Waiting

On Wednesday I asked the students in my class to describe what they’d been doing earlier in the day, before our afternoon session began. While they scribbled I wrote alongside them, producing a dull summary of actions and toil—until I came to waiting … There is always waiting. It begins in the still-dark morning when …

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Infectiously Fun Science

Science is sometimes frustrating. The work is often repetitive and even tedious. It can be hard to explain to our friends and families—and sometimes even to peers—what we’re doing and why we think it’s important and interesting. The current state of the academic job market is terrible. But science is also often fun. There’s the joy …

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Eppur Si Muove

Over the break, I watched a couple of episodes of The West Wing including one about political attacks on science called Eppur Si Muove. It reminded me – a lot – of an experience that I had 20 years ago, back in 1995. As in that episode, I received a phone call while at work that began …

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Instability of Quantum de Sitter Spacetime

New paper! We show that quantum effects (in particular, the horizon temperature originally discovered by Gibbons and Hawking) modify the geometry of de Sitter spacetime. Instability of Quantum de Sitter Spacetime (http://arxiv.org/abs/1501.00708) Chiu Man Ho, Stephen D. H. Hsu Quantized fields (e.g., the graviton itself) in de Sitter (dS) spacetime lead to particle production: specifically, …

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The Worst Blog of the Year

So this week haul out that old Andy Williams Christmas record and hum the following to the tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”   It’s the least creative blog of the year With the stereo blaring And everyone telling you “Christmas is here!” It’s the least creative blog of the year …

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Remembrance

For those that can read Chinese, the journal Remembrance is archived here. My father intended to take a sabbatical at Tsinghua University in Beijing when I was in grade school, but reconsidered it because of the craziness of the Cultural Revolution. I recall going with my mom and brother to get a passport photo taken …

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Plastic Houses

There’s an old saying to the effect that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Good advice for bloggers, I think. If you are “out there” and visible, you should think twice about digging in to someone for something that you could be dug into yourself. There’s also a variation on the …

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JSTOR Daily and Hookups

Looks like an interesting new magazine: JSTOR Daily provides insight, commentary, and analysis of ideas, research, and current events, tapping into the rich library of scholarship on JSTOR. (For non-academics, JSTOR is an online journal repository.) Here’s an article from the new magazine: JSTOR Daily: CAMPUS HOOKUP CULTURE: MYTH VS. REALTY The out-of-control hookup culture on …

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Nifty papers I wrote that nobody knows about: (Part 3: Non-equilibrium Quantum Statistical Mechanics)

This is the third part of the “Nifty Papers” series. Link to Part 1. Link to Part 2. In 1999, I was in the middle of writing about quantum information theory with my colleague Nicolas Cerf. We had discovered that quantum conditional entropy can be negative, discussed this finding with respect to the problem of quantum measurement, separability, Bell inequalities, as well …

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Implementing Discovery

This post is the first (of two) about my suggestions for how to implement “open discovery” for answering scientific questions, but in a way that does not completely alienate current professional scientists. In particular because of the current system of how “credit” for answering questions translates to prestige which directly translates to tangible materialistic considerations …

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Robert Frost writes a paper

First it was Lewis Carroll and Jabberwocky and now it is Robert Frost and his poem Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening that receives the EPET treatment. Here is poem #2 in our series of famous poems rewritten from a graduate school perspective. Thanks to Diana Campbell for following up a brief conversation at a party with a great first draft. Danah Henriksen and I jumped in …

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