Real science

Guns versus butter in quantum information

From my college’s computer-science club, I received a T-shirt that reads:while(not_dead){ sleep--; time--; awesome++; } /*There’s a reason we can’t hang out with you…*/The message is written in Java, a programming language. Even if you’ve never programmed, you likely catch the drift: CS majors are the bees’ knees because, at the expense of sleep and [...]

The Navajo connection

A few months ago, Prof. Keith Schwab brought visiting students and teachers from Navajo Preparatory School to tour some of the IQIM labs, listen to some quick lectures on optics, and talk to scientists. Since this opportunity was only allowed to the one carload that made the 11.5 hour drive from Farmington, NM, everyone involved [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:48-08:00December 23rd, 2013|Real science, Reflections|0 Comments

Polarizer: Rise of the Efficiency

How should a visitor to Zürich spend her weekend? Launch this question at a Swiss lunchtable, and you split diners into two camps. To take advantage of Zürich, some say, visit Geneva, Lucerne, or another spot outside Zürich. Other locals suggest museums, the lake, and the 19th-century ETH building. The 19th-century ETH building [...]

Graphene gets serious

Imagine one marshmallow, 100 pieces of dried spaghetti, and a roll of masking tape lying on a large table. Next to the supplies are directions that read: “Elevate the marshmallow as high as possible using only the spaghetti and masking tape.” What was the first question that popped into your head? My assumption is your [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:50-08:00September 6th, 2013|Real science|2 Comments

The Most Awesome Animation About Quantum Computers You Will Ever See

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2DXrs0OpHU?vq=hd720&rel=0&showinfo=0] by Jorge Cham You might think the title is a little exaggerated, but if there's one thing I've learned from Theoretical Physicists so far, it's to be bold with my conjectures about reality. Welcome to the second installment of our series of animations about Quantum Information! After an auspicious start describing doing the impossible, this [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:51-08:00August 22nd, 2013|Real science, Reflections|40 Comments

Frozen children

A few weeks ago, my friend Amanda, an elementary school teacher who runs a children’s camp during the summer break, suggested that it could be fun for me to come into the camp one day and do some science demonstrations for the kids. I jumped at the opportunity, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:52-08:00July 29th, 2013|Real science|3 Comments

Quantum Matter Animated!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pktWhH6m_DM?vq=hd720&rel=0&showinfo=0] by Jorge Cham What does it mean for something to be Quantum? I have to confess, I don't know. My Ph.D was in Robotics and Kinematics, so my neurons are deeply trained to think in terms of classical dynamics. I asked my siblings (two engineers and one architect) what comes to mind for them [...]

Unsolvable

Why go swimming, if you can do math instead inside a room with no windows? Back in 1997, during my visit to beautiful Mar del Plata in Argentina, I was asked to solve a math problem that I soon realized was close to being unsolvable. The setting was the Banquet for the 38th [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:56-08:00January 23rd, 2013|Real science, The expert's corner|26 Comments