Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What’s on my mind


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In case you have not found out already, the Nobel prize in physics for 2013 was awarded to Francois Englert and Peter Higgs

“for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider”


Congratulations to the winners of the prize. Here is the link to the official announcement http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2013/

This is a prize for the so-called Higgs mechanism.  In a certain sense this is another Nobel prize for the Standard model of the electroweak theory of Weinberg and Salam, which was verified experimentally at the LHC with the announcement of a Higgs-like particle on the fourth of July of  2012. The agreement with the Standard model has improved with the additional data that has been taken at the LHC experiment since then.


One of my favorite ways of accounting for the Higgs particle is that the electroweak theory of massless gauge Bosons and the Snatdard model Higgs sector has

4\times 2 + 4

bosonic degrees of freedom in the ‘unbroken phase’. This is two polarizations for each massless gauge boson particle, and four degrees of freedom from the Higgs sector of the theory.

This same theory has

3\times 3 + 2+\boxed{\bf 1}

degrees of freedom in the `broken phase’. This is 3 polarizations for  each massive gauge boson, 2 polarizations for the photon and the extra one degree of freedom in the box is the so called Higgs particle.

It is the presence of this extra degree of freedom that was observed at CERN, with all the properties expected from Standard model computations.



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Just to have fun, here is one of my favorite formulas involving pi:

\frac{g_e-2}{2} =\frac{\alpha}{2\pi}


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Without going into details:

m_H= 125.3 \pm 0.6 GeV at 4.9 sigma confidence level (CMS)

m_H= 126.5 GeV at 5 sigma confidence level (ATLAS).


This is the discovery of a new fundamental particle. It is a boson and it’s spin is not equal to one.

You can also read the CMS press release at: http://cms.web.cern.ch/news/observation-new-particle-mass-125-gev

And the ATLAS press release at: http://atlas.ch/news/2012/latest-results-from-higgs-search.html

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A good friend of mine, Sol Hill, is opening an exhibition of fine art photography tomorrow. Here is a sample from my e-mail inbox.

The exhibition is called:

Token Feminine and other Urban Noise.

You can find the information here.


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On Freeman Dyson

The NYT has an interesting article on Freeman Dyson and his views on science.  I recommend reading it. I also recommend reading the book  Project Orion, by George Dyson (Freeman’s son).

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And the winner is…

Some of you might remember a certain Limerick contest a while back.It seems to me that the scientific poetic vein was having a bit of plaque buildup. (If you don’t get the silly medical joke, don’t ask for it to be explained). So the entries were ok, but nothing made me bend over in laughter and surrender to the wit of the readers/commenters. However, a winner must be declared, because it was a contest after all.

At this very moment I am fumbling with the envelope that contains the winner’s name. I’m opening it and peeking at it. And the winner is…


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New header for the shore!

Ok, not quite a new header, but one that is straighter for sure. Recently I received an e-mail from a  reader complaining that the picture was tilted, and she offered me a fixed picture edit. This was very generous and I am quite eager to perform that very reasonable request.  Since I had the original photo, I thought it would be best if I cut it from the original itself as now I have much better software for dealing with that. I hope this makes our reader happy.


For those of you who like the old tilted photo better, here you can remember it.



Farewell to the tilted seashore.

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Here is something fun to look at for the weekend. It is a `proof’ in song by an Argentinian comedy singing troupe called Les-Luthiers. The video images are by someone else.

If you don’t know spanish, this might be an opportunity to decide to learn some.

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