Carbonite: discovered (or something like it)

When I was in 7-8 grade I saw (as anyone else) the StarWars episodes. After this experience, I still had lots of unanswered questions. For example, what is carbonite – the black material they used to pack Han Solo in Episode 5? Hmmm… I had that question stuck in my head for a while. Maybe I don’t…


Poincare's conjecture proof completed?

A few years ago, I was surprised to see an announcement in Mathworld stating (again) that the Poincare conjecture has been proved. “This time for real” they said. Being skeptical, I waited for more independent confirmation of this result… which never came. The author of the proof was a respected professor (Dr. Grigori Perelman).   Today,…


Wikipedia is getting pretty good lately

Maybe I am biased, but I am pleasantly surprised by Wikipedia recently. There is a lot of material coming, at least on the subjects that interest me (I don’t know, reading about coffee, tea, scientology, estimation theory, neural networks, anything). An interesting side effect is that I don’t buy books anymore on subjects I can read…


First artificial black hole created?

As an unexpected side effect of an experiment, Horatiu Nastase (of Brown University of Providence, Rhode Island), found something which looks like a black hole: When the gold nuclei smash into each other they are broken down into particles called quarks and gluons. These form a ball of plasma about 300 times hotter than the…


More news on holographic storage

Forget the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD battle. Think H-ROM. At CES, InPhase gave more hints on this technology in collaboration with Hitachi Maxell Ltd: InPhase will be the first company to deliver a holographic product for professional archive applications in late 2006. The media for this product will be offered through its strategic partner Hitachi Maxell Ltd. The…


Bloom filters and everything else

If, by some strange and unexplained phenomenon, all blogs on will dissapear, except one, then my preference would be for  Very interesting stuff. I am already waiting for the next post… 🙂


Short gamma-ray burst mystery is solved

Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are probably the most violent events that happen today in universe. In a few seconds or less, a gamma-ray burst releases an enormous quantity of energy (1044 – 1046 J), which is comparable to burning up the entire mass-energy of the sun in a few tens of seconds, or comparable to the energy emitted…


Thoughts on chirality

In a recent post that I’ve missed until now, Eric Lippert describes a simple mental experiment: why a mirror reverses left and right, but not top and bottom. This weird property (called chirality) has a fascinating history, and deep implications everywhere: in physics, biology, chemistry, etc. (Chirality is still an interesting research domain today. For…


Hanford Site: now open for public tours

I am not sure how I became fascinated about nuclear engineering in the last months. But, anyway, in the Washington state we have a unique nuclear reservation – the Hanford area, where the first nuclear reactors were put in operation more than fifty years ago. This is the place where Edward Teller and Enrico Fermi noted for the first…


Nuclear fusion to be probed in France?

ITER is one the largest physics experiments ever attempted. In short, it should be the first research fusion reactor that actually will succeed to produce power. ITER attempts to operate in the 500 MW (thermal) range, which is around the output of a small nuclear reactor.  If you look at the design or operating parameters, everything…