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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Zeeya Merali: on 12/30/14 at 17:28pm UTC, wrote The third and final part of Ian's countdown has now been posted. In this...

Zeeya Merali: on 12/29/14 at 19:58pm UTC, wrote Nice link Pentcho. We actually recorded the countdown about 10 days ago, so...

Pentcho Valev: on 12/29/14 at 18:08pm UTC, wrote 2014 : Death of Physics? "This year, debates in physics circles took a...

Pentcho Valev: on 12/27/14 at 20:41pm UTC, wrote This could also become the story of the year: "In a new paper accepted by...

Zeeya Merali: on 12/27/14 at 18:32pm UTC, wrote It's become a bit of a tradition for quantum physicist and FQXi member Ian...


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CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: 2014: Paradoxical Cats and the Physics Year in Review [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Dec. 27, 2014 @ 18:32 GMT
Gabriela Barreto Lemos et al, Nature
It's become a bit of a tradition for quantum physicist and FQXi member Ian Durham to join us on the podcast each December to choose his favourite physics stories of the year. As always, Ian's gone for an unconventional top pick. I'd be interested to see if you can guess it before you listen -- and if you agree with him after it's been revealed.

This year (as in 2013), I'm posting three mini-editions of the podcast for your amusement over the holiday season. The first part was posted on 23 December, and I have just uploaded the second. So far, Ian's revealed the items that came in at numbers 5 and 4 on his list and 7 others that made the headlines this year, but did not quite make his cut. (We're aware that this is Ian's sneaky way of more than doubling the size of his list. Next year, we may have to run a physics "advent calendar" revealing one item on his list each day!)

I've already spoiled you on one news story that gets a mention on the podcast, with the image accompanying this post (though you'll have to listen to find out if it's on Ian's list or not, and if so where). This cute cat picture was produced by FQXi member Anton Zeilinger and colleagues and appeared in Nature (512, 409-412 (28 August 2014)) using a cunning technique that allowed them to "see" the cat without ever detecting the photons that struck it.

On the subject of "Seeing Without Looking" -- and if you want another hint about a story that made it on to Ian's list -- watch Dagomir Kaszlikowksi's top-prize winning video from our recent contest, which Ian brings up while explaining some of the best in physics in 2014:



We're also using the podcast for some housekeeping, with segments on the recent video contest and the current RFP and essay contest:

Part 1: Physics stories that didn't make Ian's top 5 (and why), Brendan and I review the video contest, and Ian's pick for the 5th best physics story of the year.

Part 2: The 4th best physics story of the year, chosen by Ian, Brendan and I run through the 2015 Large Grant RFP on "The Physics of What Happens," and Ian reveals his 3rd-placed physics story of the year.

And Part 3: Ian's top two physics stories of the year and our tips for the new FQXi essay contest, "Trick or Truth? The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics."

Enjoy!

(Edited on 30 December 2014 to add the link to the third and final podcast.)

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 27, 2014 @ 20:41 GMT
This could also become the story of the year:

"In a new paper accepted by the journal Astroparticle Physics, Robert Ehrlich, a recently retired physicist from George Mason University, claims that the neutrino is very likely a tachyon or faster-than-light particle."

Pentcho Valev

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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali replied on Dec. 29, 2014 @ 19:58 GMT
Nice link Pentcho. We actually recorded the countdown about 10 days ago, so this one came out too late to get a mention.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 29, 2014 @ 18:08 GMT
2014 : Death of Physics?

"This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue - explicitly - that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical."

"I don't think though that this will have any effect on multiverse mania and its use as an excuse for the failure of string theory unification. It seems to me that we're now ten years down the road from the point when discussion revolved around actual models and people thought maybe they could calculate something. As far as this stuff goes, we're now not only at John Horgan's "End of Science", but gone past it already and deep into something different."

"This, essentially, is the Smolin position. He gives details and examples of the death of Physics, although he, being American, is optimistic that it can be reversed. I am not."

"What really keeps me awake at night (...) is that we face a crisis within the deepest foundations of physics. The only way out seems to involve profound revision of fundamental physical principles."

"It's the ultimate catastrophe: that theoretical physics has led to this crazy situation where the physicists are utterly confused and seem not to have any predictions at all."

Pentcho Valev

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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Dec. 30, 2014 @ 17:28 GMT
The third and final part of Ian's countdown has now been posted. In this edition, Brendan and I also run through some tips for the new essay contest and discuss the rule changes.

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