Quick Posting, European Edition

It’s semester break and I’m in Paris this week, but I have a few moments to post on some topics that may be of interest:

People here in Europe seem quite normal, but Lubos has just won an award for Best European Blog.

Some details of the proposed new US stimulus package have just been released. Science is one of the main beneficiaries, with the DOE getting:

$1.9 billion for basic research into the physical sciences including high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and fusion energy sciences and improvements to DOE laboratories and scientific facilities.

This should dramatically change the situation at Fermilab, which has been operating so far this year under a low continuing resolution level of funding. For the immediate future, the funding situation in the US for HEP and science in general looks bright, although this presumably will come to a screeching halt whenever the federal government stops financing everything by printing a trillion dollars a year.

Travis Brooks of SPIRES has produced Top Cites lists for 2008. He has a blog posting about this here, and the list of most heavily cited papers during 2008 is here. For the first time in many years, a new hep-th fad is having visible impact, with Bagger-Lambert at number 37, and three other papers on the same topic in the top 50.

Over at the Edge web-site, there’s an interview with Frank Wilczek.

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9 Responses to Quick Posting, European Edition

  1. Tony Smith says:

    At Edge, Wilczek said “… The time is right for an assault on the process of aging. A lot of the basic biology is in place. …”.

    Would it really be a good thing for every human to live forever (barring accident or homicide)?

    Maybe individual human auto-termination with an upper-limit life span of 120 years or so
    is something that is beneficial for human society ?

    Tony Smith

  2. I’m a European blogger and I’ve never heard of this award!
    I had a look at the winners and two points spring to mind

    (i) Although I read his science, I think it’s a pity Lubos won – his style of rubbishing those who disagree with him will do little to convince those who doubt the usefulness of weblogs

    (ii) Most of the other winning blogs seem pretty humdrum!

  3. anon. says:

    People here in Europe seem quite normal, but Lubos has just won an award for Best European Blog.

    And another climate-change denier won the “Best Science Blog” category. I hope these results just reflect excess zeal and/or cheating from the denialists, and not their actual prevalence in the population….

  4. James says:

    I had also not heard of the European Blog award, and groaned when seeing that Motl had won it. However, there was a sigh of relief when the link explained that neither the UK or Ireland were involved (I’m from the UK).

    Auto-termination, or Euthenasia as it’s called round these parts, is often up for discussion in Europe. Some recent cases made the news, usually involving countries such as Switzerland which allow it, and questioning whether family members who assist in the travel of the (what’s the right word?) ‘subject’ from countries where it is illegal are criminals. This is a non-trivial question to say the least.

    However, if the human lifespan was unlimited by our own genetics and other biological factors (so ignoring environmental hazards such as asteroid collisions with the Earth, the explosion of the sun, the ultimate demise of the Universe, or dodgy electrics in the shower unit) this would reposition the whole euthenasia issue: should somebody be allowed to end their life becuase they were just too bored after 4000 years of living, and can’t stand hearing the same crap songs played over and over again?

  5. Chris says:

    It should be Bagger-Lambert.

  6. Peter Woit says:


    Thanks, typo fixed.

  7. cormac says:

    I should have said – it’s not Lubos’s writings on climate science I enjoy, far from it…

  8. Shantanu says:

    interestingly enough 6 out of the top cited 10 papers are in (observational) astrophysics.

  9. Charles says:

    Does any erudite person here entertain me about how to use Anyons to do quantum computing? I read the Frank Wilczek’s interview. Does the collective bosonic behavior of electrons at low temperature is theoretically predicted by his QCD theory or just experimentally achieved a technically smaller scale of what called Bose-Einstein condensate but with electrons instead of liquid Helium?
    Any other Fermionic material demonstrates collective bosonic behavior?
    Any other theoretical guy currently plays with idea like Bosonic matter near blackhole hehaves collectively as Fermionic matter?
    When I was young I have fantasized that the Universe would be very dull if everything can be classified as “black or white”. This kind of large scale collective behavior sounds more intriguing to me. Thanks.

    Charles Hui

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