Category Archives: physics

Leon Lederman dies at 96, sold Nobel Prize medal to pay for medical care

Here’s a really disturbing tweet (h/t: Matthew): the American dream – selling your NOBEL PRIZE to pay for medical treatment https://t.co/i7NYj7ha9S — Laura Elliott (@TinyWriterLaura) October 4, 2018 Leon Lederman was a beloved Chicago colleague who received the 1988 Physics Nobel Prize, along with two others, for work on neutrinos. Later in his life, after […]

Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to three

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three people, including the first woman to win the Prize in 55 years. The recipients are Arthur Ashkin (half share), Gérard Moureau (quarter share) and Donna Strickland (quarter share), and the Prize committee cited the three this way: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was […]

Sabine Hossenfelder attempts to find real free will in the laws of physics

The two main positions about free will by those who already accept physical determinism are these: a. They are incompatible: determinism completely effaces the possibility of free will; b. They are compatible: although determinism may be true, and our actions controlled by the laws of physics, we can construe a definition of free will that […]

Did Hawking have polio rather than ALS?

As we all know, Stephen Hawking is a medical anomaly, for he lived for over half a century with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—a disease that usually kills you within just a few years of diagnosis. As far as I know, he had the disease for longer than any human in history. But did he really […]

Philip Goff returns with panpsychism: now claims that a non-goddy “conscious Universe” explains the “fine-tuning” of physical constants permitting life

I’ve written two critical posts about the ideas of Philip Goff (a philosophy professor at Central European University in Budapest): here and here. In both places (Aeon and NPR, respectively), Goff argues for “panpsychism”—the idea that in some sense the entire Universe is conscious. He waffles on exactly how that consciousness is manifested, or where it […]

New evidence for the multiverse—and its implications

As skeptical as I am, I think the contemplation of the multiverse is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the nature of science and on the ultimate nature of existence: why we are here…. In looking at this concept, we need an open mind, though not too open. It is a delicate path to tread. […]

University of Chicago “celebrates” the first controlled nuclear fission reaction

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Hili Dialogue, Sunday was the 75th anniversary of the first controlled nuclear fission reaction, which it took place here at the University of Chicago. On December 2, 1942, in an old racketball court beneath the stands of the Stagg Field football stadium, Chicago Pile-1 was activated by Enrico Fermi and […]

I have landed. . . to find quantum quackery

. . . in Houston, that is. The George Bush airport is HUGE and not pleasant. Next I have a 2-hour flight to Puebla. I have no time for posting, but here’s something to examine very critically. The famed physicist Roger Penrose, over at the Daily Galaxy, says he has a reliable physical mechanism for producing […]

Gravity waves: a reader’s take

I’m busy much of today, but have a few contributions from others to show. I thought I had posted on the discovery of gravity waves from the LIGO Project when it happened, but I can’t seem to find the post. (I did mention the award of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics to its discoverers.) At […]

A grand cosmological event: the collision of two neutron stars pumps up the physics community

Well, this astronomy/physics news is just in, and of course it’s above my pay grade, but at least I can refer you to articles in both the New York Times and CNN about a new discovery: the collision of two neutron stars, emitting both electromagnetic and gravity waves. The collision was detected in August, but […]