Tag Archives: Physics

The emerging trends of Nobel Prizes in science

This article reviews the Nobel history since inception which shows that the Prizes in science conferred on individuals in the first 50 years are shifting to the Prizes being shared. It is,in part, because the science has become more complex, collaborative, expansive, and expensive. With the critical need for teamwork to tackle Big Science, we recommend that the policy of “no more than three” sharing the Prize be loosened on case by case basis and the nomination be made open for scientific organisations. We also suggest concrete steps for improving the gender gap among the Nobel Laureates. This necessitates proactive nominations of Nobel worthy work done by women and making structural changes in Nobel committees toward better gender ratio. Finally, our analysis shows that the U.S. is emerging as a Nobel Super Power leading to a divide not only with European countries but the world at large. Read more [...]

The Blame Game

Science fiction authors are a motley crew, which includes a small number of professional scientists but also many others with no particular background in science or technology. EuroScientist published a short story called The Blame Game by Ian McKinley, who is a scientist involved in the rather esoteric area of radioactive waste management. In this story, a number of experts caught up in the chaos resulting from sudden environmental collapse argue about the root cause. The bottom line is that that there are so many interacting factors that it’s impossible to disentangle them. McKinley chose fiction as a means to talk to non-specialists about radioactive waste. He sets out to debunks the myths around the topic which stem from films, novels and, increasingly, comics, manga and anime, to get readers to ask themselves key questions about the topic. Read more [...]

Enough with counter-intuitive cryptic physics theories

Science progresses through discussions and debates. Sometimes accepted notions are too well-established to be open to questioning. In this personal view, Helmut Tributsch, emeritus professor of physical chemistry, formerly at the Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany, challenges the notion that physics theories, such as quantum scale phenomena, obey counter-intuitive laws. Instead, he claims that introducing a definite and irreversible direction for the passing of time, would make our theoretical interpretation of physical phenomena more logical and resolve many unsolved questions pertaining to our understanding of the world surround us and the universe. Read more [...]

Saul Perlmutter: critical thinking for all

2011 Physics Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter is on mission to equip future generations with critical thinking, an approach taken from the scientific toolbox, that can be useful within and outside science, he believes. In this podcast interview with EuroScientist, Perlmutter shares his views on how this can be done. Read more [...]

Is astrophysics ready to draw a lesson from Thomas Kuhn?

Strong debates arise as scientific certainty is being questioned. Is the theory on the standard solar system undergoing changes as convergent possibilities are being questioned. Now, Pierre-Marie Robitaille, a chemist and professor of radiology from the University of Ohio, claims that the sun is not gaseous but may consist of liquid metallic hydrogen – a paradigm-shattering attack on the standard solar model that has been established for almost a century now.The problem is that evaluating Robitaille’s arguments requires expertise in very different fields – thermodynamics, astrophysics, for the sun, and condensed matter physics, for the liquid metallic hydrogen. Who has such expertise? Read more [...]

How particle physics is eroding the scientific method

Last years's results of the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) brought the director general of the European Particle Physics Laboratory, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, to comment that “a Higgs boson” had been discovered. He nuanced his statement by saying it was “not necessarily the standard model Higgs boson”. One might wonder whether such a “non-standard Higgs” is a true triumph of the so-called standard model, or has a “non-standard” standard model still to be developed to make use of such a triumph? Read more [...]

Dark matter – Missing you already

It's a moot point that perhaps only one of Einstein's papers went through the modern scientific peer review process and I often wonder whether an email received from him today suggesting that he's overturned Newton's work with talk of warped space-time and wormholes wouldn't simply fail at the first or second step of my "Fraudulent Invention Debunkifier" flowchart mentioned around this time last year on the Pivot Points column. Read more [...]

Europe sets the tone for long-term nuclear waste management strategies

Nuclear energy is at the forefront of many scientific minds these days. The Fukushima crisis shined a spotlight on possible dangers associated with the locations of nuclear plants, as well as the logistical and human health nightmares that can occur with meltdowns. But these aren’t the only concerns about nuclear power on which scientists are focusing. Nuclear waste management is also actively perplexing engineers, policy-leaders, and decision-makers, as the concern over how to best dispose of High Level Waste (HLW) continues to grow. Read more [...]