Physics Blogging Request Thread

Having said that I want to focus more on positive stuff, and talking up cool things in science, I'm going to make an effort to do more write-ups of research papers. I've got a few ideas along those lines, and of course I get regular emails from journals and press offices bringing other papers to my attention. But I don't want to neglect my audience, here...

So, I'll throw this open as a place to request discussions of particular topics or papers. If there's some topic in physics that you'd like me to write up an explanation of, or a paper or preprint that you'd like me to do the detailed Q&A treatment on, leave a comment letting me know what it is.


  • I'm not promising to explain or write up every topic or paper suggested here. There are some things that are a bit too far outside my areas of expertise for me to say anything sensible about. Atomic, molecular, and optical physics, I'm comfortable with; experimental work in other low-energy fields I can mostly deal with; high-energy experiment gets tricky; low-energy theory is a stretch; and high-energy theory is almost certainly beyond me.
  • That said, I will give serious consideration to stuff outside the cold-atom physics that's my home base in science. Part of the idea here is to stretch a little and write about things I wouldn't necessarily consider writing about. Within reason.
  • For a variety of reasons, I would be happier with papers available in some sort of open-access format. That doesn't have to mean OA journals-- Science or Nature papers with preprints on the arxiv or some similar repository would be just fine. It's not a complete deal-breaker, but it's much easier to write up papers when I know people can get to it without shelling out big bucks.
  • The comment system here may hold comments containing links for moderation. I will check them and publish them as soon as I can, but I'm pretty busy at the moment, so it might take a little while. Don't panic.

So, have at it. What topics or papers should I write up for the blog?

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I have been pulling for this for a while (since the 2011 Nobel prize): Delayed-choice quantum eraser. This is such a peculiar, surprising, deep, and not-well-explained-elsewhere-on-the-internet-at-a-decently-popular-level result. You could in principle do two on this topic: one on un-delayed choice, and one on delayed-choice, because there a bunch of weird quantum mechanical things going on even in the un-delayed choice eraser, and it's probably better to draw those weirdnesses apart.

By Evan Berkowitz (not verified) on 02 Jul 2013 #permalink

I don't have a particular topic in mind, but more "this is why AMO is cool" type things would be nice. We tend to get a bunch of press from the LHC and the like ("tetraquarks!"), but AMO physics topics tend to slip by unnoticed.

Basically, anything where you could go up to a person on the street and say "Hey, did you know X's Y when you Z them?" (or similar short summary) and have them come back with "No, I didn't. That's kinda neat."


How about quantum erasers? I've never paid much attention to them, but occasionally somebody asks how they differ from classical polarization, and I think about it, and then I punt.

Have you followed any of the "computational effort to measure entanglement" speculation? Sounds like there is some interesting stuff on how entanglement may be unmeasurable in interesting cases - has relevance to various quantum gravity issues. Not seen a good summary and would like to see on from an AMO quantum side, as opposed to particle theory.

By Steinn Sigurðsson (not verified) on 03 Jul 2013 #permalink

I have a question. 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...)

Chad Orzel wrote (July 2, 2013):
> If there’s some topic in physics that you’d like me to write up an explanation of [...]

Yes: referring (again) to terminology of… I'd (still) like to read an explanation of how to determine whether a given clock "keeps track of the time experienced along its worldline" accurately (or within which accuracy).

By Frank Wappler (not verified) on 04 Jul 2013 #permalink

Would you consider something about Renninger-style negative measurements (that show particle is *not* at a specific location and therefore wavefunction seems to be "redistributed" elsewhere instead of collapsed at specific place.)

By Neil Bates (not verified) on 08 Jul 2013 #permalink

Not directly tied to an article, but I'd like to hear how you prefer to understand QM: Copenhagen Interpretation, Many Worlds or something else entirely.

Sorry, if you've answered this already. I've been away for a bit.