Sunday, October 14, 2018

Metamaterial Stress Tensor

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Recorded: 5/26/2018 Released: 10/14/2018

Randy tells Jim about advances in the stress-momentum tensor of electrodynamics. This tensor can be integrated over the boundary of an object to describe the force on it from the magnetic field. It is closely related to the momentum carried in the electromagnetic field, and its proper formulation in materials has been the subject of debate for over a hundred years.
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Notes:

1. The papers we read for this program:


2. Other papers mentioned:

I found these papers useful for this program:

3. Books mentioned in this podcast:

  • J.D. Jackson's Classical Electromagnetism, discusses the Maxwell stress tensor twice: in a discussion about of conservation laws in macroscopic media (pp 239-40) and then in a discussion about forces in special relativity (pp 602-607). Page numbers from my copy of the 2nd edition.
  • Landau & Lifshitz' Electrodynamics of Continuous Media goes into more depth on how the stress tensor is derived. Beyond being one of my favorite books in grad school, the entire series is classic.
  • M. Schwartz' Principles of Electrodynamics (available from Dover, probably because of Schwartz' Nobel Prize, not because its great exposition (which it has)) uses the electromagnetic stress tensor repeatedly in different contexts and problems that gives you a good idea of what it actually means.
  • U. Leonhardt and T. Philbin's Geometry and Light: The Science of Invisbility is an excellent technical book of the use of the mathematics of general relativity in optics. This includes the optical analogue of black holes and the photonic Aharonov-Bohm effect.
4. Related Shows:

5. Please visit and comment on our subreddit, and if you can help us keep this going by contributing to our Patreon, we'd be grateful.

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Friday, September 21, 2018

The String Theory Landscape

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Recorded: 5/12/2018 Released: 9/21/2018

Jim and Randy explore the landscape of string theory, an idea put forward by Leonard Susskind about how to interpret the cornucopia of universes possible in string theory.

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Notes:

1. The papers we read for this program:
  • Susskind, L., "The Anthropic Landscape of String Theory" in Carr, Bernard (ed.), Universe or Multiverse? (Cambridge, 2009), 247-266. [arXiv]
  • Susskind, L., "Supersymmetry Breaking in the Anthropic Landscape" in Shifman, Vainshtein, and Wheater (eds.) From Fields to Strings: Circumnavigating Theoretical Physics (World Scientific, 2005). 1745-1749. [arXiv]
2. Books mentioned in this podcast:

3. Previous shows mentioned in this podcast:.



4. Related Shows:

5. Please visit and comment on our subreddit, and if you can help us keep this going by contributing to our Patreon, we'd be grateful.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

CPT Symmetry and Gravitation

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Recorded: 3/28/2018 Released: 8/10/2018

Jim and Randy discuss what happens when CPT symmetry is applied to gravitation. CPT symmetry -- what happens to a theory when you reverse the sign of the charge, the handedness of a particle, and the direction of time evolution all at the same time -- is a basic tenet of the standard model. Massimo Villata has applied this symmetry to gravitation and has derived consequences for the way in which antimatter particles interact with gravity and various cosmological conclusions that follow from that.

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Notes:

1. The papers we read for this program:
2. I found these papers in the footnotes to Alberto Vecchiato's Variational Approach to Gravity Field Theories.

3. Please visit and comment on our subreddit, and if you can help us keep this going by contributing to our Patreon, we'd be grateful.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Retrocausality

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Recorded: 3/3/2018 Released: 7/25/2018

Randy talks to Jim about retrocausality in quantum physics -- how does the future affect the past? In particular, they talk about the ideas of Huw Price and Ken Wharton on using temporal boundary conditions to constrain the wave function through its initial and final boundary conditions, effectively creating quantum harmonics in the time domain. They also discuss what this means in terms of the de Broglie-Bohm hypothesis, the multiple worlds interpretation, and Yakir Aharonov's interpretation in Quantum Paradoxes.

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Notes:

1. The papers we read for this program:
2. Books discussed in the program:


3. Huw Price also wrote a book about the philosophy of time called Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point that, according to the plane ticket I was using as a bookmark, I last read in 2003.

4. A popular book I recently read on the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation and endorsing non-locality is Jean Bricmont's Quantum Sense and Nonsense.

5. Please visit and comment on our subreddit, and if you can help us keep this going by contributing to our Patreon, we'd be grateful.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Tunneling Time

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(Retrocausality)
Recorded: 11/25/2017 Released: 7/6/2018

Jim and Randy discuss the tunneling time problem: just how long does quantum tunneling take? No definitive answer to this question exists, but people have been trying to answer it for at least eighty years -- with answers that span from instantaneous to subluminal. In this episode, we discuss several different ideas and how experiments at ETH-Zürich have helped clarify the issue.

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Notes:

1. The papers we read for this program:
2. The group responsible for the attoclock measurements at ETH-Zürich, including Landsman and Keller.

3. Please visit and comment on our subreddit, and if you can help us keep this going by contributing to our Patreon, we'd be grateful.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

The Parameterized Post-Newtonian Framework

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Recorded: 11/12/2017 Released: 6/8/2018

Randy and Jim discuss the Parameterized Post-Newtonian Framework, a generalized way to compare metric theories of gravity to experiment in a standardized way. In this episode we discuss several theories of gravity and how they hold up under the light of experimental data.

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A Guide to the Parameters


  • γ (gamma) - Coupling of matter to curvature, GR = 1 , Newton = 0
  • β (beta) - Linearity of superposition, GR = 1 - Superposition linear
  • ξ (xi) - Preferred location effects, GR = 0 - Spatially homogeneous
  • α1 (alpha) - Preferred frame effects, GR = 0 - Lorentz invariant
  • α2 (alpha) - Preferred frame effects, GR = 0 - Lorentz invariant
  • α3 (alpha) - Preferred frame effects, GR = 0 - Lorentz invariant
  • ζ1 (zeta) - Momentum changes, GR = 0 - Momentum conserved
  • ζ2 (zeta) - Momentum changes, GR = 0 - Momentum conserved
  • ζ3 (zeta) - Momentum changes, GR = 0 - Momentum conserved
  • ζ4 (zeta) - Momentum changes, GR = 0 - Momentum conserved


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Notes:

1. The paper we read for this program (only sections 3 and 4):
2. My review of Will's book. This paper serves as something of an update of it. A true update is scheduled to come in December 2018.

3. Related Episodes of Physics Frontiers:

4. If you have any information about good packages for numerical relativity for Randy, please leave them in the comments.

5. Please visit and comment on our subreddit, and if you can help us keep this going by contributing to our Patreon, we'd be grateful.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Consistent Histories Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

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Recorded: 10/29/2017 Released: 5/24/2018

Jim and Randy investigate the Consistent Histories interpretation of quantum mechanics. This highly logical interpretation was conceived of by Robert Griffiths and is based on bundling possible histories for a particle together and only using those histories that are consistent with the measurements we perform to winnow out the possible states of the particle. Although Griffiths calls this "Copenhagen done right," the interpretation is based on the idea the quantum particles have definite values for observables in the intervening space.

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Notes:

1. The papers we read for this program:

2. Griffith's book Consistent Quantum Theory, which we mention in the podcast because he continually refers to it in his papers.

3. My review of Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics by John Bell, which includes the paper in which he formulates Bell's Theorem -- the testable version of the EPR Paradox, which is based on the first tractable formulation of the paradox by David Bohm. I also recently reviewed a book on wave function realism, which seems to be a response to a response to Bell.

4. Please visit and comment on our subreddit, and if you can help us keep this going by contributing to our Patreon, we'd be grateful.

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