Tag Archives: physics

Science By Number continues with Mikhail Shifman on Quantum Field Theory and Empirical Evidence

Jenny and I had an  hour and a half talk with Mikhail Shifman,  on the history of Quantum Field Theory, which I asked him to summarize in 10 seconds or less, and he did a great job! He also does a debriefing on
Grassman numbers and their unique characteristics, and then he expresses his concern on Richard Dawid’s Non-Empirical Evidence based theory….bottom line, the theory says math is enough if nothing better shows up. Aside from above mentioned there is some more beautiful gems in here.

Misha Shifman

To give a short run down, Shifman’s work would not have come to fruit had it not been for the mathematical development that String theory went through.  Sure, we can argue about the word, “theory” but in QED where Feynman was able to compute a numerical analysis on the experimental values by developing his famous Feynman diagrams, failed miserably for Quantum Chromodynamics, they failed embarrassingly so, if I recall Shifman’s words.  Early advancements in String Theory allowed Shifman to find methods in this problem and he came up with, no joke, the penguin method.

To grab a quote on his work directly from the University of Minneota Site:

About My Work

“I do research in all branches of theoretical high energy physics: from Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) as the theory of hadrons to extra dimensional (brane world) models of fundamental interactions, to supersymmetric field theories at strong coupling. Due to a mysterious property of color confinement, these are the most intriguing dynamical theories we have ever had. Crucial non-pertubative phenomena in these theories are very rich. Currently the focus of my research is the study of extended objects (topological defects) in Yang-Mills theories with or without supersymmetry. In the former case the power of supersymmetry allows one to obtain exact results. Some of them have numerous applications.”   (https://www.physics.umn.edu/people/shifman.html)


Shifman along with two  other Dirac Medal Recipients

Here are some useful links!

University of Minesota – Mikhail Shifman’s Page

Shifman’s Google Site

Theories build on each other, that is physics, so it is unfair to throw away the entirety of string theory (you are welcome to discuss whether the term theory is appropriate) and typically, those who do, do not investigate its incredible power of prediction and AID in Quantum Chromodynamics, which is a whole new world from Quantum Electrodynamics.

So, the bottom line? Not everything about an accepted proposed theory is dead wrong and not everything is dead right. It is a continuous exploration, and in such, we hope to keep exploring, keep testing, and to keep checking our notes.  They all have holes, welcome to physics, enjoy your stay 🙂 If you want definitive answers, I recommend a religion!

Science By Number takes on Physics Experiment

As a response to some bizarre attempts to classically explain quantum mechanics via the quincunx probability machine,
Jen has been relentlessly trying to hammer in Quantum Mechanics and the double-slit experiments.
For the sake of my own sanity, I opted Jenny and I do this:

Jen and I have resolved (she is in Kansas and I am in California, so it will be a couple 6 months before we can coordinate this) to document by video this experiment demonstrated in above youtube that shows the quantum eraser effect.
Luckily, George Musser Jr. of Scientific American also conducted this particular experiment, so things should go smoothly…

and along with quantum we will also show why you won’t have an interference pattern using marbles, or peas, or baseballs.
Next week is observational astrophysicist, Bram Boroson, as our guest.

To reach either of us for questions or concerns:

Jen’s facebook profile

Jes’ facebook profile

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


Dr. Bunny

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