Monday, September 29, 2008

The College Issue - The Thinker -

Hat tip to my colleague and avid NYT reader Dick Greenwood, who sent me this link -
The College Issue - The Thinker -

It is a great article about a professor at Auburn, Kelly Jolly, who seems to have single-handedly rebuilt the philosophy department there. I particularly like the following quote:

“My view is that you really fall into a trap when you start allowing what you believe about your students to dictate how you teach your discipline,” he answered. “Too often these days we end up setting up our courses in light of what we believe about our students and we end up not teaching them. At best, we end up housebreaking them.”

Would that we all learned this lesson

Friday, September 12, 2008

Creationism Vs. Evolution: In-Depth Reports

Scientific American has a terrific series of articles on evolution which should prove useful to those of us who are not biologists but find ourselves debating the subject:

Creationism Vs. Evolution: In-Depth Reports

In particular, look at "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obligitory Post on LHC First Beam

So, they got some protons go to both ways around the LHC ring. Only 14 years in the making, at the cost of canceling of the SSC and ending U.S. leadership in particle physics. That plus a little over $4 billion, with about $500 million coming from the U.S. Am I bitter? Do I regret having to fly to Geneva to work on an experiment, instead driving four hours west to take shifts? What do you think?

Here is an event display from our experiment, ATLAS, showing beam going through the detector:

Nature has a series of excellent news stories on the LHC :
LHC by the numbers : Nature News
Physicists flock to Geneva : Nature News
Particle physics: The race to break the standard model : Nature News

the last of which talks about other ways that are being used to probe the limits of the Standard Model, incudling the ongoing experiments at the Tevatron, neutrino experiments, and cosmological tests. (Gotta love the superhero pics that go along with the article!)

Black hole or stranglet production won't start until collisions begin, probably around the time of the presidential election. Rapture ready fundamentalists can make of that what they will.

Lastly, the great web comic xkcd: