Category Archives: physics

A good critique of panpsychism but a lousy alternative

The article at hand was published by the Institute of Art and Ideas, a British organization that I hadn’t heard of but is described by Wikipedia thusly: The Institute of Art and Ideas is an arts organisation founded in 2008 in London. Its programming includes the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn and the online channel IAI TV, where […]

Podcast: Dan Dennett and Sean Carroll on illusions, consciousness, free will, and other stuff

Reader Paul called my attention to a new episode of Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast. It’s two hours long, so of course I don’t have the patience to listen to it (you can by clicking on the screenshot below), but fortunately there’s a transcript you can get by clicking on “Click to show episode transcript” near […]

Is “white empiricism” hindering physics?

UPDATE: James Lindsay has an analysis of this paper in a number of successive tweets, starting with the one below. Click on it if you want to see his take. He criticizes a number of points that I either missed or ignored, so I recommend your reading it. Time to start talking about the now […]

Nobel Prize in physics awarded to three researchers in astronomy and cosmology

This morning, the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics was split between three men, with half of the award (a total of $910,000) split between Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz (25% each) “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star,” and the other half of the Prize going to James Peebles of Princeton “for […]

Murray Gell-Mann died

UPDATE: There is a celebration of Gell-Man’s life, “Remembering Murray“, at the Edge website, where many physicists, friends, and physicist-friends pay tribute to the man. __________   By now most of you probably know that famed physicist Murray Gell-Mann died Friday at the age of 89. He won the Nobel Prize in 1969 for “for […]

Once more: Why Christian List’s “proof of free will” fails

I’ve already written twice about the views of Christian List on free will, views called to my attention by Michael Shermer (see here and here). My interpretation of List’s views are that while he’s a physical determinist for molecules, he thinks that there is true libertarian “you could have done otherwise” free will on the […]

Sabine Hossenfelder on why we don’t have free will, but why many still insist on it

Sabine Hossenfelder is a theoretical physicist at Frankfurt’s Institute for Advanced Studies, and a popular writer with a long-time website (see below) as well as a new book, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray. Reader Nat called my attention to her new post on BackReAction (her website) about free will. It’s short, but I […]

Livestream of black-hole announcement at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT)

As I mentioned yesterday, today is the day that the Event Horizon Telescope team will announce “a major discovery”, which will almost certainly include the first photographic image of a black hole. The announcement will be livestreamed at 9 a.m. Eastern Time in the US or 1300 GMT. Sadly, I’ll be on my way to […]

Drawing blood from polar bears and microwaving grapes

As I’ve clearly been unable to brain today, and can’t find much to inspire me, enjoy these two science-y videos. In the first one, sent by reader Michael, we see how the Toronto Zoo draws blood from a polar bear.  The clue is to distract the bear with delicious seal oil while he gets a […]

Feynman memorabilia for auction, including his Nobel Prize! (Also, Darwiniana and Einstein’s palm print)

This is sad, and I’m not sure why Richard Feynman’s papers and even his Nobel Prize medal are up for auction rather than going to a museum or an archive (does the family need money?). But if you want some Feynmania, Sotheby’s auction house can accommodate you. You have to have a lot of dosh, […]