Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lord of the Ring [UPDATE - drat, NBC!]

How did I miss this? Just because I'm in India, people don't tell me things? Here's Peter Fisher from MIT on Conan O'Brien[!] trying to help Conan break his ring-spinning record. First they try removing the ambient air...

And then they try Vaseline (wonder if Matthew Barney is watching) and finally Teflon:

But I have never heard the phrase "Time Projection Chamber" used to such powerful effect. The wacko fringe will be studying this one for years.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Experimental Physics

Yes, folks, we're experimenting here with new ways of publishing talks online. Sorry for the large download...[UPDATE: the flash file was too big -- removed!]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


But don't think I didn't do anything besides work on my trip: we took advantage of the long weekend and did a little skiing in Verbier, Switzerland. While neither K nor I are expert skiers, and the snow was a bit thin and icy, it was a blast to spend two full days in the mountains surrounded by the Swiss Alps.

We even found a fantastic B&B in a little village below Verbier, "Roland Collombin" (named for, and owned by, the famous Swiss skiier), who turned 57 while we were staying there, precipitating a pretty wild evening of Raclette and Fendant in the B&B basement (formerly 300-year-old cow barn...). And this is beyond the simple pleasures of the place (moderately priced, close to the lift, simple clean room, lovely village). Who knew?

Quark Matter in the News

Forgot to mention this one: during the conference the local paper in Jaipur dropped by to report on Quark Matter 2008. That said, no idea what they were saying about us. Aliens descend on Jaipur? A hint may be found in some of the English language coverage here and here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quark Matters

Yes I've been out of commission for a while (but what's new). It was all for a good reason -- I was just in Jaipur, India for the Big Conference of heavy ion physics: Quark Matter 2008. More on the conference later, but I've finally posted the photos on Flickr.

And now I'm here at CERN for the week. More on that soon as well.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Eleven Dimensions to Hide In

While I somewhat worried when Bob Park says he's going to take a break, I can console myself with this one from the current "What's New":

I was invited this week to join a panel of "experts" on "It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle," an Emmy Award-winning, viewer-interactive news talk show on the Comcast Cable Television Network. The subject was "Are we alone?" The object was to increase advertising revenue by pandering to a public that lives in a mythical world. I was the token scientist; Ted Schick, a philosophy professor from Muhlenberg, was the other rationalist. Then there was a delusional M.D. who saw lights she couldn't explain over Phoenix, and the delusional head of the Paradigm Research Group, devoted to exposing the imaginary UFO cover-up. But the "experts" hardly mattered; the stars were the callers, with tales of strange lights and space aliens who can walk through walls. Is that really possible? "Of course it is," a caller explained, "quantum physics has proven it." The aliens, another cautioned, may be in another dimension - "there are eleven you know." What have we done?
There's an upside and a downside to, um, interesting ideas.