Wow! Topology in the mainstream news. I never thought I’d see the day. Congratulations to the winners! Citation:
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 was divided, one half awarded to David J. Thouless, the other half jointly to F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”.
Here is a link to the Nobel Prize site with more information, and also, here’s a BBC breakdown of some of the science.
An important (to some) side note: Duncan Haldane was at USC when he wrote the cited papers. Great that USC was supportive of this kind of work, especially in that early part of his career. [Update*: You can download the pdf of one of them for free here.]
Are you going to watch the Luke Cage series that debuts today on Netflix? I probably will at some point (I’ve got several decades old reasons, and also it was set up well in the excellent Jessica Jones last year)…. but not soon as I’ve got far too many deadlines. Here’a a related item: Using the Luke Cage character as a jumping off point, physicist Martin Archer has put together a very nice short video about the business of strong and tough (not the same thing) materials in the real world.
Have a look if you want to appreciate the nuances, and learn a bit about what’s maybe just over the horizon for new amazing materials that might be come part of our every day lives. Video embed below: Click to continue reading this post
(Click for larger view…)Right now, I’m much rather be on the sofa reading a novel (or whatever it is she’s reading)….instead of drawing all those floorboards near her. (Going to add “rooms with lots of floorboards” to Click to continue reading this post
On the sofa, during a moment while we watched Captain America: Civil War over the weekend:
Amy: Wait, what…? Why’s Cat-Woman in this movie?
Me: Er… (hesitating, not wanting to spoil what is to come…)
Amy: Isn’t she a DC character?
Me: Well… (still hesitating, but secretly impressed by her awareness of the different universes… hadn’t realized she was paying attention all these years.)
Amy: So who’s going to show up next? Super-Dude? Bat-Fella? Wonder-Lady? (Now she’s really showing off and poking fun.)
Me: We’ll see… (Now choking with laughter on dinner…)
I often feel bad subjecting my wife to this stuff, but this alone was worth it.
For those who know the answers and are wondering, I held off on launching into a discussion about the fascinating history of Marvel, representation of people of African descent in superhero comics (and now movies and TV), the Click to continue reading this post
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Apparently I was designing a kitchen recently. Yes, but not one I intend to build in the physical world. It’s the setting (in part) for a new story I’m working on for the book. The everyday household is a great place to have a science conversation, by the way, and this is what we will see in this story. It might be one of the most important conversations in the book in some sense.
This story is meant to be done in a looser, quicker style, and there I go again with the ridiculous level of detail… Just to get a sense of how ridiculous I’m being, note that this is not a page, but a small panel within a page of several.
The page establishes the overall setting, and hopefully roots you Click to continue reading this post
Well, that happened.
I’ve not, at least as I recollect, written a breakup letter before…until now. It had the usual “It’s not you it’s me…”, “we’ve grown apart…” sorts of phrases. And they were all well meant. This was written to my publisher, I hasten to add! Over the last year and a half, circumstances changed a lot at the publisher I was under contract with – chief among those being that the excellent editor who originally originally took on and championed the book, a very unusual project for the publisher to work with, left the company. This, and a few other key things that were not to my liking (that it would be inappropriate to discuss here) became causes for concern for me. While I am sure they would have done a fine job of executing the agreed upon aspects of our contract, it was clear that things would be better if I found a new home for this very special (at least to me) book project.
They took it well, and we’ve agreed to terminate our publishing contract.
Of course, this leaves me in the interesting situation of not being under Click to continue reading this post
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This might be one of my favourite sequences from the book so far*. It’s a significant part of a page so I’ve watermarked it heavily. Sorry about that: It’s days of work to make these things. It is based on a location scouting trip I did last year around this time at the LA County Fair. So consider this a public service announcement if you’ve not yet done a Summer visit this year to a county fair near you… Go! They’re an excellent old-school kind of fun.
There’s a whole sequence in the book that involves such a visit and I’ve just Click to continue reading this post
Sorry to have kept you waiting for this one. You’ve been dying to know how it turned out, right? Here’s the final* form of the panel. (See the other two posts for earlier stages here and here. ) It’s a silent one. A pause in Click to continue reading this post
Ok. A Little over an hour and 15… With a slight interruption. (See previous post.) But I did the shade work too. Working to two primary light sources was fun. (Two sides of the bus).
Now for colour…
Ok, challenge to myself:
Let’s see how quickly I can do the fully pencilled/inked version of this panel for the book. This is the rough work. Assuming not too many distractions…
I think that the Apple Pencil is one of the best things the company has produced in a very long time. It’s good for both writing and sketching, and so is especially useful in all aspects of my work. I got one back in the Spring when the regular-sized iPad pro came out and it has been a joy to work with. I thought I’d share with you a video stroke by stroke logging of a quick sketch I did with it this morning on the subway on the way to work. The sketch itself is above and the video showing how I made it is embedded below. Yes, it’s another version of the people Click to continue reading this post
Sometimes a sharpie and a bit of bristol are the best defense against getting lost in the digital world*… (Click for larger view.)
(Throwing down some additional faces for a story in the book. Just wasn’t feeling it in Click to continue reading this post
Ok all you Stranger Things fans. You were expecting a physicist to say a few things about the show weren’t you? Over at Screen Junkies, they’ve launched the first episode of a focus on TV Science (a companion to the Movie Science series you already know about)… and with the incomparable host Hal Rudnick, I talked about Stranger Things. There are spoilers. Enjoy.
(Embed and link after the fold:)
Click to continue reading this post
(Click for larger view.) Style change. For a story-within-a-story in the book, I’m changing styles, going to a looser, more cartoony style, which sort of fits tonally with the subject matter in the story. The other day on the subway I designed the characters in that style, and I share them with you here. It’s lots of fun to draw in this looser Click to continue reading this post
“The fact that certain bodies, after being rubbed, appear to attract other bodies, was known to the ancients.”
Thus begins, rather awesomely, the preface to Maxwell’s massively important “Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism” (1873).