jump to navigation

Misconduct in Physics: Further reading May 12, 2009

Posted by Sarah in politics, science.
Tags: , , ,
3 comments

physicsworld

I found the May copy of Physics World in my inbox today, featuring a long cover story on Jan Hendrik Schön, the perpetrator of one of the biggest physics fraud scandals of the last decades. For years, Schön was considered to be one of the brightest minds of his time and something of a publishing monster. In 2002 his fame came tumbling down when much of his breakthrough work was found to be, well, fake. Read the full story here.

How nice of Physics World to publish this story to accompany my recent posts!

(I kid, I kid)

Advertisements

Ethics in Research: Share your views April 15, 2009

Posted by Sarah in politics, science.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
3 comments

In the last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about ethics in physics and astronomy. While in astronomy we don’t have to navigate the perilous minefield of research on people or animals, proper scientific conduct is still considered to be an essential requirement for a career in astronomy. But what defines “proper scientific conduct”, or its counterpart, the dreaded “misconduct”, and who writes those definitions? Plagiarism is the one form of misconduct students are taught from undergraduate level to avoid at all cost. How far does the definition of plagiarism actually stretch, and why? And does that make sense? Moreover, what is the punishment, and who should it be administered by?While these issues are often presented in very black and white terms, once you dig below the surface they are really pretty murky. (more…)

Fundamental Physics work scoops the Nobel Prize October 7, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

The Royal Swedish Academy of Science has just awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics to three theoretical physicists working in the field of fundamental subatomic particle physics. Read their press release here. Prof. Yoichiro Nambu of the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago received half the prize “for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic particles”; the other half went jointly to Prof. Makoto Kobayashi of the KEK Laboratory and Prof. Toshihide Maskawa of the University of Kyoto, both in Japan, “for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature”. Congratulations to them and all their collaborators!

(more…)

Nobel Prize in Physics announced tomorrow! October 6, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
Tags: ,
add a comment

The winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics will be announced tomorrow from 11:45 am CET. You can follow the live webcast of the announcement here!

Any thoughts on who it might be?? Wired have some predictions here.

LHC: Going Round in Circles September 10, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Going round in circles has never been so exciting as today at CERN, where a beam of protons has made it round the entire accelerator (27 km) for the first time. Yay!

The particles were travelling at a snail’s pace of around 30 kph, which is barely even a fraction of the final energy of 14 TeV they will hopefully achieve in around a year’s time.

The media interest is really great, particularly as particle physics has never been the easiest subject to get people excited about. Many of the media streams are pretty overloaded so it’s been hard to follow what’s happened.

There is a Twitter feed for the First Beam event.

The Guardian are blogging the event here.

The BBC’s updates are appearing here.

The Volkskrant has blog from Geneva in Dutch, by Prof. Bentvelsen from the University of Amsterdam and Nikhef.