Category Archives: Science

The Bayesian Second Law of Thermodynamics

Entropy increases. Closed systems become increasingly disordered over time.┬áSo says the Second Law of Thermodynamics, one of my favorite notions in all of physics. At least, entropy usually increases. If we define entropy by first defining “macrostates” — collections of … Continue reading

Posted in arxiv, Science, Time | 44 Comments

Hypnotized by Quantum Mechanics

It remains embarrassing that physicists haven’t settled on the best way of formulating quantum mechanics (or some improved successor to it). I’m partial to Many-Worlds, but there are other smart people out there who go in for alternative formulations: hidden … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science | 100 Comments

Spacetime, Storified

I had some spare minutes the other day, and had been thinking about the fate of spacetime in a quantum universe, so I took to the internet to let my feelings be heard. Only a few minutes, though, so I … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 16 Comments

Guest Post: Aidan Chatwin-Davies on Recovering One Qubit from a Black Hole

The question of how information escapes from evaporating black holes has puzzled physicists for almost forty years now, and while we’ve learned a lot we still don’t seem close to an answer. Increasingly, people who care about such things have … Continue reading

Posted in arxiv, Guest Post, Science | 23 Comments

Why is the Universe So Damn Big?

I love reading io9, it’s such a fun mixture of science fiction, entertainment, and pure science. So I was happy to respond when their writer George Dvorsky emailed to ask an innocent-sounding question: “Why is the scale of the universe … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 68 Comments

Yoichiro Nambu

It was very sad to hear yesterday that Yoichiro Nambu has died. He was aged 94, so it was after a very long and full life. Nambu was one of the greatest theoretical physicists of the 20th century, although not … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 11 Comments

Why Is There Dark Matter?

Years ago I read an article by Martin Rees, in which he surveyed the options for what the dark matter of the universe might be. I forget the exact wording, but near the end he said something like “There are … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 53 Comments

Algebra of the Infrared

In my senior year of college, when I was beginning to think seriously about graduate school, a magical article appeared in the New York Times magazine. Called “A Theory of Everything,” by KC Cole, it conveyed the immense excitement that … Continue reading

Posted in arxiv, Science | 10 Comments

Warp Drives and Scientific Reasoning

A bit ago, the news streams were once again abuzz with claims that NASA was investigating amazing space drives that violate the laws of physics. And it’s true! If we grant that “NASA” includes “any person employed by NASA,” and … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Science and the Media | 102 Comments

Does Spacetime Emerge From Quantum Information?

Quantizing gravity is an important goal of contemporary physics, but after decades of effort it’s proven to be an extremely tough nut to crack. So it’s worth considering a very slight shift of emphasis. What if the right strategy is … Continue reading

Posted in arxiv, Science | 42 Comments