Random Updates

September 7, 2018
Now that everyone is settling back in to their school and work schedules, I thought it was time to give a few updates on my life and websites and whatever else comes to mind.

First off is a blatant money grab :)

For a few years I have been accepting donations of bitcoins or litecoins to help offset the costs of maintaining my various websites, and I appreciate the response that I have received. It is certainly not required and I do not expect people to donate. I will always keep my website free for everyone, as that is the spirit and nature of science and discovery. But for those who like to be charitable, that is an option. Donations can be made here. (UPDATE: The blog software that my host uses is automatically deleting links for cryptocoin donations, but there should still be links on the bottom of the page for those who are interested)

However a few of my readers have suggested that I should also be accepting donations through Patreon. I don't have any experience with this service, but if anyone would like to donate through that source the link to my new account is https://www.patreon.com/csbird

In other news, some of my friends and colleagues from the theoretical physics and mathematics community have started a new web series of documentaries on modern science, and have hired me to work on this project. The working title is "The Edge of Reality", and it will focus on theories that are interesting to study, and are the subject of active research, but which are not well understood and usually which have little or no experimental evidence in favour or opposing them. My job will be to help them with the science behind the theories, and to work on some of the demonstrations and animations. I will provide a link to their channel once they get it up and running. Stay tuned :)

Otherwise I am continuing my work in research, and hopefully will have some more interesting news to relate on that front in the coming months. I also have some interesting projects that are just in the initial phases, but I will leave those details for future updates.

So I hope that all of you will continue to enjoy these article, and will join me in my new ventures in the months and years to come!
 

Back To School

September 4, 2018

Some loyal readers will recognize this entry as a repeat from the last four years. Each year it gets a good response, and kudos from my readers, and so as before I must appease my loyal followers...

To all the students starting University, enjoy this time of your life. Long ago when I started, a prof told me that this is the start of your real education. Now you get to choose your own courses and your own field of study. It is entirely up to you to decide what to do with this chance.

I know fro...


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Free Software

September 4, 2018
With the arrival of September, students around the world will be returning to classes this week. And for those who are starting out at college or university, one of the most important considerations is how to live on a budget. These are the years when one has little or no income, but must bear the expenses of living independently for the first time. While giving advice on living on a budget is far too expansive to cover in this blog, I can tackle one small aspect of student life by providing ...
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The Opposition of Mars

July 27, 2018
For those who are interested in astronomy, tonight Mars will make its closest approach to Earth in fifteen years. That means that it will be both large - though still only viewable in detail through binoculars or a telescope - and very bright. 

As most people already know, both the Earth and Mars orbit the sun, in neighbouring orbits. Usually they are at different points in their respective orbits, and so Mars appears small and distant. Roughly every two years, the two planets pass close toget...
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Neutrinos By The Sea

July 19, 2018
Neutrinos are popular right now. 

Last week the IceCube neutrino observatory announced the discovery of the origin of many high energy cosmic rays as being a massive black hole and active galaxy, using the flux of neutrinos that it produced as a pointer to their source. The observations were then confirmed by a variety of observatories working in radio waves, visible light, and gamma-rays, but the original signal was through neutrinos.

Today we have the announcement that the University of Victo...
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The Origin of Cosmic Rays

July 13, 2018
After weeks of speculation, today the IceCube neutrino observatory has revealed their big news. After more than a century of debate about the origin of high energy cosmic rays, the IceCube team together with astronomers around the world have managed to pinpoint the source of at least some high energy cosmic rays as being a very active and violent distant galaxy known as a blazar. (For those interested in the technical details, the two research papers can be found here and here)

Cosmic rays wer...
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Sterile Neutrinos

July 10, 2018
There has been a lot of discussion lately of the possible existence of sterile neutrinos in the Universe, due in large part to a few papers in the recent weeks making claims of possible signs of detection in one of the bigger neutrino observatories. And although these results are preliminary, with the formal announcements coming later this week, and may show no clear sign of anything other than a statistical fluctuation, the theory of sterile neutrinos is still quite interesting to the theore...
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Feynman Diagrams

May 11, 2018
Among physicists, there is a popular story told and retold about a pair of lectures that were given at a conference in 1948 that demonstrates the brilliance of Richard Feynman. How much of it is true and how much has been embellished to build up the legend is unknown, but it is still an entertaining and information anecdote.

Since the development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s and 1930s there had been an unsolved problem regarding the proper treatment of particle interactions. The laws of q...
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Path Integrals

May 11, 2018
In honour of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Richard Feynman, I will today present a very basic overview of one of the great ideas of modern physics which was developed and popularized by Feynman. And the first part of that theory is the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics.

By now quantum mechanics is firmly established as a confirmed and proven theory of nature. Even popular society has come to embrace some of the stranger aspects of quantum theory (though unfortunately they ...

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Happy Birthday Mr. Feynman

May 11, 2018


I do not normally celebrate celebrity birthdays and anniversaries, since the focus on this series of articles is on the principles of science and the laws of nature. However I do feel that today's anniversary warrants an exception to this general rule. It was one century ago today that Richard Feynman entered the world and would go on to change physics forever. 

Although never reaching the same level of popular recognition as Einstein or Newton or Hawking, in many ways Richard Feynman was grea...

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About Me


Dr. Chris Bird I am a theoretical physicist & mathematician, with training in electronics, programming, robotics, and a number of other related fields.

   


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