A century of experiments in general relativity
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
2M ago
Today we discuss experiments in general relativity with Dr. Daniel Kennefick, PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology, Professor of Physics at the University of Arkansas, and author of "No Shadow of a Doubt: The 1919 Eclipse That Confirmed Einstein's Theory of Relativity". David: Experiment to test a theory is a simple idea. In practice it is subtle. Do you see an evolution in that subtlety over time in astrophysics and cosmology? Dan: I think there has been a great evolution in the subtlety of experiment, most particularly as we move farther away from direct experience and ..read more
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Reality, intuition, interpretation: a Bohmian perspective
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
5M ago
Today we visit Dr. Hrvoje Nikolic of the Theoretical Physics Division of the Ruđer Bošković Institute, PhD from the University of Zagreb, on the nature of quantum theory. David: Physical reality was a fairly straightforward concept before I studied quantum physics. With superposition and entanglement, it became vague if not contentious. In your understanding of quantum theory, how would you describe physical reality? Hrvoje: Before describing it, I should first define what I mean by it; by physical reality I mean the things out there that exist irrespective of whether we measure them or not. F ..read more
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The rockstar of physics
David Garofalo's Corner
by
8M ago
Today we enter briefly into the world of Gabriella Greison, degree in nuclear physics from the University of Milan, physicist, writer, and performer, referred to as ‘the rockstar of physics’ by Italian media, on her book Sei donne che hanno cambiato il mondo (Six women who changed the world). David: Through the work of Ruth Lewin Sime, I have come to understand that nuclear fission was not solely a chemistry discovery because Meitner’s role was primary. My personal impression of the correspondence between Meitner and Hahn is that, if anything, Hahn’s role was secondary to Meitner's as he relie ..read more
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The Kingdom of Emenras
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
9M ago
by David Garofalo In a random corner of the universe is located a galaxy brimming with starlight from billions of stars. Of the uncountable long-lived stars halfway through their lives that gave rise to life on their planets, one is situated 2/3 of the way out from the galaxy center. And on one of its planets lives a kingdom called Emenras, ruled by A King. From afar, the planet has a pale blue appearance and the Kingdom of Emenras appears to be an oasis nested among the stars, mostly because A King is surrounded by de Flower, making the gardens lush, filled with aroma, and creating a welcomin ..read more
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A chance to meet the most advanced civilization in the universe
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
10M ago
by David Garofalo If you want to know whether intelligence lives elsewhere in the universe, you need to understand black holes. Black holes affect galaxies, stars, and in turn, their planets. When matter falls onto black holes, winds and jets may form that enhance or suppress the rate of star formation, push stars around, heat the interstellar environment, and cause havoc on planets by spraying them with X-rays, or not. The kind of feedback on planetary systems depends on the kind of galaxy, its formation history, and how it fed its black hole. We can now hone in on the locations where habitab ..read more
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The illusion of advice
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
11M ago
by David Garofalo Academics love to give advice. From strategies for completing the PhD to becoming an effective researcher, the stories they are ready and willing to sell you as advice are endless. Students and young scientists in turn, constantly demand a supply of advice. And they will use this advice to mimic successful behaviors to presumably become themselves successful. But they don’t know that what they’re asking for does not exist. They are deluded. I believe advice to be an illusion. There’s no such thing as advice. Imagine you are a college freshmen and you come to me for advice on ..read more
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Solving the black hole-galaxy connection
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
11M ago
by David Garofalo One of the most fundamental correlations in astrophysics has just been understood. In every galaxy where measurements of the mass of the central supermassive black hole are possible, it is found that the random velocities of stars too far from the black hole to feel its gravity, are correlated with the mass of the black hole. Black holes and stars seem to know about each other. But if these stars cannot feel the black hole's pull, how does the correlation come to be? This has been an open question for the past generation. In 2009 and with the help of experts on the observatio ..read more
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The allegory of the twins
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
1y ago
by David Garofalo Twins are born at t > 0 according to the clock in the hospital room of a hospital situated in a one dimensional city within a one dimensional state on a planet located on the outskirts of a one dimensional galaxy. The address is x > 0. The birth is labeled by the doctors as event A. They work in a narrow building with exit doors both on the left and on the right. The twins, one green, the other blue, never get along. Their distaste for each other is marked by their birth. To most effectively push each other away, their doctor prescribes momentum conservation to ensure t ..read more
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The little known big problem of black hole jets
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
1y ago
by David Garofalo We have been hearing about the unknown dark sector of the universe for decades, especially given recent tensions with the data. But black holes are responsible for the way galaxies form and evolve, the extent to which is likely underestimated. One feature of black holes that can affect their galactic and even intergalactic environment, has to do with their powerful jets. Jets coming from the centers of galaxies were discovered in 1917 from the galaxy whose black hole was recently imaged, M87. Nothing came of this until more evidence emerged. In the 1950’s an Armenian astronom ..read more
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The persistent fluidity of science
David Garofalo's Corner
by David Garofalo
1y ago
Today we compare ideas of science across Babylonian, Greek, and modern times with Dr. Francesca Rochberg, PhD from the University of Chicago and Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. David: Despite the fluidity you describe in the definition of science over time, is it possible to identify enduring features? Francesca: Paradoxically, change is perhaps one of the enduring features of science, which is to say that the one thing for sure about science is that it does not stay the same over time, even if ce ..read more
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