How are hydrodynamics and field theories related? If you'd asked me early last week I wouldn't have much to say. However, after hearing Pavel Kovtun's talk at the Caltech Physics Colloquium last Thursday, I now see that they're pretty deeply related. I've always seen hydrodynamics as equivalent to fluid mechanics, which I dismissed as "an [...]
Neutrinos fascinate me. Their history is particularly interesting: they were one of the first particles hypothesized by theory and then found experimentally. They were once thought to be massless, but now we know they have a very, very tiny mass. They have antiparticle counterparts (which at first blush is confusing, considering they are electrically neutral). And they "oscillate" from one flavor to another as they travel across space! I'm pretty familiar with solar neutrino detection experiments, but last week I learned about a whole new use for these mysterious particles: discovering what's happening beneath Earth's crust.
QUANTUM: EVEN & ODD FUNCTIONS
Perhaps in high school Algebra 1 or 2 you first learned about even and odd functions. The idea seemed simple and pointless at first: an even polynomial function had an even degree, and an odd polynomial function had an odd degree. Like many students, you may have thought, "Duh. Who cares?" Ah, just like almost everything in math, this is the general feeling FOR YEARS until you have that beautiful, glorious, "aha" moment. The real beauty of these facts is revealed in intro college quantum courses.