Friday, February 12, 2010

This and That

I'm presently stuck with what I've been working on lately. It's the really, really frustrating phase. Once you start looking into the details of an idea, problems occur to you that you previously weren't aware of. So then you have to rethink, read more papers, try differently. Sometimes it just doesn't work no matter what you try. One day it seems to work, the next day you figure out a mistake, then you find a better way, and that doesn't work either, and so on. Sigh.

But there's also good news from my work life: two of my recent papers "A model for non-singular black hole collapse and evaporation" with Leonardo Modesto and Isabeau Prémont-Schwarz, and "Conservative solutions to the black hole information problem" with Lee Smolin were just accepted for publication in PRD. So now we have to read the proofs. I like that part.

Besides that, I learned recently that the Royal Society has their 350th anniversary this year. They are celebrating the occasion with some open access special issues of the Philosophical Transactions, and they have an interactive timeline marking important papers, eg 1891 the proof that fingerprints are unique. One never stops learning. If you have an interest in the history of science, check this out.

Another news item is that the American Physical Society is giving blogging a try. They've called it "Physics Frontline" and according to their description cover "the latest scientific news, analysis and commentary on the intersection of physics with science policy issues, including innovation, education, energy, climate change, and nuclear policy." Despite presently 7 contributors, blogging is somewhat scarce there. Anyway, I think it's a good idea to provide commentary on science policy from people who actually know what they're talking about, and I thus hope to see somewhat more activity over there in the future.


  1. "The Journey IS the Reward"
    -- Chinese Proverb

    "The Path is better than the End"
    -- Cervantes

    I remember during my PhD research, during the initial "Discovery Process", where I surveyed the entire field & played with various mathematical models (desk was stacked with books from the Math Library). Looked at the clock (1:30am) & wondered "is there an end in sight".

    "Victory belong to the Most Persevering"
    -- Napoleon

    I went with a Top-Down approach: military-model Frontal Assault, looking for a breakthrough. The German Blitzkrieg model looks for a weakness, & pours its armor/troops/air into this "break".

    "Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication"
    -- Leonardo Da Vinci

    After tortuous period, I found the SIMPLE breakthrough geometrical model (& consequent easy computatations, using homogeneous coordinates). It was a breakthrough the field was looking for (m=0 case, previously stuck with no tractable solution, due to solution of simultaneous non-linear algebraic eqns). As followup, it PREDICTED a solution in the next-generation problem (m=1 case). Essentially, I came up with the breakthrough model in 2 weeks. The rest of my PhD was a straightforward execution of papers.

    "There are no Desperate Situations..ONLY DESPERATE PEOPLE"
    -- Heinz Guderian, Panzer general, inventor of Blitzkrieg

  2. Yah,yah, the journey is the reward, the way is the goal, the chase is better than the kill etc etc. Nice words. But I actually prefer to kill ;-) Best,


  3. "You may find that the wanting is better than the having"
    ... Mr. Spock

    Spoken like a true adventurer.

    Blitzkrieg works, but Sun Tzu's policy of defeating the enemy from within leaves more of the enemy alive to pay more taxes.

    Well first, congrats, Bee. Pre-prints are one thing but published papers are the best. Can we expect Stefan to be writing your Wikipedia entry now?

    I suppose you do have more questions than answers as you go over the proofs. All new ideas birth more questions, which give way to more answers, each of which births even more questions, etc. ad infinitim forever. Does it ever stop? No.

    I'm personally very curious where theory is headed now with superstrings on the ropes (pun not intended). All this talk of Verlinde and Carroll and the use/mis-use of entropy, aye yai yai. I'm glad to see good old black holes back in the news. I never thought I'd say that.

  4. Hi Bee,

    ”But I actually prefer to kill ”

    This has me to wonder, that within the context of admittedly over simplified and stereotypical gender distinctions if you consider it an act of hunting or rather gathering? That is do you actually consider it as hunting down the solution to a problem to kill it, or rather find a solution to then have it be yours? With you mentioning the upcoming publication of your past two papers in mentioning how you enjoy the proofing of them beforehand, it has me think of this is an aspect of gathering as in respect to proper preparation before storage;-)

    Oh yes thanks for pointing to the article regarding the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions as this being one of the earliest of scientific journals with Newton himself being its chief editor for many years along with being head of the Physical Society of which this was actually an extension. I will definitely looked to what can be discovered hear.

    I alsohope you get past your being currently stuck, which might suggest some distraction is called for. David Bohm was a firm believer in the usefulness to having your mind come to a state of what he called ‘none thought’ or full rest. With the most current research indicating our minds function between the region of order and chaos perhaps there’s more truth to this than we might think, or rather not think:-)



  5. Hi Phil,

    Stefan will have something more to say about the Philosophical Transactions later. I realized too late that I scooped him ;-) To me it's more a gathering, so the comparison wasn't a good one. What I meant to express is simply that while one learns from mistakes, that's ultimately not what you're looking for. Best,


  6. Hi Bee,

    Except of course in your case rather than gathering your thoughts it’s more of gathering new ones, and thus I hope soon you will find it and as Einstein referred to such things that it be a “happy thought”. I also will look forward to Stefan’s post as the Philosophical Transactions have a rich and important history.



  7. How black hole without event horizon and singularity is defined? Could it be the Earth, for example?

  8. It has an apparent horizon (or rather in our model and also that of Hayward it has two). That basically means it looks pretty damned like a black hole for a long time and traps light as in the usual case but the horizon is not a global property, ie it doesn't eternally disconnect regions of spacetime. Best,


  9. Well... so how black hole with event horizon could be distinguished from this one with trapped horizon by observation?

    Is such model testable/falsifiable physical model - or is it just a numerology?

  10. First, if you'd read at least the introduction of the paper you'd maybe recognize why the model is an interesting case study both for the problem of singularity avoidance and black hole information loss. Second, I recommend you read that. Best,


  11. /*'d maybe recognize why the model is an interesting case study...*/
    IMHO physics differs from math by predictions testable by observations/experiments. And the article referred is about "loop
    quantum black hole", not about "black hole with trapped horizon" (Hayward 1994). It even doesn't contain "trapped" word (apparently not a problem for You)...

    So far I'm not very sure, you even know, what You're dealing with. Should I therefore expect, my posts will be deleted soon again - or what?

  12. Zephir: The article I referred you to is about the same model that my paper with Leonardo and Isabeau is about, believe it or not. So you did a full text search and didn't find the word "apparent." Tough luck, Zephir, but you'll actually have to read the paper to understand it. And yes, if you don't stop making nothing but condescending remarks about topics you evidently don't know shit about, I'll happily delete your comments again. Best,


  13. I am sure after all these discourses on methodology one might have recognized that while considering the "gap of ingenuity" it is not unlikely that "an idea" could enter any mind? Where did that come from? It wasn't there before or was it? You just didn't recognize it maybe? So it's out there then? Where is that?

    But sure there is some contention here about chaos in the mind/brain and a possible heat death from such overkill in information gathering that one might have thought of "disorder reigning?"

    I am not talking about fever.

    I am sorry to say this doesn't as a "heat death" happen in mind. So all the neurons are active? Jiggling mind/brain to prepare?

    So in a cooling state consolidation takes place, and a crystallized process unfolds in the function of entropic valuation that we could say that one has concertize something of order in the mind for presentation? Proofs and such, to anchor in reality.

    To kill it means to "really change it" and assume the model in question? To have really consumed it. Even if your wrong?:)

    So you take a stand based on what you have done, yes, and whether right or wrong, you accept the consequences?:)That's just the learning experience. It wouldn't of amounted to much if it didn't leave an impression and a deep one at that.

    And AC said: "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" And there was light--
    —Closing line, The Last Question


  14. /*..The article I referred you to is about the same model that my paper with Leonardo and Isabeau is about...*/
    Do you think? Which experiment could falsify this?

  15. Zephir: Which "experiment" could falsify that the paper I referred you to is not about the same model that our recent paper is about? Somebody reading it and noticing that the equations are not the same? Really, Zephir, what's your problem? Best,


  16. Bee: Physical Review D... Waoo, congratulations!

  17. From the APS blog, "Research into science education and learning has demonstrated new techniques that shift the teaching focus to a student-centered, inquiry-based method." Like NASA returning to the moon - including outcome.

    1) Target intellectually fertile populations (ore) but allow any source (placer deposits).
    2) Objectively identify the Severely Gifted.
    3) Free them from the dross.
    4) Let each gorge according to desire and ability.
    5) A perfect wrench need not act upon nails.

    It is US fashionable for the scene of a tragedy to be drenched in balloons, candles, flowers, teddy bears... An engineer would fix the problem, a scientist would render it irrelevant; a social activist resells the nonsense with markup.

  18. Jérôme: Thanks :-) I'm very happy with it too.

    Uncle: What they mean with that is using clickers ;-) I once heard a Nobel prize winner giving a talk about it. No kidding. Best,


  19. I was chatting with the Marie Curie of the cosmology field, and I didn't know it!... To bad that I know nothing about black holes: I could have made some well thought remark about your papers...

    Nice publication record anyway.




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