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RECENT ARTICLES
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An all-encompassing framework of physics could help to explain the evolution of consciousness, intelligence, and free will.

Usurping Quantum Theory
The search is on for a fundamental framework that allows for even stranger links between particles than quantum theory—which could lead us to a theory of everything.

Fuzzballs v Black Holes
A radical theory replaces the cosmic crunchers with fuzzy quantum spheres, potentially solving the black-hole information paradox and explaining away the Big Bang and the origin of time.

Whose Physics Is It Anyway? Q&A with Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Why physics and astronomy communities must take diversity issues seriously in order to do good science.


FQXi BLOGS
October 16, 2018

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Superhuman: Book Review and Special Podcast
By ZEEYA MERALI • Sep. 10, 2018 @ 20:48 GMT

Simon and Schuster
In the quantum realm, the act of observing something—a photon, or an electron, say—can disturb or change its properties. In a very real, physical sense, we construct reality just by looking it.

This quantum quirk came to mind while I was reading Superhuman: Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity, by evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper. I learned that biologists can now visualise the physical form of memories in the brain—yes, you should think of the wispy, tendrilous structures that Dumbledore extracts from Harry Potter’s mind, says Hooper—and that the act of remembering degrades the accuracy of our memories each time we try to look back and recall a past event. Hooper also explains that we have evolved a flawed memory as a kind of defence mechanism that allows us to edit out the bad parts of our personal history, subconsciously reconstructing reality to make it more palatable, day by day.

By pointing out this poetic resonance between quantum physics and memory, I do not mean to suggest that we should expect to find that consciousness and intelligence are directly controlled by quantum processes in the brain (although just how these higher-level properties emerge from mindless physical laws are exactly the kinds of issues that FQXi researchers may soon be tackling as part of our Agency in the Physical World program). In fact, Hooper, who joins me on a special edition of the podcast, warns against looking for genetic building blocks for complex traits, in an overly simplistic way. But these are just some of the fascinating facts about the workings of our minds and bodies that I pulled from Hooper’s treasure trove of a book, which skilfully combines conversations with some of the most extraordinary people alive with meticulously researched ideas from the frontiers of genetics, in an effort to unpick what makes the best of us excel.

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Superhuman: In this special edition, evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper discusses his new book, which examines the extremes of mental and physical ability. He discusses encounters with some of the world's cleverest people, investigates the role of genetics in intelligence, memory, drive and focus, and describes people whose immense resilience has seen them come through terrible adversity. Hooper also describes lessons we can take from human evolution when programming AI.

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On the podcast, Hooper chats about his hunt for the intangible roots of intelligence. Is it in our genes? Or our upbringing? He’s chosen some pretty smart people to help him examine these questions: math prodigy and chess grandmaster John Nunn, (double) Booker-prize winning author of the historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel, and Nobel laureate and (appropriately enough) geneticist, Paul Nurse. Hooper quickly dismisses the “bogus” nature-v-nurture conflict often promoted in the media, stating that both undoubtedly play a role in fostering intellectual achievement. Nonetheless, the importance of genetics and innate talent is striking and, in the book, Hooper addresses whether we should feel discomfited, or maybe instead empowered, by this.

Our chat only touches on a handful of the traits that Hooper investigated for the book. Beyond intelligence and memory, Hooper met with polyglots who speak dozens of languages, round-the-world sailor Ellen MacArthur—who was apparently focused on her nautical goal from the tender age of four—and people with exceptional singing and sporting talent. If that’s not enough to make you feel inadequate, Hooper brings us lucid dreamers, who practise language and dart-throwing skills, literally in their sleep.

As well as having been a research biologist, Hooper is a seasoned writer. He is the managing editor at New Scientist, and brings some of the magazine’s trademark lightness of touch to his anecdotes. (When meeting a minimalist who has given up all but 100 material possessions in his quest for happiness, Hooper understandably ponders how many pairs of undergarments he must own. Spoiler alert: two pairs of pants.)

Hooper’s storytelling truly shines towards the end of the book, in its most moving, and most humbling, chapters. While we admire many of the people he meets in earlier chapters for the drive and focus that motivated them to pursue excellence from a young age, others had greatness thrust upon them later in life, when they met with profound misfortune. Here we meet survivors of horrific physical assault, war injuries, and diseases that left them near-death. In one of his most mind-blowing encounters, Hooper visits a woman with locked-in syndrome—almost entirely paralysed by a stroke and able to communicate only through eye movements—who earned two degrees following her paralysis, and reports being happier now than before the stroke.

It’s these personal tales of hope and resilience that stay with you long after you finish the book, inviting you to reassess life: What really makes us happy? What hidden strengths might we tap in to, at times of adversity? How can we reconstruct our realities to write the best stories for our lives—harnessing our own superhuman abilities?
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Space-time from Collapse of the Wave-function
By TEJINDER PAL SINGH • Sep. 9, 2018 @ 18:40 GMT

iStock/sdominick
The world of large things such as tables, planets, stars and galaxies, is extremely different from the world of small things such as electrons, protons, atoms, and photons. The most striking difference is that a table is never found in more than one place at the same time, whereas as electron or an atom can be in many places at the same time. Why should there be this difference? After all, a table is nothing but a collection of an extremely large number of atoms. Why is it that when a lot of atoms are put together to make a large object, the property of being in more than one place is lost?

In physics, simple sounding questions sometimes have far-reaching consequences, when their answers are found. That seems to be the case here too. When we understand why a table cannot be in more than one place at the same time, we also understand where space and time come from! We have recently shown that a remarkable new physical mechanism, known as spontaneous localization, is at play, and is responsible for the emergence of space-time, and also for the aforementioned property of large objects (Tejinder P. Singh, "Space and time as a consequence of GRW quantum jumps," arXiv:1806.01297 [gr-qc] (2018), to appear in Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung A).

Quantum theory, which gives the rules for the motion of microscopic objects such as electrons, does not provide an explanation for this difference between a table and an electron. This is all the more surprising considering that the theory is extremely successful in explaining a great variety of phenomena, and is not contradicted by any experiment. The motion of large objects is described by Newtonian mechanics, which is generally assumed to be a limiting case of quantum mechanics. There is however a catch here: Newtonian mechanics can be derived as a limiting case of quantum mechanics only if we additionally assume that large objects are localized, and cannot be in more than one place simultaneously. The unexplained difference between large and small remains unexplained; it has been with us ever since the birth of quantum mechanics. It is also at the heart of the so-called quantum measurement problem, and has been immortalized by the so-called Schrodinger's cat paradox.

Could it be that apart from quantum mechanics and Newtonian mechanics, there is a new mechanics, to which the former two are approximations? This new mechanics will have a built-in mechanism such that while any object can indeed be in a superposition of the states 'here' and 'there', the superposition does not last forever. The superposition is extremely short lived if the object is made of a very large number of atoms, but it lasts for enormously long times for small systems such as electrons and individual atoms. Such a new mechanics indeed exists and is known as the theory of Spontaneous Localisation. It was proposed by Ghirardi, Rimini, Weber and Pearle in the 1980s, and is popularly also known as the GRW theory.

In quantum theory, the state of a system is described by a complex mathematical object known as its wave function. The wave function evolves according to the Schrodinger equation, which is a deterministic and linear equation. The property of an electron being here and there at the same time is described by a state whose wave-function is a linear superposition of the two wave functions: electron here, and electron there. The theory of Spontaneous Localisation (SL) says that every superposition undergoes random and spontaneous collapse to one or the other alternatives (here, or there), with collapse happening very rarely for microscopic objects, and extremely frequently for macroscopic ones. Note that SL is different both from quantum theory as well as from Newtonian mechanics. In quantum theory, which obeys the Schrodinger equation, spontaneous collapse never takes place. In Newtonian mechanics, there are no superpositions in the first place, so there is no question of collapse. SL provides a middle ground, a bridge so to say, between quantum and classical mechanics. The collapse of the wave function during a quantum measurement is a special case of spontaneous collapse, resulting from a sudden interaction between a microscopic system and the macroscopic measuring apparatus. A table stays put in one place because its wave-function repeatedly and very rapidly keeps collapsing spontaneously, thus preventing superpositions. The experimental predictions of SL differ slightly from those of quantum theory, and laboratory tests of SL have presently entered an exciting stage. If confirmed, SL will be a radical generalization of quantum theory. Apart from solving the measurement problem, it will have far reaching implications for our understanding of space-time structure, and of quantum gravity.

Space, as we usually understand it, is a classical construct. It is that which is between objects, between tables and chairs, and between planets, stars and galaxies. But if all these classical objects are staying localized because of spontaneous collapse, is it not plausible that space by itself is a consequence of collapse of the wave-function? We might want to think of space as absolute, as a given, in which objects are embedded. But this viewpoint is challenged by quantum theory. Imagine a universe consisting only of quantum mechanical objects (and having nothing classical), each of which is 'everywhere'. What physical meaning there is then, to space? Furthermore, the time parameter that appears in the Schrodinger equation is a classical parameter, being a part of classical space-time geometry. There is a consequence of the so-called Einstein hole argument that in a universe in which there are no classical objects and everything is quantum, it is not physically meaningful to assume the point structure of a space-time manifold. From the point of view of GRW theory, suppose no spontaneous collapse has yet taken place in the universe: there would then be no classical objects, nor a classical space-time. For these reasons, it becomes evident that, GRW or otherwise, there ought to exist a formulation of quantum theory without classical space-time. From this formulation, space-time and classical objects are recovered via spontaneous collapse. Only, now the mechanism is more general than the GRW model, because the setting in which collapse now takes place does not have classical time to start with. We call this Relativistic Spontaneous Localisation (RSL).

If space-time results from collapse of the wave functions of macroscopic objects, what is there, in place of space-time, prior to collapse? Ignoring gravity for now, we recall that ordinary space-time is described by the Minkowski line-element of special relativity, for the coordinates (x,y,z,t). Here, there is the elegant symmetry principle, namely that physical laws are the same for all inertial observers, and their respective coordinates are related to each other via Lorentz transformations. We propose a minimal generalization of this symmetry principle: physical laws are the same for all inertial observers, and their respective coordinates are related to each other via Lorentz transformations, but the coordinates no longer commute with each other. They become operators (equivalently matrices) (x,y,z,t), which have arbitrary commutation relations amongst them. Since time has become an operator, and is no longer a scalar parameter, it cannot be used to described evolution. Instead, evolution is described by the so-called Trace time, which is arrived at by taking the matrix trace of the operator Minkowski line-element. Matter degrees of freedom are also non-commuting; they 'live' on this operator spacetime, and the dynamics is exactly analogous to that of ordinary special relativity. We refer to this as noncommutative special relativity.

It turns out, remarkably, that in a certain thermodynamic approximation, whose details we do not discuss here, noncommutative special relativity is identical to relativistic quantum mechanics on an operator Minkowski space-time. Space-time coordinates continue to be operators, but these now commute with each other, and with the matter degrees of freedom as well. Each 'particle' is represented by a four- operator qia and in 'position' representation the wave function, evolving according to a Lorentz invariant Schrodinger equation, depends on the eigenvalues xia of the position four-operator, there being four such eigenvalues for every particle. This is the sought for quantum theory without classical time, and here evolution takes place in trace time. We could as well have taken this as the starting point for invoking relativistic spontaneous localization; however starting from a non-commutative special relativity underscores the underlying symmetries of the theory.

The beauty of this formulation is that the state vector lives in an extended Hilbert space, i.e. one that is endowed with the operator space-time metric. And this is the whole physical universe! There is no longer any external 3-space, nor external time, which somehow are otherwise uneasily latched on to the conventional Hilbert space of quantum mechanics.

When spontaneous localization takes place in this extended Hilbert space, every macroscopic matter degree of freedom is localized to some or the other eigenvalue of the space-time operator, as a result of spontaneous collapse of their wave-function. The full set of 'signposts' provided by these collapsed objects gives the extended Hilbert space a semblance of a classical space-time, in which macroscopic systems are embedded. In this sense collapse of the wave-function is responsible for the emergence of space-time, and we see that there is a deep connection between the problem of time in quantum theory, and the measurement problem. The microscopic degrees of freedom continue to live in the extended Hilbert space--their true home--though from the vantage point of the classical space-time produced from collapse of macroscopic objects, their dynamics appears the same as ordinary quantum mechanics, supplemented by the possibility of spontaneous collapse in space via the GRW mechanism.

How might we be sure that the idea of an extended Hilbert space, and space-time emerging because of collapse of the wave-function, is correct? There are at present two pieces of evidence for operator time and extended Hilbert space. Firstly, it helps understand the EPR paradox and peculiar nature of quantum non-locality. The physics of quantum measurement on correlated entangled particle pairs can be correctly understood only in the extended Hilbert space, because it involves collapse, and collapse takes place in operator space-time. When Alice makes a measurement on one of the particles in the pair, it instantaneously and simultaneously affects the other particle--but simultaneously in trace time. There being no notion of distance and separation in operator space-time, no influence travels from the first to the second particle. Hence, when Bob makes a measurement outside Alice's light cone, and we refer the physics to ordinary space-time, there is indeed a causality puzzle, but it is only because we have chosen the wrong frame to describe collapse. In reality, when quantum theory, operator space-time and collapse are combined, there is nothing unphysical or puzzling about quantum non-locality.

Secondly, in the extended Hilbert space, the wave-function of a particle has a non-zero amplitude to be at more than one time, for a given trace time, because time is now an operator. As a result, we predict that there will be a quantum interference in time. A particle can go through a slit now, and come back later to go through it again, and these two states (same place, different times) will interfere with each other! Interestingly, atomic physics experiments done in the past have reported results which can be interpreted sensibly only as quantum interference in time. This is a promising avenue which needs to be investigated carefully in the future, as possible evidence for relativistic spontaneous localization.

Outstanding remaining challenges in this program include generalization to quantum field theory, and incorporating gravity. Nonetheless, it appears satisfying that the tension between quantum theory and relativity can be released by generalizing to a non-commutative special relativity, and then invoking collapse of the wave-function to recover ordinary space-time. Our physical universe is a collection of wave-functions residing in the extended Hilbert space, and space-time is its emergent macroscopic limit.

(Edited on 12 September 2018 to add that in a follow-up paper I predict a new effect, quantum interference and spontaneous localisation in time. This should be testable in the lab: arXiv:1809.03441 [gr-qc] (2018).)

--

Tejinder Singh is an FQXi member and a physicist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.

Reference: Space and time as a consequence of Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber quantum jumps; arXiv:1806.01297v4 [gr-qc] (2018), to appear in
Zeitschrift fur Naturfortschung A. This work was supported by an FQXi mini-grant.
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Neutrino mysteries, fuzzballs, almost quantum theory, and testing free will with AI: New Podcast!
By ZEEYA MERALI • Aug. 27, 2018 @ 17:21 GMT

IceCube/NASA
Neutrinos have been helping physicists solve some long-standing puzzles, over the past couple of months, while raising whole new ones. On the latest edition of the podcast, we chat with astrophysicist Azadeh Keivani, of Columbia University, in New York, about her work with the IceCube collaboration, at tracking the source of a high-energy neutrino to its source—a distant galaxy, 4 billion light years away—for the first time. (The image on the right is an artistic rendering, showing neutrinos and gamma rays being emitted that could be detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory as well as by other telescopes on Earth and in space. Credit: IceCube/NASA.)

That’s one mystery solved, but then we talk with particle physicist Richard Van de Water, of Los Alamos National Laboratory about his work on the MiniBoone experiment at Fermilab, where they may have found signs of a new type of neutrino—the sterile neutrino—backing up an old claimed discovery of this particle from the 1990s. If it’s not a sterile neutrino, it still shows that something weird and new is going on. What might it be? Another particle? Extra dimensions?

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High-energy neutrino traced back to a distant galaxy, with Azadeh Keivani; possible discovery of sterile neutrinos, with Richard Van de Water; black holes replaced by fuzzballs, with Samir Mathur; finding an almost-quantum theory, with Miguel Navascues; and testing free will with AI, with Avi Loeb.

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Next up is FQXi’s Samir Mathur, of The Ohio State University, who has been making headlines around the world thanks to his idea that black holes should be replaced by fuzzballs, tangled balls of stringy matter. He talks to Sophie Hebden about how this would solve the black hole information paradox, and re-write the big bang, possibly even doing away with the need for inflation. You can find out more about his work in Sophie’s article, “Fuzzballs vs Black Holes.” So, should we give up on the idea that black holes are cosmic monsters that suck everything that falls past their surface, or event horizon, to their infinitely dense core? And instead embrace this fuzzier picture?

Miguel Navascues, of IQOQI, Vienna, meanwhile, has been searching for an “almost quantum” theory that will usurp our current standard version of quantum mechanics. He explains to Colin Stuart just why he thinks it is only a matter of time before experiments reveal a flaw in the current quantum framework, and how he is preparing for that eventuality. Colin has also written an article, “Usurping Quantum Theory” about this quest.

And finally, Harvard’s Avi Loeb muses about whether developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning will enable us to test whether free will is real, emergent, or an illusion, with reporter John Farrell.

So what do you think? Do we have free will? Do you think that machines could potentially exhibit it too? And if free will is an illusion, do you agree with Loeb that it may be better if people never learn this?
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Losing the Nobel Prize: Book Review and Special Podcast
By ZEEYA MERALI • Jul. 23, 2018 @ 20:44 GMT

Scientific autobiographies tend focus on history’s successes, with proud scientists revelling in the genius that led them to make groundbreaking discoveries. Very few scientists, however, are brave enough to dissect their spectacular failures, reflecting with brutal honesty on the biases, the fears, and the greed that led them to make poor ethical choices and high-profile blunders. But in a riveting account of the now infamous 2014 BICEP2 claim—and the subsequent humiliating retraction—of the first detection of ripples in spacetime, astronomer and BICEP2 team member, Brian Keating does just that.

"If true, this is one of the most important discoveries in the history of science." So said FQXi’s scientific director Max Tegmark, in response to the BICEP2 team’s announcement in March 2014 of the first detection of signs of so-called "primordial gravitational waves," set in motion just a fraction of a second after the big bang. These signs were picked up by the BICEP2 telescope, in the South Pole, which was scrutinising the leftover radiation from the big bang for a twisty pattern of light ("B-modes") made by these ripples. The gravitational waves were thought to have been generated during a cosmic growth spurt, when our early universe inflated at an exponentially fast rate. This process of inflation is something that many cosmologists believe must have occurred, but which has yet to be definitively confirmed.

A swish press conference at Harvard hailed the findings as the first detection of gravitational waves of any sort (coming, as it did, before LIGO picked up gravitational waves emanating from the collision of two black holes), as the first direct proof of inflation, as the first indirect evidence of the multiverse of parallel universes predicted to exist by inflation theory, and as the first probe of quantum gravitational effects. The astronomers behind the experiment, and the theorists behind inflation theory, seemed shoo-ins for Nobel Prizes. The media, and much of the physics community, went wild.

The only trouble was, of course, it wasn't true.

A few months later, the BICEP2 collaboration had to somewhat embarrassingly retract their claims. The team had indeed spotted the B-mode pattern they were looking for, but it was not caused by primordial gravitational waves, as they had initially hoped. Instead, they realized, the imprint was made as a result of light bouncing of galactic dust.

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Losing the Nobel Prize: In this special edition, physicist Brian Keating discusses his new book, which recounts the ill-fated BICEP2 announcement--and retraction--of the claimed discovery of primordial gravitational waves in 2014.

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So what went wrong? That's the question at the heart of "Losing the Nobel Prize," by cosmologist Brian Keating of UC San Diego, who invented the telescope's predecessor, BICEP, and played a major role on the BICEP2 project. In a special edition of the podcast, Keating talks us through the events that led a team of brilliant scientists to make such a monumental mistake, and then proceed to unwittingly announce a bogus result—with huge fanfare—to the world.

Keating's intrigue-filled account of the BICEP2 team's dubious ethical conduct along the way to reaching the wrong conclusion makes a captivating read. The mess would have been averted if the team had an accurate measure of the dust contaminating the patch of sky they were viewing. The ground-based telescope's only rival in the hunt for B-modes, the far-costlier Planck satellite, was equipped to create precisely the dust map that they needed. But Planck's team members would not release this valuable data to the BICEP2 team—understandably so, given that they were potentially racing to the same result. As Keating eloquently puts it on the podcast (though with tongue firmly in cheek): “We desperately wanted to borrow their data. And when we couldn’t borrow it, after begging for it, we basically stole it.”

This 'theft' came about after one of the Planck collaboration gave a public talk with a slide that appeared to contain the dust information that BICEP2 needed. Some grateful BICEP2 members lifted it from the internet, and digitised this qualitative slide in an attempt to extrapolate quantitive information about dust levels, without consulting the Planck team. Therein lay their undoing. Had the channels of communication been open with Planck, they would have known that they were mishandling the slide, leading them to underestimate the role of dust and over-interpret the B-mode effect, wrongly attributing it to inflation. Their fear that Planck would sweep the Nobel Prize out from under their noses led them to rush their announcement, going public before the results had passed peer review.

On the podcast, Keating openly describes his concerns about the ethics around the use of this slide, and ways he would like the scientific community to change, to avoid similar dastardly deeds happening in the future. We also discuss the media hoopla that surrounded the announcement. Speaking as a science journalist, it was clear within days of the press conference that some cosmologists had doubts about whether the signal was more than just dust; yet it was a while before we in the media critically reported on the BICEP2 claim and gave voice to those misgivings. Interestingly, though, Keating stands by the team's decision to go public before peer review, arguing that, in this case, peer review may only have served to delay the claim's unravelling.

There are two major villains Keating identifies that, he says, must share some of the blame for the debacle. The first is the galactic dust that quite literally clouded the team's judgement. In the book, he skilfully presents the history of the universe seen through the eyes of an experimentalist. Rather than simply focusing on the much-lauded successes of Galileo, Hubble, and others, as so many popular accounts have done before, he provides the lesser-told stories of how they too, like many others throughout history, were sometimes tricked into misreading their observations by that pesky dust. This alternative version of cosmology is deftly interwoven with his witty account of his own personal, and at times deeply moving, quest to build a Nobel-winning experiment, in part, to impress his estranged father.

It's this hunger for fame and recognition that sets up the second villain of the book: the Nobel prize itself. Keating calls for a wholesale change in culture away from “Nobelism”—the religious devotion that scientists have for this hallowed award. On the podcast, he enumerates ways to improve the prize to make it more inclusive, and to better represent the large-scale collaborations that underpin successful experiments. Perhaps most provocatively—and something we don't get into in the podcast, but you can read about in the book—Keating also argues that Nobels should only be given for "serendipitous" findings. In that case, neither BICEP2 nor Planck would have been eligible, had either found signs of primordial gravitational waves, because both were designed to hunt for these, from the outset. By contrast, the accidental discovery of the accelerated expansion of the universe by the two competing teams, which garnered Nobels for Brian Schmidt, Adam Reiss, and Saul Perlmutter, on both teams, would have qualified. But, I wonder, even if all Keating's suggested changes were taken on board by the organisers of the Nobel Prize, would that really prevent future scientists from being tempted to the dark side, by a lust for the award? On the podcast, we chat about just that issue.

If there is a weakness in Keating's book, it is in the sections devoted to criticising the prize. That's not because I particularly disagree with his suggestions, but because it seems unlikely that the Nobel bigwigs will pay much heed; Keating may as well rage against the dust in the heavens that plagued his experiment. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend the book for its terrific and rarely-told alternate history of cosmology from an experimentalist's viewpoint, and its compelling insight into the human frailties behind what ultimately failed to be one of the most important discoveries in the history of science, but still stands as one of the most fascinating incidents in the sociology of science.
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SciMeter: A New Way to Search ArXiv
By SABINE HOSSENFELDER • Jul. 16, 2018 @ 13:00 GMT

I have a bad memory for names. But it’s not equally bad for all names. I recall Germanic and Anglo-saxon names more readily than Indian or Chinese names. I recall short names better than long names. I recall common names better than uncommon ones. So, when I organize a conference, how do I avoid a bias for people whose names my brain happens to have stored?

I used to ask my colleagues, and scan participant lists of similar conferences, and browse papers on the conference topics. But often I wished there was a way to just bring up a list of all physicists who worked on a topic or a combination of topics. This, so I thought, wouldn’t only be useful to organize a conference, it would also help journalists who search for an expert’s comment, or editors who search for reviewers.

And – drums please! –  you can now do such a search on our just-launched website SciMeter. Just enter one or several topics, hit submit, and you get a name of everyone whose arXiv papers have focused on the topics you look for.

Wait, that’s not all. On our website you can also create a keyword cloud from your arXiv papers, you can learn how broadly distributed your research topics are (over all arXiv topics), and you can search for authors with similar research interests. For example, here is the keyword cloud for Brian Greene:

This website was made possible by a mini-grant from FQXi. Frontend and backend became reality thanks to my collaborators Tobias Mistele and Tom Price.
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Review of "Foundations of Quantum Mechanics: An...
By IAN DURHAM
[picture]I remember being out to dinner once with some folks from the American Physical Society's Division of Quantum Information (at the time it was only a Topical Group) at which we were discussing some of the sessions that we sponsor at the annual...
January 10th, 2018 | 8 comments | view blog entry & comments

The Year Everything Changes
By WILLIAM OREM
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Let’s take the lesser extraterrestrial threat first: The New York Times, in the last month of the truly strange 2017, ran a much-attention-getting article on “The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program,” detailing how 22 million...
December 31st, 2017 | 11 comments | view blog entry & comments

2017: The Physics Year in Review
By ZEEYA MERALI
[picture] It's time for FQXi to look back over the past year and pick out the brightest and best physics stories of 2017, as chosen by quantum physicist Ian Durham, in our end-of-year podcast series.

I'll be posting our annual countdown in...
December 26th, 2017 | 21 comments | view blog entry & comments

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