Optics

Category archives for Optics

I have a small collection of recent research papers that I’d like to write up open in various browser tabs and suchlike, but many of these would benefit from having some relatively clear and compact explanations of the underlying techniques. And while I can either dig up some old posts, or Google somebody else’s, it’s…

The other day, I made a suggestion to one of my research students of an experiment to try. When I checked back a day later, she told me it hadn’t worked, and I immediately realized that what I had told her to do was very stupid. As penance, then, I’ll explain the underlying physics, which…

I spend a lot of time promoting Rhett Allain’s Dot Physics blog, enough that some people probably wonder if I get a cut of his royalties (I don’t). I’m going to take issue with his latest, though, because he’s decided to revive his quixotic campaign against photons, or at least teaching about photons early in…

What Is Squeezing?

In the Physics Blogging Request Thread the other day, I got a comment so good I could’ve planted it myself, from Rachel who asks: It’s a term I see used a lot but don’t really know what it means – what is a “squeezed state”? What does “squeezing” mean? (in a QM context of course…)…

I’m always a little ambivalent about writing up papers that have also been written up in Physics: on the one hand, they make a free PDF of the paper available, which allows me to reproduce figures from the paper in my post, since I’m not breaking a paywall to do it. Which makes it much…

Hey, dude? Yeah, what’s up? I’m not normally the one who initiates this, but I was wondering: When you were at DAMOP last week, did you see any really neat physics? Oh, sure, tons of stuff. It was a little thinner than some past meetings– a lot of the Usual Suspects didn’t make the trip–…

Last week’s post talked about the general idea of negative temperature, with reference to this much-talked-about Science paper (which also comes in a free arxiv version from which the figures used here are taken). I didn’t go into the details of how they made a negative temperature gas, though, and as it’s both very clever…

In which I unpack a cryptic paper title and explain how quantum superposition lets you use light to keep things from interacting with light. ————- I joined AAAS a couple of years ago to get a break on the registration fee for their meeting, and I’ve kept up the membership mostly because I like having…

Do the New Paper Dance

OK, it’s a paper I mentioned here before, when it went up on the arxiv, but the “Comments on Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics” article I wrote this summer is up on the Physica Scripta web site now, and for the next not-quite-thirty days it’s free to read and download: Searching for new physics through…

It’s a banner day for science explainer things I wrote, as a piece I wrote has just gone live at Tor.com: Why Gandalf Is Wrong Even as a kid, reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings at the golden age of twelve or so, Gandalf’s response to Saruman never sat well with…