Physics Blogging Round-Up: April

It’s the first week of May, which means we’re due to see flowers watered by all this damn rain soon, and also a recap of the various posts I wrote for Forbes during April:

Why Are There Too Many Papers In Theoretical Physics?: A look at the origins of “ambulance chasing” in high-energy theory, where dozens of people jump on the slightest hint of a new effect.

A Little Luck Is Essential For Success In Science: Some historical examples of physicists who succeeded thanks to a lucky break of one sort or another.

What Sorts Of Problems Are Quantum Computers Good For? Prompted by news of a “quantum traveling salesman” algorithm, a look at the general shape of problems where quantum computing offers a big speed-up over the best classical approaches.

Why Do We Teach ‘Physics For Poets’ But Not ‘Poetry For Physicists’?: Some thoughts about why it is that we have students take courses in other disciplines, and how reform efforts that work too hard to appeal to non-majors might undermine the whole point of liberal education.

What Does It Mean For ‘Science’ To Rise And Fall?: Some thoughts about cycles in the history of science as applied to particular definitions of “Science.”

A decent mix of stuff this month; some long-running obsessions popping up again, some more topical stuff. Two of these are actually very long and well-disguised subtweets, in that they spun out of thinking about kerfuffles in social media that it wouldn’t be productive to write about directly.

You may have noticed a pattern to these recaps, in that there are always five posts; that’s because my contract with Forbes pays me more if I do at least five posts in a month, so I try to hit that. It also works reasonably well in terms of workflow, because that’s just over one post per week, and that’s a decent rate for me in terms of producing fairly consistent quality without cutting too much into my other activities. I may do a navel-gazing post later about how my blogging practices have evolved over time, though…

Anyway, another month, another chunk of blogging. There was a bit of a dry spell in there in terms of material I could usefully write about, and now in keeping with tradition I find myself with an oversupply of blog-worthy material and an undersupply of time in which to write about it. Such is the glamorous life, etc.