BLOG - Physics

Markus Pössel

Catching planets with a laser

At my first Lindau meeting, in 2010, I remember one particular bit of information that caught my attention. It was during the lecture by Theodor Hänsch – apparently there is no video in the mediatheque yet -, who was talking about his prize-winning "frequency combs". The principle is simple: Catch a laser pulse between two […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

The Size of the Proton Measured with Lasers

A little over a week ago at the Lindau conference Theordor Hanch hinted at new measurements of the size of the proton which may impact the fundamental theory of quantum electrodynamics. Hansch’s lecture was an overview of the history of lasers progressing from our realization of the wave/particle duality nature of light to new research […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

A Conversation with Gross on the Edge of Knowledge

Before I can get to the conversation with David Gross and the work he did to receive the Nobel Prize for I have to talk about quarks. Three or two quarks in concert together make up a class of particles known as hadrons which include protons and neutrons. Hence the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a collider of protons and […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

CERN, Dark Energy, and Dark Matter

When you throw together six distinguished physicists (David Gross, John Mather, Carlo Rubbia, George Smoot, Gerardus ’t Hooft, and Martinus Veltman) into debate on what CERN will teach us about the dark energy and dark matter you can’t guarantee the same kind harmony that these physicists strive for in their own theories. There was a majority agreement […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

The future of biomedicine is in neuroscience?

The impact of chemistry and physics to biomedicine apparently has its future in neuroscience according to Erwin Neher. The entire panel discussed various topics (you can read about some of the highlights here), but for me Neher dominated the conversation with his visions of the brain. Erwin Neher (who moved from physics to neuroscience during his […]

Ashutosh Jogalekar

Heisenberg and Dirac

Beatrice’s story about Heisenberg possibly inspiring the "Schunkelwalzer" dancing tradition at Lindau reminds me of an ancedote about Heisenberg and Paul Dirac. Both were two of the most accomplished scientists of the twentieth century who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics. But while Heisenberg loved song, dance and wine, Dirac was a very quiet man […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

The History of the Universe

John Mather is humble when describing his measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation despite the fact that Steven Hawking described this measurement as possibly the most important discovery humans have ever made. The cosmic microwave background radiation is the remnant glow of the Big Bang; it is the primary evidence.  Mather is careful to […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

Planes, Trains, and Einstein

I have spent an entire day traveling and toiling against the turning of the earth to get to Lindau. To pass the time on the plane over the Atlantic I read Albert Einstein’s short book Relativity (the subtitles for this English version are the special and general theory or a clear explanation that anyone can understand). […]

Ashutosh Jogalekar

Pigeon waste, cosmic melodies and noise in scientific communication

There it was, that darned noise again. Nobody could possibly be happy cleaning pigeon droppings. Yet Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were being forced to do it. As good scientists they simply could not avoid it, since they had to discount the role of this "white dielectric substance" in the noise that was plaguing their […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

An exceptional time in astrophysics

The confluence of great minds at Lindau is also a meeting of contrasting perspectives. Each scientist has his own specialty in which he is likely the world expert, but each scientist also tries to generalize his work to solve the biggest problems in the world. It seems to be true that scientific research is highly […]

Alexander Bastidas Fry

50 years of lasers

This year is the 50th anniversary of the first successful laser built by Theodore Maiman. The laser is a beautiful example of fundamental physics leading to profound effects on our daily lives. The laser will be discussed on the first day of the conference by Nicolaas Bloembergen, who himself received the the 1981 Nobel Prize for […]

Beatrice Lugger

Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics 2002, Interview 2008

Riccardo Giacconi chats in the interview during the 58th Nobel Laureates Meeting at Lindau about how his thoughts about X-rays sitting at the foot of the Matterhorn a long time ago. He reportes on the successes of the Hubble Telescope and the Very Large Telescope and more.