Archive for September, 2006

Autumnal Greetings, The Quantum Times, and a Random Thought

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 21, 2006 by quantummoxie

Welcome to autumn here in the northern hemisphere of the home planet! OK, that sounds like it’s out of a bad sci-fi flick or something. Nonetheless, for yours truly who lives in Maine, Autumn brings one of the most awesome times of the year – colorful leaves, brisk temperatures with mostly sunny skies, apple picking, the Fryeburg Fair, and my favorite holiday, Halloween!

Since September is coming to a close, I am about to put together the next issue of The Quantum Times and would welcome any suggestions for potential articles or notices for inclusion. You can post them here or send me an e-mail at idurham(at)anselm(dot)edu.

And finally a random thought I’m working on: time is nothing more than a statistical phenomenon related to the second law of thermodynamics which is really just a physical manifestation of the law of large numbers and any violation of Bell’s inequalities violates the second law. Comment away…

More on physics & biology

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 18, 2006 by quantummoxie

Courtesy of the Quantum Pontiff, I recently found out about the following: a fellow physicist at the University of Central Florida is organizing a conference that exemplifies how much more interdisciplinary science in general is getting (and serves as another reasonable rebuttal to Ezekial Emanual, discussed in the previous post). Here’s the announcement:

Call for participation: I2Lab Workshop ‘Frontiers in Quantum and Biological Information Processing’ in Orlando, November 16-17, 2006

The Workshop ‘Frontiers in Quantum and Biological Information Processing’ will be held at the University of Central Florida (UCF), in Orlando, FL, on November 16th and 17th, 2006. It is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Information Science and Technology Laboratory (I2Lab) at UCF. The organizers are James Hickman, Michael Leuenberger, Dan Marinescu, Eduardo Mucciolo, and Pawel Wocjan.

For more information on the motivation, the program, the list of invited speakers and program directors from funding agencies, and registration go to

There is a limited number of slots for non-invited participants. The registration will remain open until all the slots are filled.

Doctors without physics…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 9, 2006 by quantummoxie

In what is an absurd suggestion, Ezekial Emanuel has suggested that medical schools cease requiring physics, organic chemistry, and calculus for incoming students, arguing that doctors never use those subjects in the daily practice of medicine. It is hard to overstate the absurdity of this suggestion. On the one hand, even if his claim was true (which it is not), the critical thinking skills one learns in those three classes, especially physics, are invaluable. As a colleague of mine argued yesterday, if you can make it through those courses, statistics and ethics ought to be a breeze (not to imply those courses are cakewalks, but that physics, organic chemistry, and calculus are excellent preparation).

Aside from that, his claim is just patently false. With advances in medical technology increasingly more complex it seems ridiculous for future doctors not to have a basic understanding of the principles behind this technology. Well-established equipment such as NMR and MRI require a knowledge of basic physics if one is to understand them properly. This is aside from the very basic knowledge of mechanics that just might be useful for kinesiology, orthopedics, etc. And how are doctors going to properly communicate with the physicists and engineers who are attempting to develop new technologies? Take, for example, the cover story for this month’s Physics Today discussing advances in prosthetics. At the very least, having had a course in physics, doctors working with physicists and engineers should be able to speak their language. And if there was any doubt about the importance of this, most hospitals now employ physicists in radiology departments and it is possible to obtain a degree in Medical Physics.

Besides, whatever happened to learning for its own sake?


Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 9, 2006 by quantummoxie

Well, for those of you (all two of you) who read The New American Whig, my former blog, I have decided to reduce the politics and ramp up the quantum mechanics and physics in general (which is my everyday passion). Politics just gets depressing after awhile whereas physics is almost always exciting! Though my students would perhaps disagree…

So, without further ado, here is Quantum Moxie: quantum mechanics with an attitude.