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  • Jen-Luc Piquant sez: "They like us! They really like us!"

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Comments

You deserve an award for the geekiest physics pun for the quip about string theory and loop quantum gravity. Kudos for another example of your clever wit. I'm convinced you're one of the most brilliant writers on the 'net.

I second Ben's motion. This is one of the best blog posts I think I've ever read...
If only I could convince discovery to publish phrases such as "frigid lesbian," "cheap lying bastard," etc.

The only danger with cosmologists is that they usually start the relationship with a big bang, and then everything starts cooling down. ;) Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

I think you've got it wrong. Everyone says that things are bound to slow down, that the gavity of the situation is too much to over come. But it doesn't happen. You find yourself moving faster than ever and can't explain why. Perhaps it's because your not sure what matter 's.

Or was that a pun too far?

Don't forget alchemy and phlogiston: you're up in the attic, stumble across your mom's photo album from before she met Dad, and... ZOMG! the weird outfits, the unbelievable hair... what could she (or anyone) possibly have seen in them?

Thermodynamics is the guy you're never really into, who helps you move into a new apartment/dorm, even while you're dating Electrodynamics or Special Relativity. By the time Quantum comes along, he realizes it's hopeless.

Tom is too generous. Thermodynamics is your dad.

Hum....I need to think about this one!...Hum...

And continuing from thermodynamics, continuum mechanics is your handyman. Neither of you were ever interested, and but he's the only reason anything around you actually works.

Thermo isn't your dad, it's your daughter.
http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/2008/07/look-daddy-entropy.html

Your take on QFT must be a girl thing. To me, a middle-aged, white, heterosexual male, QFT has always been smart and yet grounded in the real world, and with a sense of humour and an easy charisma - someone you would have liked to be your friend when you were young enough for such things to matter - and personified by one of its ace exponents - Gerardus 't Hooft.

Hi Jennifer, been a little busy with building work at the villa (and little or no time for the internet or blogging in July)

A sort of working holiday - lol!

But I hope to have time to catch up and keep abreast of my favourite blogs in August.

Good to see you still going strong

Sorry, jongleur, but Jennifer got that one right. QFT is a lying scrounger who promises everything and delivers nothing. If I had been her, I would not have even have let the son-of-a-bitch touch me.

I wonder whether JO realizes that cosmology is still the same boring GR guy who bends when life gets heavy and who has no romantic spark.

It was also a pleasure to see how the description of myself was similar to the story about quantum mechanics. ;-)

Dude, seriously? You're knocking "Cosmology" on my own blog? That's... actually rather amusing. Of course, if you relate so much to quantum mechanics ("Gay, straight, or omnisexual?"), that might explain the obsession. :) But our good friend Lubos raises an interesting point: I kinda skimped on the details on Cosmology (mostly because I thought it was punchier without them).

Here's why you marry Cosmology: he's NOT the same boring GR guy with no romantic spark. You (and many others) have made this mistake in the past, because you lacked the perception and emotional maturity that comes with life experience to appreciate the subtle difference between the two... and all the others. See, there was a reason you flirted with all those other physical theories: each had admirable qualities that you admired and desired in a physical theory; they just had some serious shortcomings as well that made them unsuitable for long-term potential, even though you tried really hard to convince yourself otherwise at the time. Cosmology combines the best of all of them and uses them to reinvent the universe continually. It's never a dull moment with Cosmology, plus there's long-term stability besides...

Jen,
Not to get you down or anything, but you know it will end in heat death, don't ya?

Everything ends in heat death and decay, so you might as well make sure you enjoy the ride. :)

Dear Jennifer, thanks for your sophisticated answer but I don't understand it too well, preferring to escape back to the real, 10+-dimensional world. :-) My hint was however much more elementary than how you presented it and it is this: Maybe you married GR, not cosmology. For example, the book he wrote is called "Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity". ;-)

I agree that cosmology is about the long run (long time scales and long distances), but so is general relativity. On the other hand, high-energy physics is about the short time processes. The long time scale associated with GR and cosmology is inseparable from their lack of a romantic spark. On the other hand, the QFT and stringy things are about the short-lived processes and sensations but they usually occur many times, filling the spacetime as well. ;-) Also, you shouldn't forget that GR and cosmology get overruled by QFT and string theory when the life of a new Universe begins. GR is simply not enough for that.

There is one more heavily disputed girl whose name is time-reversal symmetry. Both high-energy physics and (your) cosmology claim that she belongs to us. We say that time-reversal symmetry (and other symmetries) get restored at short distances and simple systems and they are broken by thermodynamical phenomena (with many degrees of freedom), i.e. at long distances. Your GR hubbie likes to claim the opposite, namely that She becomes unbroken in his cosmological regime (and eggs break or should break as often as they unbreak). Of course, he is totally and fundamentally wrong.

I don't particularly identify with either of the anthropomorphic comments but yes, I have been told the things not only from your string theory paragraph but also some of those from the QM paragraph. For example, omnisexuality is a frequent explanation why I think that men's and women's cognitive approaches differ - except that those who disagree usually use tougher words and their identity usually remains unknown. :-)

But putting these features of particular persons aside, I think that you have understood the correct societal spirit of various disciplines in physics. For example, string theory plays a very similar role relatively to general relativity as QM plays relatively to Newton's theory etc.: after all, the newer theory is the quantization of the previous one.

At the societal level, it means that the QM/string people may be crazier, further from the average, they enjoy deviations, paradigm shifts, and the search for the new "uncommon sense" if you wish - that's an important driving force of their research -, while the classical physicists often bend continuously with the status quo and "normal science" where we never learn something that is genuinely qualitatively new is their dream about ideal science.

I don't want to say that this is a general rule that extends from the theories to all of their practitioners but I am convinced that there exists a correlation of this kind. Of course, science requires both of these strategies and good scientists, of course, have both of these chromosomes.

Here's another slant on the concept:

http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2008/07/physical_theories_squeak_when.php
Physical Theories Squeak When You Chew Them

"The Internet is silly!"

I turn around from the computer. "Yes it is," I say to the dog, "But what, specifically, makes you say that?"

"All these posts about physics theories. Comparing them to women and men and stupid wizards, and relationships. It's silly."

"Yes, well, it does seem to be the diversion of the moment."

"Anyway, they've got it all wrong. Physics theories are like my toys."

"oh, god..." I was afraid of this.
. . . . . . . . .

He even gets technical:

"Quantum mechanics is an odd-shaped squeaky toy, like my anime cat, or the demon squeaky ball. You think you know where it's going to go, but then it takes a weird bounce, and you have to chase it some more. But when you get it, it makes all kinds of cool squeaky noises when you chew it."

"That makes a certain amount of sense..."

"Also, if you chew the legs off, it gets easier to catch."

"How do you chew the legs off quantum mechanics?"

"Ummm.... The WKB approximation?"

Physics is overrated except as it intersects with biology.

From my side of noogenenesis, and biology, I'd have to make room for Big Bangs, Red Shift and Black Holes in a physical science characterization of my history with the superior gender.

And no pun was intended.

I enjoyed reading it :-)

Now all we need a "physical theories as women" ... and this blog will erupt into flames, creating a two-pole singularity that will engulf the entire Universe. Yahoo!

BTW, I find your reference to Cosmology a bit Ouelettecentric. Hmmm, I wonder why ;-)

@Arturo: This post was inspired by "Physical Theories as Women" by Simon DeDeo. It already exists. And the Internet is still here!

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.