Higher Order Aberrations

Because the world is an interesting place.

jtotheizzoe:

pbstv:

Meet Lucy, a 3.2 million-year-old hominid. Discovered in 1974, she is one of our oldest ancestors to walk on 2 legs.

Learn more with host Neil Shubin in this clip from YOUR INNER FISH.

The new 3-part series premieres April 9th at 10/9c on PBS’ THINK WEDNESDAY.

If my excitement about Cosmos represents a “10” on the excitement scale, then Your Inner Fish checks in at a very solid “9”. 

I highly recommend this one. If you’re gonna learn the story of vertebrate evolution, I couldn’t think of a better teacher than Neil Shubin.

I loved reading Your Inner Fish! Yay!

jtotheizzoe:

Joe Interviews Brian Greene!

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could take courses in spacetime and relativity from a world-famous physicist? And instead of boring lectures, they used flashy animations and you could take the class at home and never put pants on?

This week, physicist Brian Greene launches World Science U, an ambitious new online education portal that he hopes will revolutionize the digital classroom. I sat down with him (on the internet) to talk about special relativity and spacetime (his first two course offerings), why visuals work so well for physics, and whether there’s a parallel universe where people already know all this stuff (spoiler: maybe).

We had a pretty awesome chat, and Dr. Greene answered some tough questions. I don’t want to spoil any more surprises. Just watch it already!

 For more info, and to sign up free, visit http://worldscienceu.com/

(via itsfullofstars)

mathmajik:

AMPLITUHEDRON

(Above: Artist Andy Gilmore’s rendering of the amplituhedron, via Quanta Magazine)

Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.

The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.

“The degree of efficiency is mind-boggling,” said Jacob Bourjaily, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University and one of the researchers who developed the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper, computations that were infeasible even with a computer before.”

The new geometric version of quantum field theory could also facilitate the search for a theory of quantum gravity that would seamlessly connect the large- and small-scale pictures of the universe. Attempts thus far to incorporate gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes. The amplituhedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity.

“Both are hard-wired in the usual way we think about things,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the lead author of the new work, which he is presenting in talks and in a forthcoming paper. “Both are suspect.”

From: io9.com

Just heard a lecture by Bourjaily this even at the IEEE Aerospace Conference. This is outside my wheelhouse, but fascinating. These guys will have a Nobel prize one day.

mathmajik:

AMPLITUHEDRON

(Above: Artist Andy Gilmore’s rendering of the amplituhedron, via Quanta Magazine)

Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.

The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.

“The degree of efficiency is mind-boggling,” said Jacob Bourjaily, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University and one of the researchers who developed the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper, computations that were infeasible even with a computer before.”

The new geometric version of quantum field theory could also facilitate the search for a theory of quantum gravity that would seamlessly connect the large- and small-scale pictures of the universe. Attempts thus far to incorporate gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes. The amplituhedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity.

“Both are hard-wired in the usual way we think about things,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the lead author of the new work, which he is presenting in talks and in a forthcoming paper. “Both are suspect.”

From: io9.com

Just heard a lecture by Bourjaily this even at the IEEE Aerospace Conference. This is outside my wheelhouse, but fascinating. These guys will have a Nobel prize one day.

I will simply express my strong belief, that that point of self-education which consists in teaching the mind to resist its desires and inclinations, until they are proved to be right, is the most important of all, not only in things of natural philosophy, but in every department of dally life.

—Michael Faraday (via jtotheizzoe)

In which Mikey explains the Doomsday trick for determining the day of the week of any date.

gnaist:

365nerds:

March 3rd: Beyond Infinity

In which Mikey explains how some infinities are bigger than other infinities (and some aren’t).

Look, it’s me! I made a video about infinity, cardinality, and the Continuum Hypothesis for the nerdfighter collab channel 365nerds! Take a gander and let me know if you like it! Like, comment, share! :D

(If this gets positive responses, it will motivate me more to start up my personal channel of mathy/stats videos…)

Check out this great discussion on infinities by my friend Mikey!  Blew my mind.