Thursday, October 16, 2014

Some interesting links: Books and news

Here are some things that I wanted to share with my readership:
  • My friend Arjendu Pattanayak (founder of a very good blog) pointed out to me this book by Kittel.  It's really nice - it is very concise and tightly written without being incomplete, and it's cheap.
  • On a lighter note, Science...For Her! is a book by a friend of a friend.  The introductory video is here.  Attention Physics Today:  I volunteer to review this book when it comes out.  Seriously, I'd be happy to do it, and I think it would be great for some amount of wry humor to make its way into the pages of PT.  
  • Similarly, Randall Munroe's book What If? is magnificent.   Attention Physics Today:  I volunteer to review this one, also.  If you don't review this book, you are entirely humorless.
  • The MIT Technology Review has a fun article in it about topological quantum computing with non-Abelian anyons.  The reason it's fun is that it talks about the people involved (including my postdoctoral mentor) and manages to avoid becoming overly technical. 
  • A few people have pointed out to me that Lockheed Martin has made a rather strong press statement regarding a fusion reactor scheme being developed by Skunk Works (the folks who brought us the SR-71 and the F-117, among other things).   This is potentially interesting, but it's really hard to tell whether this is all vaporware so far.  It looks like a magnetic mirror configuration, something that has been explored extensively over the last few decades, and they don't provide enough technical discussion to figure out what they're doing that's different.  Still, there seem to be many takers trying alternatives to tokomaks (Washington, and what Nature termed "fusion upstarts"), and it's surely worth a shot.  
  • I listened in on a conference call today from Benefunder.  These people are trying to come up with an alternative philanthropic approach to research funding that isn't crowdsourcing.  Any commenters already sign up with them?

9 comments:

Arjendu Pattanayak said...

Thanks, Doug! I should confess that I was talking about 'Kittel and Kroemer' (undergrad text) rather than 'Kittel' (definitely a grad text and indeed an excellent book) in case you get the wrong idea about how far I was planning on stretching my poor juniors and seniors :-).

Zach said...

I see at the Lockheed site that energy from fusion is 3-4 times more powerful than energy from fission. Nobody tell the E-Cat people!

Anonymous said...

Your Fusion Upstarts link currently generates a page not found screen from nature.

Douglas Natelson said...

Anon, are you sure? It works for me, and it worked last night from my home machine (no institutional subscription). You could also try this link.

Anonymous said...

Strange, both are working now. Maybe nature was having a senior moment with it's indexing. Thanks anyway, really good article.

Anonymous said...

That Science for Her looks awful! Not funny at all, I'm sorry to say.

Arjendu Pattanayak said...

Oh wait, Kittel and Kroemer on blog, Kittel on Facebook, that's right, I did bring it up for Sarah.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:03:
I fully agree; I was watching with embarrassment.
I know self-decrepitating humor can be very funny, but I felt the stereotype that was presented in that movie was too far for me.
Not funny, and completely missing its goal.

But then again, I'm a male scientist. Maybe that's my problem...

Unknown said...

Re: Science for Her. I admit I bought the book based on the recommendatation and read it.

I regret it.