Monday, August 14, 2006

The Big Island

Everyone needs a home to return to. The next few days' photos will be from a place very near to an islander's heart, HAWAII. With telescopes atop Mauna Kea and active vulcanism, the Big Island is the perfect place for a cosmologist. Kilauea Volcano has been very active lately, and there has been volcanic activity in Indonesia and the Philippines. Hawaii is conveniently located in the middle of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

For a light-hearted look at the current world mess, Green Helmet Guy from propaganda photos now has a blog! His views on fooling the media are timely and very funny! My response to those who imprison women in burquas is to wear whatever we want.

Mahndisa has contributed some interesting posts on Loop Quantum Gravity. Christine Dantas also writes about Quantum Gravity theories. You may also see the August 12 cover story in New Scientist about Sundance Bilson and Lee Smolin's work. It is very promising to see LQG get wide airplay.

Some consider Loop Quantum Gravity as a rival to the string enterprise. A few theorists look down on those not enmeshed in strings. There is absolutely no reason for rivalry, except that strings have jealously dominated theoretical physics for years. LQG may end up describing entirely different phenomena.

Recent work by Sundance and Lee at the Perimeter Institute suggests that LQG may predict the configurations of light particles such as the electron and positron. If so, that is a big and promising achievement. The Holy Grail of theoretical physics is to predict physical parameters, such as the masses of fundamental particles. As for two important parameters, the speed of light c and the Planck value h, readers of this site already know how to predict those!

Below is an aerial shot I took of Mauna Kea in Winter, all covered in snow. Here one can snowboard and snorkel on the same island. What more could anyone ask for?


Blogger Kea said...

Kea Mountain! I want to go there one day. Nice post on octopi ...

1:08 PM  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

08 14 06

Hey Louise:
Thanks for the link! Yes, the article in New Scientist has generated some controversy. However, I have yet to see anything substantial against what they are doing. The only thing I can see is that there are issues with the extended Diffeomorphism group formation, as the volume operator doesn't work etc. HOWEVER, one needn't use Diff* to make LQG work. I will speak more on this in a coupla days, but I also received a very critical analysis of the Helling and Policastro paper with neat mathy details! hehehehehe

Oh, there is one paper put out by the Perimeter Institute and they speak of how ancient neutrino measurements may assist us in showing a quantized gravity or not. Here is a link: Testing Gravity-Driven Collapse of the Wave Function via Cosmogenic Neutrinos, by Joy Christian.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

08 14 06

You know on second thought, I believe that you will find this post I did far more intriguing-hehehhe a new measurement of g lurks with a wonderous degree of accuracy!! heheheheeh:) Tell me what ya thinkuv this: "Long-Lived Bloch Oscillations with Bosonic Sr Atoms and Application to Gravity Measurement at the Micrometer Scale" by Ferrari et al.

Have a great week. I am a bit emotionally spent, but feel hopeful about the future and I wish you the same:)

4:32 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

HI Kea, Mahndisa. It is wonderful when women give such informed opinions. Kea, your comments on de Sitter in Not Even Wrong were wonderful: "How many nails need to go into this freaking coffin?" Hee hee! I hope to show you Mauna Kea one day.

Mahndisa's links are fascinating and require serious reading. It is good that others are looking at CMB anisotropies that the WMAP team blithely ignores. The scale-invariant spectrum, which is predicted by inflation, is ruled out by experiment. There is nothing substantial against the LQG articles, but a big rant at Reference Frame. It is too funny!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Update: we just derived the number of generations from first principles (the neutrino and charged lepton masses are also done to experimental precision, but that calculation is still rough).


10:22 PM  
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A few theorists look down on those not enmeshed in strings.

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