Category Archive 'Physics'

10 Sep 2017

Richard Feyman’s Lectures


You and I were not at Caltech at the right time to hear them in person, but Richard Feynman’s famous Lectures on Physics are now available online for free.

30 May 2017

Fighting the Oppression of Newtonian Physics

, , ,

The College Fix:

‘Binary and absolute differences’ are ‘exploitative’

A feminist academic affiliated with the University of Arizona has invented a new theory of “intersectional quantum physics,” and told the world about it in a journal published by Duke University Press.

Whitney Stark argues in support of “combining intersectionality and quantum physics” to better understand “marginalized people” and to create “safer spaces” for them, in the latest issue of The Minnesota Review.

Because traditional quantum physics theory has influenced humanity’s understanding of the world, it has also helped lend credence to the ongoing regime of racism, sexism and classism that hurts minorities, Stark writes in “Assembled Bodies: Reconfiguring Quantum Identities.”

A researcher in culture and gender studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Stark also holds an appointment in women’s and gender studies at the University of Arizona through its Institute for LGBT Studies.

She is a member of the Somatechnics Research Network, hosted by UA, whose scholars “reflect on the mutual inextricability of embodiment and technology.”

Stark identifies Newtonian physics as one of the main culprits behind oppression. “Newtonian physics,” she writes, has “separated beings” based on their “binary and absolute differences.”

“This structural thinking of individualized separatism with binary and absolute differences as the basis for how the universe works is embedded in many structures of classification,” according to Stark.

These structures of classification, such as male/female, or living/non-living, are “hierarchical and exploitative” and are thusly “part of the apparatus that enables oppression.”

Therefore, Stark argues in favor of combining intersectionality and quantum physics theory to fight against the imperative to classify people based on hierarchical categories.


26 Jul 2016

Leonardo’s Notebooks Yield New Discovery

, , ,


University of Cambridge Research:

Scribbled notes and sketches on a page in a notebook by Leonardo da Vinci, previously dismissed as irrelevant by an art historian, have been identified as the place where he first recorded his understanding of the laws of friction.

The research by Professor Ian Hutchings, Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College, is the first detailed chronological study of Leonardo’s work on friction, and has also shown how he continued to apply his knowledge of the subject to wider work on machines over the next two decades.

It is widely known that Leonardo conducted the first systematic study of friction, which underpins the modern science of “tribology”, but exactly when and how he developed these ideas has been uncertain until now.

Professor Hutchings has discovered that Leonardo’s first statement of the laws of friction is in a tiny notebook measuring just 92 mm x 63 mm. The book, which dates from 1493 and is now held in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, contains a statement scribbled quickly in Leonardo’s characteristic “mirror writing” from right to left.

Ironically the page had already attracted interest because it also carries a sketch of an old woman in black pencil with a line below reading “cosa bella mortal passa e non dura”, which can be translated as “mortal beauty passes and does not last”. Amid debate surrounding the significance of the quote and speculation that the sketch could represent an aged Helen of Troy, the Director of the V & A in the 1920s referred to the jottings below as “irrelevant notes and diagrams in red chalk”.

Professor Hutchings’s study has, however, revealed that the script and diagrams in red are of great interest to the history of tribology, marking a pivotal moment in Leonardo’s work on the subject.

The rough geometrical figures underneath Leonardo’s red notes show rows of blocks being pulled by a weight hanging over a pulley – in exactly the same kind of experiment students might do today to demonstrate the laws of friction.

Professor Hutchings said: “The sketches and text show Leonardo understood the fundamentals of friction in 1493. He knew that the force of friction acting between two sliding surfaces is proportional to the load pressing the surfaces together and that friction is independent of the apparent area of contact between the two surfaces. These are the ‘laws of friction’ that we nowadays usually credit to a French scientist, Guillaume Amontons, working two hundred years later.”



Paper: Leonardo da Vinci’s Studies of Friction


Based on a detailed study of Leonardo da Vinci׳s notebooks, this review examines the development of his understanding of the laws of friction and their application. His work on friction originated in studies of the rotational resistance of axles and the mechanics of screw threads. He pursued the topic for more than 20 years, incorporating his empirical knowledge of friction into models for several mechanical systems. Diagrams which have been assumed to represent his experimental apparatus are misleading, but his work was undoubtedly based on experimental measurements and probably largely involved lubricated contacts. Although his work had no influence on the development of the subject over the succeeding centuries, Leonardo da Vinci holds a unique position as a pioneer in tribology.

31 Dec 2014

Richard Feynman’s Physics Lectures Online

, , , ,


Caltech has all three volumes available right now on the Internet for free. Very cool stuff.

Don’t let’s hear any more liberal whining about the unavailability of educational opportunity in this country.

01 May 2014

How Cheetahs Turn


11 Mar 2013

The Particle Physicist, the 34DDD Bikini Model, and the Suitcase Full of Coke

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Denise Milani

68-year-old Particle Physicist Paul Frampton was divorced and in the market for a new wife, hopefully a woman “between the ages of 18 and 35, which Frampton understood to be the period when women are most fertile.”

And what do you know? The lucky guy had only to log onto the Internet and start playing with one dating site, and he ran into the internationally-famous-for-her-enormous-upper-endowment supermodel Denise Milani. The couple exchanged texts and photos, and fell madly in love, though the apparently-shy model kept refusing to speak to him on the phone.

Finally, Denise Milani agreed to meet the professor in person… in La Paz, Bolivia. Alas! when he got to Bolivia, the lovely lady had been unexpectedly called away to another photo shoot in Brussels, and would he do her a favor and bring her a suitcase she’d left behind in La Paz?

Peter Frampton was arrested in Buenos Aires and received a 4 year 10 month sentence for smuggling cocaine. The real Denise Milani could not be reached for comment.

Maxine Swann tells the whole sad story in the New York Times Magazine.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.


Denise Milani’s breasts web-site.

26 Feb 2013

Physicist’s Proposal

, , , ,

Her physicist boyfriend Brendan proposed by submitting this paper to her (a fellow physicist).

29 Oct 2011

Because 4% of the Energy Controls 100% of the Photons

, ,

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

18 Jul 2008

Physical Society Policy Unit to Debate Global Warming

, , , , ,

APS Governors Questioning Physics & Society Unit

While the ineffable Albert Gore, posing in front of a row of American flags, yesterday advanced the modest proposal that Americans should “move beyond partisan divisions,” and agree to be forced by government to abandon the use of every form of fossil fuel, simply abandoning trillions of dollars of corporate and private infrastructure, and spending even more on brand new windmills and hamster wheels, an outbreak of heresy was discovered within the most prestigious circles of the scientific community itself.

The American Physical Society’s Forum on Physics & Society the same day announced its intention of conducting a debate on Anthropogenic Global Warming, and went so far as to allege the existence of substantial dissent from orthodoxy within the scientific community.

There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S concerning that conclusion.

The APS governing board was clearly not happy that one of the Physical Society’s internal units has the effrontery to conduct a debate upon the factual basis of a conclusive political position adopted by the same board last November. The APS web-site is pointedly proclaiming its certainty that mankind was at fault all over again.

The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

“Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

So there.


It appears that it was Daily Tech‘s posting proclaiming that The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change, under a headline stating Myth of Consensus Explodes that provoked the APS governing board’s denial of a change of stance.

29 Jun 2008

Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Falsified By Physics

, , ,

We’ve been hearing a great deal from our liberal friends about “settled science.” Reading this paper, I feel compelled to agree. The science is settled: an atmospheric greenhouse effect is incompatible with the established facts of theoretical physics and thermodynamic engineering.


The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861, and Arrhenius 1896, and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.


The Earth is not a greenhouse. As the authors observe:

It is not the “trapped” infrared radiation, which explains the warming phenomenon in a real greenhouse, but it is the suppression of air cooling.


A statistical analysis, no matter how sophisticated it is, heavily relies on underlying models and if the latter are plainly wrong then the analysis leads to nothing. One cannot detect and attribute something that does not exist for reason of principle like the CO2 greenhouse effect. There are so many unsolved and unsolvable problems in non-linearity and the climatologists believe to beat them all by working with crude approximations leading to unphysical results that have been corrected afterwards by mystic methods, flux control in the past, obscure ensemble averages over different climate institutes today, by excluding accidental global cooling results by hand, continuing the greenhouse inspired global climatologic tradition of physically meaningless averages and physically meaningless applications of mathematical statistics.

In conclusion, the derivation of statements on the CO2 induced anthropogenic global warming out of the computer simulations lies outside any science. …

The point discussed here was to answer the question, whether the supposed atmospheric effect has a physical basis. This is not the case. In summary, there is no atmospheric greenhouse effect, in particular CO2-greenhouse effect, in theoretical physics and engineering thermodynamics. Thus it is illegitimate to deduce predictions which provide a consulting solution for economics and intergovernmental policy.

Hat tip to QandO via Bird Dog.

23 Nov 2007

Not Only Are Humans Wrecking the Earth’s Climate


Professors Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and James Dent of Vanderbilt University, Nashville… suggest that by observing dark energy in 1998 we may have caused the cosmos to revert to an earlier state in which it is more likely to end. “Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe,” Professor Krauss told the New Scientist.

The Telegraph

16 Nov 2007

“An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”

, , ,

The E8 root system, with each root assigned to an elementary particle field


A. Garrett Lisi, a 39-year-old researcher, equipped with a doctorate in Physics from the University of California at San Diego, and not otherwise affiliated with any university, last month published a paper proposing to link the Standard Model of Particle Physics with Gravity, expressed as an E8* root system of exceptionally simple character in Lie algebra.


*E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional and is itself 248-dimensional.


Abstract: All fields of the standard model and gravity are unified as an E8 principal bundle connection. A non-compact real form of the E8 Lie algebra has G2 and F4 subalgebras which break down to strong su(3), electroweak su(2) x u(1), gravitational so(3,1), the frame-Higgs, and three generations of fermions related by triality. The interactions and dynamics of these 1-form and Grassmann valued parts of an E8 superconnection are described by the curvature and action over a four dimensional base manifold.



Lisi makes for a wonderful news subject, being a perfect California type, a surfing and rock-climbing ultra-bohemian, the sort of person found dancing around the fire at the annual Burning Man Festival. His theory has a wonderful appeal based upon its simplicity (no pun intended) and elegance, but we will have to wait to see whether it is confirmable by testable predictions.

The Telegraph article quotes some scientists who regard Lisi’s theory as “a long shot,” but there is general agreement already on how interesting and elegant it is. However all this comes out, my own (testable) prediction is that A. Garrett Lisi will be receiving some very good offers of academic appointments at major universities.


Telegraph news story


A. Garrett Lisi

His CV

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Physics' Category.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark