27 February, 2009

Yuja Wang plays the Flight of the Bumble-Bee

You have to see that:

A new way for science popularization

Galileo's finger goes on display in Italy - an article by Daily Telegraph:

"The digit will be part of a landmark exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of his first observations of the skies...The finger was removed when the astronomer's body when it was exhumed from his unconsecrated grave and transferred to a mausoleum in a Florentine church in 1737. It is usually on display at Florence's Museum of the History of Science."

Do you really want to become a great scientist?

23 February, 2009

Mathematical Tools for Physics

Yesterday I came across a wonderful lecture notes of math methods in physics for undergrads, namely "Mathematical Tools for Physics" by James Nearing. There is a lot of simple math in there, but with really good explanations where in physics this may be of use. Also James gives a lot of funny math tricks.

I wish I had such a lecture course while studying in university.

18 February, 2009

A new book on QM

A very, very strange book appeared in arxive a few days ago: "Quantum Mechanics" by Hitoshi Kitada (University of Tokyo).

Here are the names of some chapters: "Quantum Mechanical Time Contradicts The Uncertainty Principle", "Definition of local time", "Motion Inside a Local System", "Principle of General Relativity", "Inconsistency of Mathematics?", "Stationary Universe", "Existence of Local Motion", "Local time exists", and so on.

Hm, "stationary universe" in the QM course... Let's take a look at this chapter:

"By nature what is called the universe must be a closed universe, within which is all. We will characterize it by a certain quantum-mechanical condition.We consider a metatheory of a formal set theory S. We name this metatheory M_S, indicating that it is a Meta-theory of S as well as a Meta-Scientific theory as Ronald Swan [46] refers to. The following arguments are all made in M_S....The class φ is the first world, the Universe, which is completely chaotic. In other words, φ is “absolute inconsistent self-identity” in the sense of Kitarou Nishida [41], whose meaning was later clarified by Ronald Swan [46] in the form stated above. In this clarification, φ can be thought “absolute nothingness” in Hegel’s sense."

Oh mein Gott, "in Hegel's sense"... I wonder whether physics students at Tokyo university have to pass an exam on this.

15 February, 2009

Phil Anderson on computations

Here is a quote from a Nobel Lecture of famous condensed-matter theorist Phil Anderson:

"...Very often such, a simplified model throws more light on the real workings of nature than any number of “ab initio” calculations of individual situations, which even where correct often contain so much detail as to conceal rather than reveal reality. It can be a disadvantage rather than an advantage to be able to compute or to measure too accurately, since often what one measures or computes is irrelevant in terms of mechanism. After all, the perfect computation simply reproduces Nature, does not explain her."

While Anderson gave his lecture in 1977, this seems to be even more relevant nowadays.

Another theorist, Phil Bunker, while giving talks, often describes somebody's work as "...these guys with small brains and big computers!"

05 February, 2009

Yeah, well, I'm gonna go make my own ranking, with blackjack and hookers!

... In fact, forget the ranking!

This is perhaps what the Futurama's Bender would say, while working in Moscow State University

In 2008 MSU took the 70th place in the World's university ranking held by Shanghai university. In 2007 and 2006 these were 76 and 70 places. This is actually not bad. For instance, MSU was ranked as 186th university in some other ratings.

What one can do with it? It's kind of simple. The university president decided to make his own ranking, and now MSU has the the 5th place (Russian). The lucky guys that took first four places will be announced this month. 

That's probably a good way to push science and encourage scientists...

03 February, 2009

Doing physics as states superposition

But what the f(t) function looks like? On my opinion, in the vicinity of deadline it may be estimated as

f(t)=Floor(0.5*Cos(t^2) + 1),

with Floor(x) giving the greatest integer less or equal to x

Are they some less rough approximations?

01 February, 2009

Links for 01.02.09

1) A calender with naked French politicians - by Roland Hours.

2) Is massively collaborative mathematics possible? - Gowers's weblog.

3) Thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars - a terrific project.

4) Lab-initio, a lot of funny science pictures.

5) Italian history of physics archive - some old scientific journals are accessible after free registration.

6) Leningrad Siege: Now and then, from English Russia - shows how Saint Petersbourg waw looking during WWII.

Old books with Google

I never mentioned that apart from partial preview, Google books offers some full-text books to read and download. For, instance, here are books in math, which are out of copyright and can be read for free. Of course, most of them are old, and even ancient as, for instance, "Arithmetical Tables Fitted to the Capacity of Such as are Unskilled in the Art of Numbers" by Henry Walrond, published in 1663. The book describes how to work with numbers, add and subtract them. 

What is interesting for me is the old English, this book is written in. Previously I thought that it will be extremely hard for me to read such old printings. But, surprisingly enough, there is no big difference with the modern language. There are some funny words there, for instance "shew" and "your self", instead of "show" and "yourself".

I wonder why Google finds many more copyright-free books in mathematics, than in physics or in chemistry...

Starcraft Course in Berkeley

UC Berkeley students can now take a course in Starcraft game

"This course will go in-depth in the theory of how war is conducted within the confines of the game Starcraft. There will be lecture on various aspects of the game, from the viewpoint of pure theory to the more computational aspects of how exactly battles are conducted. Calculus and Differential Equations are highly recommended for full understanding of the course. Furthermore, the class will take the theoretical into the practical world by analyzing games and replays to reinforce decision-making skills and advanced Starcraft theory." 

Yes, calculus and differential equations are needed. I guess the same phrase appears in the Introduction chapter of quantum mechanics books.

UPD In one of Taiwanese universities there is a porn course. I wonder whether differential equations are still recommended...