Point of View, II

The second of the Point of View campus events in the Visions and Voices series is on Thursday. It is at 7:00pm at the Gin Wong conference center (which is near Fine Arts and Architecture, by the way.) See the bottom of this post for some earlier events of this type, and this post for the background on Visions and Voices.

This time we’ll have a Poet, a Dancer, and a Physicist! Here’s some blurb that KC Cole (my co-conspirator in this business) wrote about who is appearing and what they’ll be saying:
[...] Click to continue reading this post

MiniBooNE for Neutrinos

(Image from the MiniBooNE archive. This depicts a neutrino signal in the detector. )

There was a new result announced today. The MiniBoone collaboration has confirmed the more “standard” scenario for neutrino oscillations, and ruled out suggestions by an earlier experiment (LSND3) from a while back that might have implied the existence of sterile neutrinos. Two commenters, Scott H. and Bee, alerted me to this in another thread. Rather than me trying to paraphrase things, I’m going to first reproduce Scott H.’s comment here (he came back from a colloquium by Jocelyn Monroe on the topic earlier today): [...] Click to continue reading this post

Quark Soup Al Dente

Here’s Rob Myers in action, giving Monday’s excellent departmental colloquium, entitled “Quark Soup Al Dente: Applied String Theory”:

robert c myers quark soup al dente

Here was his abstract:

In recent years, experiments at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider have discovered an exotic new state of matter known as the quark-gluon plasma. Simple theoretical considerations suggested that this plasma would behave like an ideal gas, however, the experiments show that it actually behaves very much like an ideal liquid. Thus the standard theoretical tools, such as perturbation theory and lattice gauge theory, are poorly suited to understand this new phase. However, recent progress in superstring theory has provided us with a theoretical laboratory for studying very similar systems of strongly interacting hot non-abelian plasmas. This surprising new perspective extracts the fluid properties of the plasma from physical processes in a black hole spacetime. At present, this approach seems to provide some of the best tools which theoretical physicists have to understand the heavy ion collisions at RHIC.

For a very good blog post on this issue, see Bee and Stefan’s post at Backreaction.

It was really excellent to see Rob and spend some time with him at dinner afterwards and at lunch the next day with my students. We got to chat over a nice Tapas-style meal and catch up a bit on what each other has been up to (both in and out of physics – Rob is one of my most long standing friends and collaborators in the field), and he even gave us a seminar on Tuesday before leaving.

Now, here’s a physics question for you: [...] Click to continue reading this post