A quantum of science

In physics we do things and afterwards worry about whether they worked

Category Archives: Links

Carbon is this year’s theme: Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Congratulations to Richard F. Heck, Ei-iechi Negishi and Akira Suzuki who were awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “palladium catalysed cross couplings in organic synthesis”. It is a very well deserved prize: one of today’s articles mentioned that about 25% of all reactions in pharmaceutics uses the methods developed by the three professors, and with that in mind it is a surprise that they they did not receive the award earlier.

As has already been pointed out elsewhere, carbon seems to be the theme of this year’s Nobel Prizes, in science at least, given the graphene Physics Prize (see the post below) and today’s prize on carbon bonding. It is a testimony, I think, to the growing important of the emerging interdisciplinary field of Materials Science 🙂

For those interested in learning more about Heck, Negishi and Suzuki’s work, I would point to the Swedish Academy’s Scientific Background document for the prize (the link is directly to a reasonably-sized pdf file). If you are interested in theoretical approaches to the problem, I would suggest that you visit this article by Ross H. McKenzie who has found a study of the problem using DFT.

QuantumFIRE alpha

QuantumFIRE alpha is a research project that invites the public to donate computing power for scientific research in Quantum Foundations and Solid State Physics. The initiative comes from Cambridge University research groups I believe (though I may be wrong on this one!). It is easy to participate: you just download and run a free program on your computer – see here.

Needless to say, I encourage everyone to take part in this initiative, if you can. I certainly will.

Hilbert spaces from the mathematician’s perspective

Yesterday I came across these notes by Terence Tao on his blog for one of his Analysis courses at UCLA. They treat Hilbert spaces as part of mathematical analysis: a new perspective for those of us who first came across the topic while learning quantum mechanics. They’re embedded with exercises, and quite readable. Also, this is Tao, so they’re definitiely worth having a look at:


I’ve come across this piece of software by Luca Trevisan which makes it possible to convert LaTeX documents to put them up on wordpress painlessly, without going through the rigmarole of using JavaScript. It is available at http://lucatrevisan.wordpress.com/latex-to-wordpress/download/. It’ll make the more technical posts a lot easier to write, for sure.