Steinn Sigurðsson

Professor of Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University, Science Editor at Astrophysical Journal. Icelandic. Herder of Cats.

The Lights Are Going Out…

When it is darkest, men see the stars. This afternoon I needed to check something urgently, and as is my habit in this day and age, I jumped to a website where I knew the information was available. A few seconds later, with some irritation I went to hit “refresh” as the request failed to…

educational tidbits

the venerable Chronicle of Higher Education had a few interesting tidbits in last week’s issue: How a College Took Assessment to Heart, Lebanon Valley College takes an accreditors warning to heart – the key issue being that the informal committee of “General Officers”, the Vice Presidents, with the college President, were making all decisions, and…

The google+ hangout on SETI searches for KII and KIII aliens using WISE is archived on Youtube: Enjoy

A google hangout this afternoon: “Today, September 18, 2:00 PM SETI Institute researchers Jill Tarter and Franck Marchis (host & moderator) will hangout with Jason Wright, professor of astronomy at Penn State, Matt Povich, professor of astronomy at Cal Poly Pomona and Freeman Dyson, theoretical physicist and mathematician at the Institute for Advance Study. These…

Black Holes: Live Firewalls

The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics is currently holding a “Rapid Response Workshop” on Black Holes: Complementarity, Fuzz, or Fire?, August 19-30. Organizers: Raphael Bousso (UCB), Samir Mathur (OSU), Rob Myers (PI), Joe Polchinski (KITP), Lenny Susskind (Stanford) The lunch talk today is Lenny Susskind “Inside Black Holes” That talk will be available on video,…

Cargo Cult Administration

Many physical scientists learned of the curious phenomena of the Cargo Cult from Feynman’s commencement address at Caltech, as reproduced in his book, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!”. In the address, Feynman cautions us against the conceptually similar notion of Cargo Cult Science, where people go through the motions of mimicking a scientific process, while…

Is the general audience “black board” talk at KITP today, giving an overview of the quantitative approches to morphogenesis program currently unverway. Symmetry breaking and mechanics. The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics runs parallel programs and currently there is a biophysics program New Quantitative Approaches to Morphogenesis concurrent with the astrophysics program on A Universe…

Lawrence Krauss just wrote an interesting letter: “Higgs Seesaw Mechanism as a Source for Dark Energy” – Krauss & Dent, PRL 2013 in it he argues for a see-saw mechanism in the Higgs sector which gives a natural scale for dark energy which is small, as observed. The key point is that the energy scale…

Final day of the “A Universe of Black Holes” workshop with a session: “Modeling Black Hole Accretion and Outflows” – all MHD sims today… Chris Reynolds (Univ. of Maryland) starts with – The temporal variability of model accretion disks Had to miss this. Go check it online, Chis gives fab talks. Julian Krolik (JHU) “The…

Linkedy Links XIV

More random goodness from the intertoobz including a special topical PSU section for my colleagues John McCarthy interview – wrote LISP – an old friend. Galactic Center Orbital Models – new animation from Ghez’ group. Humans of New York – fascinating photo blog h/t poic at CR Simons Foundation sponsored article on Complexity and Biology’s…