Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I missed, plus book recommendations

I'm finally back from travel, just in time to immerse myself in prep for the upcoming semester. It's hard to believe that classes start in 10 days.

While I was away from blogging, it looks like I missed some fun posts. For example, the Japanese group that made the first major discovery of the iron pnictide superconductors has found that sake (or something in sake) boosts superconductivity in a related compound.  Chad Orzel did a pretty nice job posting about superconductivity as well, though I might do a different post later about this.  He also had a post prompted by a reader demanding to know why all statistical physics courses are lame.  (The answer is, of course, that the reader had never taking stat mech from me :-).  Ahem.  Perhaps not.)  Along related lines, Charles Day at Physics Today has started a blog, which I will add to the blogroll at right.  Glad to see that he leaps into discussing why he likes condensed matter physics.  I also missed the excitement about the proposed proof that P != NP.  The discussion online about the would-be proof is very impressive - it's always nice to see Fields medalists blogging, especially when they write as well as Terence Tao. 

One final remark for now.  I strongly recommend reading The Alchemy of Air and The Demon Under the Microscope.  These are terrific, interesting books, and they really do a great job of making science (in this case chemistry) as exciting as any novel.  Many thanks to Paul Chirik for recommending them to me.

1 comment:

Brad Holden said...

It would be a heck of trick if you taught my stat mech class, what with being the same age and everything.