Monday, November 13, 2006

Smoke came out of our theories...

Today I stumbled across the Honeywell Nobel Interactive Studio:

"[...] The Honeywell - Nobel Laureate Lecture Series [is] the centerpiece of a global education initiative designed to connect students across the globe with Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry and Physics. [...] A multi-year effort, the Honeywell – Nobel Initiative combines on-campus events, interactive webcontent and broadcast programming to link one generation of leading scientists with the development of the next."

Since I found out via NEW that these websites were only fairly recently launched, I want to encourage you to have a look at it. They have some very nice videos there. E.g. here is Leon Lederman, Nobel-Laureate in 1988, about the search for the Higgs:




(click on the picture or here, I'm having some problems embedding the flash)


"[...] and so far, no one has come up with a good alternative. But I suspect, there are some kids in junior high school [...] who will have within their minds the seeds of discovery... "




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6 comments:

Arun said...

Interesting also was the statement that finding the Higgs would be a triumph of speculative ideas.

Chris Oakley said...

Interesting also was the statement that finding the Higgs would be a triumph of speculative ideas.

He is quite right here. The reasoning that leads to W's and Z's is a simplification based on the hypothesis that fundamental forces are mediated by vector bosons, and to a large extent does not depend on how exactly one chooses to do QFT. The reasoning that leads to the Higgs, though, is an ad hoc plug in a leaking dyke of a very specific and extremely inelegant blend of classical and quantum field theory.

Bee said...

Hi Chris, Hi Arun,

yes :-) I liked the video because he's so genuinely exited about the possibilities the LHC opens - and makes clear that our inability to come up with a better mechanism for mass generation than the Higgs isn't sufficient to make it reality. I find it sometimes a bit depressing if physicists say: well, OF COURSE they will find the Higgs, nobody would be surprised about that. But yes, finding the Higgs WOULD be a triumph. Whether we all have the same notion of 'speculative ideas' (there might be some years difference between us), is another question. Best,

B.

Uncle Al said...

Why would an educational system devoted to a full sigma below the mean kind of mediocrity shoot itself in the foot? The Gifted must be destroyed. As was eructated from a UC/Berkeley Boalt Hall podium. "INERT INTELLIGENCE IS THE PARADIGM OF INSTITUTIONAL RACISM!"

(That Boalt's faculty is remarkably bereft of Blacks, Browns, and Yellows is coincidence.) We must empower the dispicable not pander to the able. 0.2% of the Department of Education's annual budget coddles the Gifted. Stop embezzling funds meant for the deserving!

Bee said...

Why would an educational system devoted to a full sigma below the mean kind of mediocrity shoot itself in the foot?

Coz otherwise the rest of the world will stomp on their feet?

stefan said...

Thank you for the link :-)

I just notice, the second physics laureate featuring on the Honeywell site is Horst Störmer, who got the Nobel prize in 1998 for the discovery of the fractional quantum Hall effect. I always thought that the FQHE is very esoteric, but it seems that the materials where it occurs, at least, are quite important for building electronic devices.

Horst Störmer did his undergraduate studies in Frankfurt. He got his diploma in the same group as later Nobel laureate Gerd Binnig, the co-constructor of the scanning tunneling microscope. Horst Störmer and Gerd Binnig both were awarded honorary doctorates of the University in Frankfurt.

When Störmer came back to Frankfurt in 1999 to give a colloquium talk in the big lecture hall where he had started his studies of physics in the late 1960s, he said he was very pleased to see that every effort had been taken to make the lecture hall look exactly as it had been 30 years before.