Archive for February, 2010

As I contemplate a set of bubble sheets and a midterm coming up for my class,   I have to think that all those multiple choice tests that I took in my life ended producing a valuable skill. They taught me how to take the tests so that when I design them I can solve them and fix the errors that crop up. I can now make them with great confidence. After all that training, I am a professional.


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Today’s puzzle is really simple. It is a single number, and don’t worry about the formating: it is not essential.

Your job, if you decide to take it, is to figure out how this number was chosen.












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At some point I promised that I was going to write about my  most recent paper. So here is my promotion. In a sense, that paper is an exercise to understand what does it mean to have quantum gravity in a setup of emergent geometry: this is a situation where geometry is not there a priori, but it is extracted from some collective behavior of a system. I don’t want to go into semantics of what emergence means. For our purposes it is something that is extracted from a non-trivial procedure in systems with a lot of degrees of freedom, where we extract stuff that involves all degrees of freedom simultaneously in a non-trivial  way. The system is quantum mechanical, and therefore there are quantum fluctuations and whatnot, and the whole purpose of our study is to measure some property that can be associated with a distance, but taking into account that the measurement will give you some type of probability distribution on some variable that is supposed to be geometric. Instead of getting something where this is all done analytically, we did it by computer simulations and ran it like an experiment. To top it off, the research was done with an undergraduate student, who ran the simulations and did some of the basic data analysis of the numbers we got.


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