On simplification in popular science

Albert Einstein’s famous book, “Relativity” begins with a quote by Ludwig Boltzmann: “Elegance should be left to shoemakers and tailors.” Over the course of one’s study, nearly every physicist can attest to this. For a subject that is praised as the epitome of elegance, developing physics can be uncharacteristically ugly and raw. Not every equation is as beautiful as that pop star, E=mc^2, or Euler’s lesser known but similarly elegant e^{i\pi}+1=0. Like a lot of other things in life, the road to the final, elegant equation happens to be hard and turbulent. And one of the biggest components of such an elegant solution happens to be simplicity. Continue reading

On self-studying physics

All through my formal education in Physics I have seen a lot of people, including myself at one point, embarking on a mission to self-study physics. It is indeed a mission and a strenuous one at that. Physics is one of the fastest developing fields today, and because it is the oldest and has been the fastest developing field all through history, the amount of knowledge a student of physics has to learn to be able to justifiably comprehend the frontiers of research is greater than in any other field. This, on the one hand makes learning physics quite an enjoyment and accomplishment, and on the other it makes the task daunting and, almost certainly at some point down the road, discouraging. Continue reading

The physics behind Interstellar — Christopher Nolan’s space drama

As a man of physics, Interstellar is a film I would not miss for the world; if not for the physics, for the images — and director Chris Nolan’s images have always been powerful. Interstellar does not fall short on that. However, it helps for the layperson to learn a thing or two about physics before watching the film, which is why I wrote this article — and made sure there are no spoilers.

The film is really very small, but dressed as an operatic journey through space and time. The use of physics is interesting, almost exciting, and what holds the audience’s attention is (surprisingly) as much the science as the story of a parent-child relationship. Continue reading

On Physics and Hinduism

Image courtesy, Be good stewards of mother earth.
Image courtesy, Be good stewards of mother earth.

At the entrance to the Centre for European Nuclear Research (CERN) stands a 2 metre tall statue of the Hindu deity, Nataraja (see above). To the unaware, it looks like something out of place: something that does not belong in one of the world’s largest scientific research institutions. But it is only one instance of the compatibility between physics and Hinduism. Continue reading

Understanding the Higgs Boson in under 10 minutes

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This is not a scientific article and should not be treated as such. As a work of popular science, this aims to introduce the Higgs boson (AKA the God Particle as the media call it) to the common man with a limited scientific background.

As of the time of writing this article, no papers had been published by CERN describing their results/discovery of the Higgs boson and hence no statistics or other data have been provided.

It is worth noting that CERN conducted multiple experiments at the LHC and two experiments, namely ALICE and CMS both independently discovered the Higgs boson simultaneously, thus strengthening the credibility of physicists’ claims.

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On Physicists and the law: how society has misplaced its views of science and its community

While I have often said that the community of physicists works for the common gaining of knowledge and to derive infinite mental pleasure out of that, I have also asserted that little is done towards blindly implementing it—that is what engineers are for: the Engineering – this is where the semi-skilled workers realize the work of better minds… [The] Oompah-Loompahs of science, as Sheldon Cooper puts it.

But, fun apart, my argument has always been struck, perhaps even beheaded many a time in the past. And today, I learned the height of it all—although I was quite late in finding out. Continue reading