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Science & Engineering

Fifteen Eighty Four

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  • 21 Mar 2024
    Jean René Roy

    Andromeda Galaxy at 100

    In 1924, American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble (1889-1953) established the distance of the “Great Nebula” in Andromeda, clearly placing it outside the limits of our Milky Way. All of a sudden, the observable universe had just expanded by at least a million times. During beautiful evenings of late summer and autumn, you can observe in […]

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  • 8 Mar 2024
    David W, Snoke

    Myths and Open Questions of Quantum Mechanics

    After a hundred years, the field of quantum mechanics still has much to cause us to ponder. Nevertheless, science has progressed, and we know more than we used to know.  Among the things that have progressed are the modern understandings of past experiments in the context of quantum field theory.  Some of the things we […]

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  • 22 Feb 2024
    Marco Antonio Valenzuela-Escárcega, Mihai Surdeanu

    To Understand Large Language Models We Need to Go Back to the Basics

    Arthur C. Clarke famously stated that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Most of us have experienced this law with respect to the latest iterations of large language models (LLMs) such as GPT-4. This perspective may lead to incorrect usage of LLMs, resulting in undesirable and dangerous effects such as privacy violations, proliferation […]

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  • 13 Feb 2024
    Irfan A. Siddiqi, Andrew N. Jordan

    Quantum measurement book blog

    What is the topic of the book? Measurement is one of the most fascinating and misunderstood aspects of quantum physics. It plays no role in classical physics, other than reducing ignorance about the underlying reality. In quantum physics measurement plays a fundamental role, and the choice of what kind of measurement you choose to do […]

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  • 22 Aug 2023
    Kostya Trachenko

    Theory of liquids, the hard problem

    I had a memorable library day trying to find an answer to a question that is simple to formulate: what is a theoretical value of energy and heat capacity of a classical liquid? I looked through all textbooks dedicated to liquids as well as statistical physics and condensed matter textbooks in the Rayleigh Library at […]

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  • 18 Aug 2023
  • 11 Apr 2023
    Emanuel Kulczycki

    Publication metrics don’t have to drive academia

    Rudolf Weigl, a Polish biologist who invented the first effective vaccine against typhus, called a practice of publishing many papers a ‘duck shit’: just as ducks leave a lot of traces while walking about in the yard, scientists hastily publish articles with partial results that are the product of undeveloped thought. This is one of the unfortunate outcomes of the evaluation game in today’s science, where researchers attempt to follow various evaluation rules and meet metrics-based expectations.

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  • 24 Jan 2023
    Rainer Schmid-Fetzer, Yong Du

    Computational Design of Engineering Materials

    A revolution has been underway for several decades, transforming materials engineering from costly and time-consuming process of trial-and-error experimental “materials by discovery” to “intelligent materials design” enabled by computational tools, CALPHAD (Calculation of phase diagrams)-type scientific databases (also named as Materials Genome database), and calculation-guided experiments.

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