8/06/2007

disclaimer: Ψ*Ψ is not a physicist.

There, I've said it. I am, however, surrounded by physicists and engineers this summer. They are making me remember everything I used to like about physics.[1] You can blame this on their influence.

ArXiv has something interesting on left-handed metamaterials and the possibility of quantum levitation. It isn't chemistry (yet?), but it's kinda cool. Some background is available here. I'll refrain from commenting much because 1) it's all theory and 2) it's physics.

[1] I was an astronomy & particle physics nerd when I was a kid. Classical physics in college killed all my interest in the subject for a while, until I found myself curious about the physics behind the teeny little devices I was working with. A tendency to drop numbers, flip signs and make other careless errors when confronted with endless equations means I am probably better off as a chemist and not a physicist, but that doesn't mean I'm not curious.

7 comments:

milkshake said...

Dropping a number or switching a sign in a long expression can (at most) produce derisive grins in the audience. Dropping a bromine bottle or switching the reactant addition order may end up in a hospital burn unit.

A valid reason to do chemistry and material science is that there is plenty of opportunities left for top experimental work. (This is getting increasingly difficult in high energy physics. The lucky few spend 15 years building a mamoth particle detector or a satelite, hoping that some new physics will show up in the data and that the funding won't get cancelled)

mevans said...

I think UK's physics department could've kept Einstein from doing physics.

As for me, I spent too much time staring at Ellis's mustache...

sujit said...

I particularly like the pictures from The Incredibles on that website you link to. Brilliant.

Excimer said...

As I start to veer more and more towards the materials aspect of my research, I learn to appreciate the materials/soft matter sections of the arXiv. There are lots of delicious gems in there if you look, albeit for a more physics-oriented audience. I'd like to see a similar space for other branches of chemistry. I think the ACS is the biggest hurdle to that, though- old and settled in its ways as it is.

Uncle Al said...

http://arXiv.org/abs/hep-th/0104127
Casimir, hollow spherical shell radius R
Phys. Rev. E 63 1101-1112 (2001)
Refutation of repulsive Casimir
http://www.arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0503158
Refutation of zero-point background

Casimir effect, Lamb shift, Rabi vacuum oscillation, electron anomalous g-factor... Is theory real world or heuristic?

Chemistry isn't clean, either - norbornyl cation debate between HC Brown and George Olah - fluxional or delocalized? Nothing empirically concrete resists theorists' liquefaction.

Do enantiomers vacuum free fall identically? General Relativity (postulated) and string theory (BRST invariance) say "yes." Affine, teleparallel, and noncommutative gravitation theories ay "no" without contradiction. A chemist says "look," but what do we know?

Ashutosh said...

"Chemistry is not physics with less rigor. In chemistry there are discoverable guiding principles for systems which are too complex for a "first principles" approach. The nature of chemistry is very difficult to explain to most physicists, in my experience!"- Bill Lipscomb
So rest assured and let them pursue the elusive Higg, while with pentacene you strike it big.

thx1138 said...

One of the authors of this theory paper floated an earlier proposal for a cloaking device. This was realized to some degree by a team at Duke several months later.