In physics we do things and afterwards worry about whether they worked
Congratulations to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov who received today’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on graphene.
Graphene, as some of you will no doubt know, has been a “hot” research topic since 2004 with an astonishing number of potential applications; however, how much of this potential is actually realized is to be seen, as Joerg Heber argues in his post Great, the physics Nobel prize for graphene! Now don’t overhype it… .
For those wishing to find out more, I recommend the post on Backreaction which contains some excellent links.
Finally, I would also like to congratulate the exceptionally well deserved yesterday’s Nobel Prize in Medicine laureate, Robert Edwards.
According to Wikipedia, quantum metrology is the study of making high-resolution and highly sensitive measurements of physical parameters using quantum theory to describe the physical systems, in particular exploiting quantum entanglement.
If you are interested, you might want to take a look at this. It is a paper entitled Ensemble based quantum metrology. Quoting the abstract:
We consider measurement of magnetic field strength using an ensemble of spins, and we identify a third essential resource: the initial system polarisation, i.e. the low entropy of the original state. We find that performance depends crucially on the form of decoherence present; for a plausible dephasing model, we describe a quantum strategy which can indeed beat the standard quantum limit.
Feynman’s path integral formulation is important in quantum physics. Some people learn it when they come to do Quantum field theory where it plays a central role. However, there is a book that introduces a sophisticated physics student with reasonable background to path integral in non-relativistic quantum mechanics, “Quantum mechanics and path integrals”, by Feynman and Hibbs.
It is highly recommended. It is a book full of deep and extraordinary insights, as one expects from Feynman. It is not a standalone textbook in QM – it should be used in conjunction with a conventional text.
What I love the most about this book is how quickly the laws of physics are laid out – by the end of chapter 2 they are in place, and the rest of the book is applications. It is an approach similar to the one he adopts in Vol. 2 of Feynman Lectures on Physics where Maxwell’s equations are laid before you in their finished form in the first chapter and the rest of the book is devoted to understanding those equations.
The original edition, 1967, was riddled with errors. The new one is amended and available on Amazon at the end of September this year, and being a Dover costs an agreeable £15. Should you happen to come across the first edition, Daniel Styer’s errata is an absolute must. It is available here.