A child on a swing can keep the swing in motion by repeatedly standing up and squatting down. This movement changes the frequency of the swings and amplifies them. This simple concept—known as parametric amplification—finds use also in modern quantum physics.
The beginning of the year was filled with great physics. Lots of interesting theory has been done, including by me (but more details on that later). But today I want to talk about three experiments that push our abilities to control matter using light into new regimes. In two of them, scientists were able to observe quantum effects in the motion of levitated objects for the first time. In the third one, the authors used their incredible control of single atoms to create a very thin and light mirror.
Last week, I did last edits to my dissertation draft and got it printed, this week, I handed it in. All I have to do in the two months I have left at my current university is prepare for my defence. It's a good time to look back at the four years I spent here.… Continue reading What I learned by writing a dissertation
Originally, I decided to live tweet my talk only to illustrate how identifying the key messages of the talk can work (and to prove to myself that I can do it). But now I think it wasn't a bad idea and might try it again in the future.
How many talks have you attended in the last year? And how many of those did you enjoy? Even when the topic itself is interesting, one often leaves disappointed. Some speakers spend too much time on technical details and do not have time to discuss the main results; others are not well prepared and keep… Continue reading Scientific presentations and the art of storytelling
Building a new habit is hard. I saw that with blogging twice already. I started and stopped and started and stopped. Now, I am starting a third time and hoping that my blogging routine will stick. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Does that mean I'm insane? Not at all.… Continue reading Changes
Academic conferences are usually exhausting. You spend the whole day (or, more often, several days) closed in a lecture room, often without direct sunlight or fresh air, and try to absorb as much information as you can from (sometimes poorly prepared) talks of your fellow researchers. At some events, speakers change as often as every 15… Continue reading Benefits and challenges of tweeting a conference
If you find quantum physics hard to understand (or accept), rest assured that you are not alone. Even many physicists (including Albert Einstein, one of its founding fathers) refused to acknowledge that our world can behave so strangely. That atoms or electrons can be at two places at once or that it does not always… Continue reading Is the Moon in the sky when you’re not looking?
It has been a year since I started blogging. It did not go quite as well as I hoped it would but also not as badly as I was afraid it might. I started full of determination with a clear plan, wrote posts… and then stopped. It took me seven months to start again and… Continue reading What I learned (and didn’t) from a year of blogging
It is beginning. Earlier this week, I downloaded Scrivener and yesterday, I started outlining my dissertation. I still have a lot of time to finish -- I am currently planning to submit early next year and defend in spring, though that might change -- but I think it is a good idea to start now.… Continue reading The end is nigh. Well, not really