When Antarctica Just Isn't Cold Enough: South Pole Telescope (SPT) Fridge Cycle

As you might have heard on my website, my newsletter, my Twitter, or, if we’re colleagues at Caltech, at work, I am currently working on the South Pole Telescope (SPT) onsite at the South Pole in Antarctica for January-November 2016 (I am employed by the University of Chicago). I have taken a sabbatical from my NSF Astronomy Read More …

Finding earth like planets from the comfort of our own planet

Gravitational lensing results from the fact that General Relativity describes our universe: mass bends light and can function in effect like a lens, bending light in ways that can be used to infer the mass distribution itself. Gravitational microlensing is due to this same effect, but refers to the detection of objects which are of Read More …

The Game of Life-simple rules, complex behavior

Here’s a video introduction to the Game of Life Historically, one of the pioneers of computer science John von Neumann was interested in finding machines which could reproduce themselves. He developed an abstraction allowing him to mathematically model his work on a computational grid. A mathematician John Conway took up and simplified his work publishing Read More …

Cold dark matter heats up – a review of a review

This is a review of the recent paper, to be published in Nature, by Andrew Potzen and Fabio Governato Cold dark matter heats up. The paper is itself a review, containing information published in previous studies. I gave a presentation about it at our weekly Astrophysics journal club. The figure in the header is M82, Read More …

Road To Reality–Part I

This past year I read Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

The tome is definitely the read for anyone interested in our current understanding of reality from the ground up. It doesn’t shy away from mathematics like most popular science accounts. Rather, as mathematics is the gasoline to travel the Road, it fuels the reader up along the journey. Yet the mathematics quickly progresses from exploring what a number exactly is to a graduate level textbook equivalent and this whirlwind journey is not to be taken lightly. Rather than a Road, I actually consider The Road to Reality to be more of a Roadmap indicating a path to reality without fully providing the reader with the tools to travel it. It worked for me–a Physics PhD student–as most of the book was putting familiar things in a grander context. However, for those not on the Road as a career, supplemental work is probably needed to get the most out of the book. In the that spirit I am presenting a condensed Roadmap in chunks of 6 chapters (there are a whopping 34 chapters covering 1123 pages) with additional links to online courses (primarily sourced from the wonderful Khan academy, Coursera, and MIT OCW).

Without further ado, I present the Roadmap I of VI of Chapters 1-6 of The Road to Reality: Read More …