The expert’s corner

Quantum gravity from quantum error-correcting codes?

The lessons we learned from the Ryu-Takayanagi formula, the firewall paradox and the ER=EPR conjecture have convinced us that quantum information theory can become a powerful tool to sharpen our understanding of various problems in high-energy physics. But, many of the concepts utilized so far rely on entanglement entropy and its generalizations, quantities developed by [...]

Bell’s inequality 50 years later

This is a jubilee year.* In November 1964, John Bell submitted a paper to the obscure (and now defunct) journal Physics. That paper, entitled "On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox," changed how we think about quantum physics. The paper was about quantum entanglement, the characteristic correlations among parts of a quantum system that are profoundly [...]

When I met with Steven Spielberg to talk about Interstellar

Today I had the awesome and eagerly anticipated privilege of attending a screening of the new film Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan. One can't help but be impressed by Nolan's fertile visual imagination. But you should know that Caltech's own Kip Thorne also had a vital role in this project. Indeed, were there no Kip [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:38+00:00 November 2nd, 2014|News, The expert's corner|15 Comments

Inflation on the back of an envelope

Last Monday was an exciting day! After following the BICEP2 announcement via Twitter, I had to board a transcontinental flight, so I had 5 uninterrupted hours to think about what it all meant. Without Internet access or references, and having not thought seriously about inflation for decades, I wanted to reconstruct a few scraps of [...]

My 10 biggest thrills

Wow! Evidence for gravitational waves produced during cosmic inflation. BICEP2 results for the ratio r of gravitational wave perturbations to density perturbations, and the density perturbation spectral tilt n. Like many physicists, I have been reflecting a lot the past few days about the BICEP2 results, trying to put them in context. Other [...]

Building a Computer: Part I

During my senior year in high school, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. At the awards banquet I was seated with fourteen others and we each had the choice of ordering either salmon or steak for our respective entrées. I noticed that while taking our fifteen different [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:48+00:00 December 25th, 2013|The expert's corner|0 Comments

More Brainteasers

As promised, I’m back to tell you more about myself and tickle your brain! I’m terribly sorry for giving such a short description of my background in my last post. If I had to describe myself in another $latex leq 5$ words, I’d write: “Breakdancing, bodybuilding physicist… Ladies: single.” Problem 1: A thousand balloons numbered [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:48+00:00 December 16th, 2013|The expert's corner|Comments Off on More Brainteasers

On the importance of choosing a convenient basis

The benefits of Caltech's proximity to Hollywood don't usually trickle down to measly grad students like myself, except in the rare occasions when we befriend the industry's technical contingent. One of my friends is a computer animator for Disney, which means that she designs algorithms enabling luxuriously flowing hair or trees with realistic lighting or [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:52+00:00 July 9th, 2013|The expert's corner|9 Comments