation.

There is so much stuff on this just from Ethan’s blog I HIGHLY recommend visiting and searching for key words like Dark Matter, Dark Energy, etc.  Thank you again Ethan for Part 1 of the 2 part AWESOME talk and  STAY TUNED for next week as Ethan discusses how all this factors in to how scientists determine a model of the early universe.


Science by Number with Jes and Jen – More Musser!


George Musser thinking

As our conversation continued we began diving into more philosophical implications of current physics studies including a programmed universe, a matrix, entangled time, and consciousness, with a shout out to Tonini’s Integrated Information Theory. (God Bless his Phi)

Also, a new personal favorite of mine (jes), is that we talked about the onset of collaboration between neuroscience and theoretical physics.  Essentially…the brain is something the electrical engineers would have a grand time taking a whack at.  Circuitry is what we have to deal with, other stuff, but in large part, neural network and synapses firing and perceiving senses, and regulating thoughts, all of these are circuits, but what’s most fascinating that no human machine can match is that these circuits are integrated and on a highly complex level.  We can basically stalk our thoughts…computers can’t do that…yet. (call me when they do, I’m going to Mars when that happens, love ya guys, but good luck with that!)

George Musser reaches interesting levels of entanglement especially when he begins drawing out the notion of entangled time versus entangled space, we touch on simultaneity, causality, acausality, which is the bizarre idea  that quantum mechanics doesn’t seem to have a preference of which event happened first in a series of events.  No joke.  I don’t know who made these rules but I have a bone to pick with him when I’m done here on the blessed green orb.

So enjoy us getting in way over our heels in deep quantum pools of quasi-philosophical meanders, intelligent meanders, mind you!  And stay tuned for Ethan Seigel as we work on disentangling common misconceptions about what cosmologists mean when they say that the universe is expanding, and why is the cosmological constant a continues hot topic when it comes to getting a working model of the early universe and everything else to fit nicely inside of it.  – science on!

-j and j

George Musser Jr talks about entanglement with Science By Number

musserWelcome, George Musser, to the show, Science By Number.  We had an AMAZING chat and got some serious concepts pulled apart and hopefully somewhat reassembled.  George came out with a book called “Spooky Action at a Distance” which was what Einstein had christened the strange phenomenon of entanglement.  The idea behind entanglement is that although two particles are being correlated they both have to be seen as ONE thing, one system.  Which makes no sense classically.  But on a quantum level, if we separate two particles, 500 meters apart, and a scientist performs a measurement on, the other particle, instantly is affected by that measurement.  Hence, “Spooky” and “Distance.”   I would’ve opted for Freaky Action at Distance, but that would run the risk of the book getting filed under Adult entertainment…I digress.  The point is well, George explains it much better, you’ll have to listen to the podcast.  I DO recommend getting the book, since he is a contributing editor for Scientific American, rest assured his books are nothing short of brilliant, and I can say this because I read the Idiot’s Guide to String Theory!  And even understood some of it.  Jenny read Spooky Action At a Distance and she couldn’t stop talking about, and it takes a lot to impress Jenny…a lot.  So, below are TONS of links.  links on quantum entanglement, link to buy the book, links on links, wait, what?

I hope you enjoy our conversation with George Musser half as much as we did, and coming up next and near is Ethan Siegel on Inflation, Expansion, Accelerating universe, Big Bang, Dark matter, Dark Energy, etc etc…nothing too heavy.

Quantum Weirdness Now a Matter of Time


George Musser

George Musser’s Amazon page to buy all his books


Science By Number – Jen explains Quantum Mechanics to Jes

hqdefaultI (jes) often engage in physics discussions on Facebook where inevitably the topic of the quantum particle arises.  And that is when the really creative people come out.   It really puzzled me that every person had a completely different definition of just what Quantum mechanics is. So i went to Jen, she is a grad student, she should know, and I asked her.   And we both shared the same frustration with the misconceptions that evolve from not understanding the results of the experiments done in Quantum Mechanics.

There are 3 very important ones and all three need to be assessed to get the holistic image that the quantum particle entails.

The Double Slit, The Delay Choice, and test for simultaneity vs acausality.  (the funnest one!)

These three work in combined illustration through proof about the state of the quantum particle.  The best part about Quantum Mechanics?  Nonlocality and Acausality.  Basically…Spacetime?  split off and take a hike.  Cause and effect, first this then that goes out the window.  and Space? becomes some sort of general everywhere yet nowhere kind of feeling.  Infinite extension of space if you will…space and time bail out in any kind of classical meaningful reference that we could possibly conjure.  There may even be the bizarre speculation that Time may not be what we perceive it to be….Who knows. We will have Scientific American Writer, George Musser explain the wonderful properties of entanglement next week along with the book he wrote that i STILL need to order, sigh, called “Spooky Action at a Distance”  So enjoy and stay tuned for a refreshing analysis on entanglement with Jes and Jen and Musser .  Science On.


Recommended Music:
Child of the Universe. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians. Download the MP3 on Amazon.*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Follow Robyn on Twitter:

Michael A. Morrison. Understanding Quantum Physics: A User’s Manual.
David J. Griffiths. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics.

Eleanor G. Rieffel. Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction.
Greg Jaeger. Quantum Information: An Overview.

Uncertainty from Wave Particle Duality – Nature
Delayed Choice Experiment with an Atom

Garrett Lisi Part 2 – The Pacific Science Institute and what to do when robots take over.


Lisi’s got the ball on this

We had such a huge interview with Garrett Lisi that it had to come in two parts.  In part two, Garrett talks about his Institute, the Pacific Science Institute (PSI) that houses researchers for free in one of the best places this planet has to offer in terms of view, atmosphere, and serenity. Jenny christened it as a co-ed  Monastery for physicists, I seconded.

Besides telling us about Pacific Science Institute,  we also got to dive into the gritty parts of the why the system for physics students, or any branch in education for that matter, is so broken. With Fees and books and housing and cheap loans and scarce jobs it has become a nightmare to get that top education from that top school knowing there is little guarantee that a job will be available just to get out of debt. Garrett shares his experience, as odd as they are,
they have also opened the idea that students of tomorrow don’t have to do the things students of yesterday did.

By having the Arxiv, having the professionals be open to sharing instruction on a wider outreach,
the hopes for making virtual universities with digital texts and online discussions seem more solid
as more data gets shared. And of course, as per Lisi, the robots are all going to take over our jobs anyways.

Science By Number: Garrett Lisi breaks down E8 and how he chose to go his own path

Physicist and Surfer

Physicist and Surfer

We interviewed Garrett Lisi on explaining one of the most abstract concepts circling within the physics community; E8. If you get through E8 the rest is easy, it’s that complex. We figured we could get the scariest stuff done first so the rest would be a breeze. But more than just being able to condense a fantastically complex representation of a Lie group, Lisi offers great insight and advice for what the air is like in the scientific community and how it’s changing, why he chose to surf after graduating at the top of his class (among 42 other graduates), and how he has managed to keep life balanced. We often have the image of the theoretical physicist, coffee in one hand, piece of chalk in the other, writing frantically on the board throughout the night, day in, day out, never leaving the building. Garrett explains (and both Jen and I concur, she does yoga and I run) that going out and exercising, engaging in a sport or activity actually helps the thinking, offers a place to go when the thinking gets stuck, and provides the balance we should often seek in our lives between work, play, and rest.
As far as E8? I’ll do my best to offer online resources and supplemental material along with Garrett’s summery (big breath!) Here is the TED talk on E8 to start you off;

Here is the 1.5 hour long lecture that goes INTO E8 if you are still hungry:


here is Lisi’s personal website with an interactive Particle Explorer (I lost hours playing on that thing)

Deferential Geometry

Elementary Particle Explorer

And as always you can check back on Facebook with either Jenny or Jes and though I will not be able to enlighten you, I can direct you to legitimate sources and humour you along the way.   Happy Learning 🙂

Jes’s facebook page.

Jenny’s Facebook page


Science By Number with Jes and Jen – First Podcast



Science By Number with Jes and Jen is now officially up and running! Jen and I introduce ourselves and the show. The core goal behind this project is to bring clarity to fascinating concepts in current science and physics by interviewing an incredible range of professionals from fields in theoretical particle physics to neuroscience to–yes, we will even address consciousness, but in a healthy helping. Though we are both physics students (Jen is grad student while I am an undergrad) we will address our different points of view and perspectives and often turn out to be not too different.

We hope throughout the course of this show to find fun and relevant ways of breaking down complex ideas in science without watering them down to a “cheat” level. Feynman often explained that he had to make sure he wasn’t cheating his audience by using a cheap explanation. Well, Jen and I are going to try and carry that torch. As we introduce different topics we will also be building a forum on facebook to provide materials and resources for those curious to follow up and dig deeper! Topics will range anywhere from common misinterpretations of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle to the current activity at the Large Hadron Collider and when it’s time to get excited about new particles.

You can reach either Jenny or I on Facebook through private message for further questions and as we get the blog rolling, we will also announce when it’s live.

Jenny’s Facebook page:

Jes’s Facebook page:

Science By Number – Deepak Chopra and Jen discuss the bizarre Quantum Physics of nonlocality


Jenny Lorraine Nielsen and I (Jes Scott), are herding together our guests of physicists and other scientists to bring quality information with a flavor of wit and quirkiness on whats hot in today’s physics world (and other scientific fields).
In the mean time, may I please present Jenny Lorraine Nielsen (Jen) in an interview with Dr. Deepak Chopra on the bizarre features of space-time and non-locality and what that means for those of us who aren’t scientists.

Chopra and Nielsen have co-authored and published recently in the San Francisco Chronicle…/How-to-See-the-Whole-Universe-Nonlo…
and Huffington Post…/how-to-see-the-whole-univ_b…

Chopra is continuing to collaborate with Shane P. Nielsen and further publications are to come!

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudolph Tanzi, PhD   and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.

Jennifer Nielsen is a PhD student studying physics and quantum information at the University of Kansas and is adjunct professor of mathematics at Haskell Indian Nations University. She is the recipient of a Foundational Questions Institute (FQXI) award for her paper “Is Bit It?” and is a recipient of the Chambliss Award for Research in Astrophysics, (while Jes is the snarky undergrad math and physics major)


Dr. Bunny

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