Friday, July 07, 2006

Superman in Extra Dimensions

  • Slashdot links to an article on the physics of Superman. I didn't know he travels at close to the speed of light, but if he does, the article points out, then the world will age quite a bit while he's flying around. For more on Superman, Phil Plait has a review up of the latest movie Superman Returns , but I've not read it because he's got spoilers in there.

  • The CHE has an article up (subscription reqd) which answers the question, "how much time do I waste?"...for many, the answer is already known:
    A survey of 6,000 university researchers found that scientists spend 42 percent of their research time filling out forms and in meetings. With those hard numbers to back his case, the professor who designed the survey hopes to persuade the federal government to amend its grant-making system.

  • Woit's latest has a quote about extra dimensions from Lawrence Krauss (of the physics of star trek fame, among other work):

    Many of the papers in particle physics over the last five to seven years have been involved with the idea of extra dimensions of one sort or another. And while it~Rs a fascinating idea, but I have to say, it's looking to me like it~Rs not yet leading anywhere. The experimental evidence against it is combining with what I see as a theoretical diffusion, a breaking off into lots of parts. That's happened with string theory. I can see it happening with extra-dimensional arguments. We're seeing that the developments from this idea which has captured the imaginations of many physicists, hasn't been compelling.

    I confess that I am one who does find it pretty fascinating, and in particular I've long been an admirer of the work of Eöt-Wash group looking for evidence of these extra dimensions. Their work is good science and they give good talks. There's also this today from the New Scientist describing a proposed experiment to do a similar measurement as the Eöt-Wash group, just to do it out in space! Good luck getting that kind of precision and getting it launched.

Update: Backreaction has a short tutorial on extra dimensions posted today.

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