The expert’s corner

One, two, three, four, five…

As this year comes to a close, people around the world will be counting down the last few seconds of 2012. But, how come we never count up the first few seconds of the new year? What is it about the last few seconds of the year that makes them so special? Maybe it has [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:57-08:00December 27th, 2012|The expert's corner|9 Comments

The TV Frontier

Hello, my name is Tim Blasius and I am a physics graduate student at Caltech.  I recently appeared in a comedy bit on the TV show Conan, where I corrected Conan O’Brien’s physics.  I have been asked to share a few words describing this experience. As with any story involving unbridled success, it begins as a tale [...]

2017-01-13T10:06:01-08:00November 4th, 2012|News, Real science, The expert's corner|7 Comments

Fermat’s Lost Theorem

Pierre Fermat, known for his Last Theorem and for rarely proving any of his claims. Last week, I posted a series of increasingly difficult challenges in the post One line proof. Today, I would like to spend some time with the second challenge: Fermat’s Lost Theorem: Show that $latex (x+y)^n [...]

2017-01-13T10:06:02-08:00October 25th, 2012|The expert's corner|8 Comments

One line proof

It is not often that we come across a problem whose solution can fit in the margins of a notebook. In fact, many of the problems I have worked on in the field of quantum many-body physics require proofs that often exceed 30 pages. And that is without taking into account the several references included [...]

2017-01-13T10:06:02-08:00October 19th, 2012|The expert's corner|19 Comments

Individual quantum systems

When I went to school in the 20th century, “quantum measurements” in the laboratory were typically performed on ensembles of similarly prepared systems. In the 21st century, it is becoming increasingly routine to perform quantum measurements on single atoms, photons, electrons, or phonons. The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics recognizes two of the heros who [...]