Precision Measurement

Category archives for Precision Measurement

DAMOP Day 2

One of the odd things about going to conferences is the unpredictable difference between talks and papers. Sometimes, when you go to a talk, you just get an exact repetition of what’s in the paper; other times, you get a new angle on it, or some different visual representations that make something that previously seemed…

That’s the title of my talk this morning at DAMOP, where I attempt the slightly insane feat of summarizing a meeting with over 1000 presentations in a single 30-minute talk. This will necessarily involve talking a little bit like the person reading the legal notices at the end of a car commercial, and a few…

I have to admit, I’m writing this one up partly because it lets me use the title reference. It’s a cool little paper, though, demonstrating the lengths that physicists will go to in pursuit of precision measurements. I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see that dorky post title, and ask what this is about.…

The big physics story of the week is undoubtedly the new limit on the electric dipole moment (EDM) of the electron from Ed Hinds’s group at Imperial College in the UK. As this is something I wrote a long article on for Physics World, I’m pretty psyched to see this getting lots of media attention,…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m schedule to teach a class on “A Brief History of Timekeeping” next winter term as part of the Scholars Research Seminar program. Even though I have a hundred other things to do, I continue to think about this a lot. One of the goals of the course is to introduce…

NASA held a big press conference yesterday to announce that the Gravity Probe B experiment had confirmed a prediction of General Relativity that spacetime near Earth should be “twisted” by the Earth’s rotation. A lot of the coverage has focused on the troubled history of the mission (as did the press conference, apparently), but scientifically…

I’ve got three months to decide. I’ll be giving an invited talk at the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) with this title, with a goal of introducing the field to students and physicists from other fields: In recent years, DAMOP has expanded to the point where the meeting can be quite daunting…

BEC: What Is It Good For?

Another response copied/adapted from the Physics Stack Exchange. The question was: What are the main practical applications that a Bose-Einstein condensate can have? Bose Einstein Condensation, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is a phenomenon where a gas of particles with the right spin properties cooled to a very low temeprature will suddenly “condense”…

Poll: Top Physics Story of 2010?

It’s the last week of the (calendar) year, which means it’s a good time to recap the previous twelve months worth of scientific news. Typically, publications like Physics World will publish a list of top ten physics stories of 2010, but we’re all Web 2.0 these days, so it seems more appropriate to put this…

Definitions and Standards

Somebody asked a question at the Physics Stack Exchange site about the speed of light and the definition of the meter that touches on an issue I think is interesting enough to expand on a little here. The questioner notes that the speed of light is defined to be 299,792,458 m/s and the meter is…