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Domenico Monaco
Works at Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati
Attended University of Rome La Sapienza
Lives in Trieste
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Domenico Monaco

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Mathematician sets out to prove hipsters all look alike  What brain neurons tell us about the 'hipster effect' when all contrarians end up looking the same.

Dr. Jonathan Touboul, École Polytechnique mathematician and neuroscientist, constructed a mathematical model for why hipsters all seem to dress alike. His key insight is that people (and neurons) do not instantly perceive what is mainstream. There’s a delay. And in situations where the delay is large enough, the contrarians can inadvertently synchronize with each other.  (Hipster Loop XD)

To help us better understand his mathematical argument, Touboul walked us through parts of his paper, which he is submitting to a physics journal.  Read about it in more detail in the Washington Post article:  http://wapo.st/1xuUpTl

‘Hipster paradox’ explained using mathematical formula (Video): http://wapo.st/1aNBlYX
The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.8001

+Rob Jongschaap fun read, thank you for sharing about it as well as your other thought-provoking posts.  =D

#mathematics #models #urban #neuroscience   #fashion #hipster  
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Say penguins are cute once again. Say it.
 
Photo of the Day: "This is what happens when you leave a GoPro out on the sea ice," writes #YourShot member Gordon Tait of this image taken in Antarctica. #photography
An Adélie penguin lunges at a GoPro on the ice near Casey Station, Antarctica, in this National Geographic Photo of the Day from our Your Shot community.
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Either aliens, or doing statistics out of a small data set.

In other words, maybe the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything isn’t 42.

It’s 187.5.

 
A strange mathematical pattern spotted in blasts of radio waves coming from deep space could be evidence of alien civilizations—or it could be nothing.
A strange mathematical pattern spotted in blasts of radio waves coming from deep space could be evidence of alien civilizations – or it might be nothing. Unfortunately for those of us hoping for al...
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Via +David Roberts​, who also suggest adding a new term to the Standard Model Lagrangian: could it be Y_0 dA?

#physics #cern #aprilsfool
 
CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force

Physicists at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics announced today that an invisible Force permeates the universe and binds the galaxy together

http://cern.ch/go/c7dB

Image shows research in the CERN Beams department

(Image credit: Maximilien Brice and Daniel Dominguez © CERN - for terms of use see http://cern.ch/copyright )
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Happy birthday Emmy Noether!
The link her theorem establishes between symmetries and conserved quantities of a physical system is, IMHO, one of the most beautiful examples of how mathematics and physics fruitfully interplay among each other.
Brian Koberlein originally shared:
 
Symmetry

Suppose you want to balance a ruler horizontally on your finger.  To to this you’ll likely place your finger in the middle of the ruler, so that half is on one side and half on the other.  Intuitively, you recognize that the middle makes both sides symmetrical, which is why you put your finger there.  In other words there is a connection between the symmetry of the ruler and the physics of balance.

Symmetry is something we all tend to recognize, but probably find hard to quantify.  Things like mirror symmetry are easy to describe, but what about the image above.  It gives a feeling of symmetry, but exactly how would you describe it?  In the same way, we generally have an intuitive feel for the way symmetry is related to the physical world, such as balancing a ruler on our finger, but quantifying that connection is difficult.

This is why Emmy Noether should probably be put in the same group as Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein as one of the greatest physicists who ever lived, because in 1918 she published an elegant and mathematically precise connection between symmetry and physics.  It is now known as Noether’s Theorem, and it is so subtle and powerful it is hard to describe without mathematical formalism.

But I’ll give it a try.

In physics, symmetry is the ability to change a part of a system while the whole remains the same.  As an example, imagine if you were standing on a perfectly flat surface that extends as far as you can see.  If you were to close your eyes, take one step forward, then open your eyes, it would appear that nothing has changed.  You have moved forward (a change), but the surface appears unchanged (symmetry).

Through Noether’s theorem, such a symmetry of linear motion is connected to the fact that an object in motion will continue that motion unless something acts on it, what we call conservation of linear momentum.  In the same way, if you were to close your eyes, turn to the left or right a bit, then open your eyes again, the surface would appear unchanged.  This symmetry in rotation is connected to fact that a rotating object like the Earth will continue to rotate, which we call conservation of angular momentum.

But Noether didn’t just show these simple connections, she showed in general how every conservation law in physics is connected to a physical symmetry. Conservation in energy connects to a symmetry in time, conservation of charge to a symmetry in gauge, and on and on.  It is a connection that lies at the heart of every modern physical theory, and has deepened our understanding of earlier theories such as Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s relativity.  Emmy Noether single-handedly revolutionized the way we understand physical theories.

Despite this fact, Noether is not widely known outside the physics and mathematics community.  Part of this is due to the fact that her work revolutionized existing physical theories rather than being a physical theory in its own right, but another reason is that she was a woman at a time when the work of women was often marginalized. Despite her world-class work, she struggled against discrimination in her field, and received a fraction of the recognition she deserved.  Although things have gotten better for women in the sciences, it isn’t quite what you would consider fully balanced.

So the next time you read about the discovery of cosmic inflation, or the search for supersymmetric particles, or the development of a theory of everything, think of Emmy Noether, and her theorem that lies at the heart of all of these ideas.  And remember that the sciences could always use a little more symmetry.
Symmetry is something we all tend to recognize, but probably find hard to quantify. Things like mirror symmetry are easy to describe, but what about the image above. It gives a feeling of symmetry, but exactly how would you describe it?
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Posted on March 14, 2015 - 9:26:53 (local time)

This approximation of pi was known in 1400: http://three.onefouronefivenine.com/

(I discovered this website through +David Roberts​ post)

#piday 
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Da molti anni il mese di Aprile è negli Stati Uniti il "Mese della consapevolezza matematica", ossia un'occasione, creata dal gruppo americano per la diffusione della matematica composto dall'American Mathematical Society, l'American Statistical Association, dalla Mathematical Association of America, e dalla Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, per guardare più da vicino ad alcuni argomenti […]
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Say penguins are cute once again. Say it.
 
Photo of the Day: "This is what happens when you leave a GoPro out on the sea ice," writes #YourShot member Gordon Tait of this image taken in Antarctica. #photography
An Adélie penguin lunges at a GoPro on the ice near Casey Station, Antarctica, in this National Geographic Photo of the Day from our Your Shot community.
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15/04/01: RIP Physics

After discovering a staggering 327 new particles the physicists managed to prove the existence of supersymmetry, extra-dimensions, dark matter, micro black holes, technicolor, and top quark condendsates. But not string theory, that’s just silly.
 
Breaking News! LHC Run 2 cancelled, CERN closes doors. The ALICE Control Room will be repurposed into a massive Call of Duty multiplayer facilitiy!
After a three week review CERN Director General, Rolf Dieter Heuer has announced that the LHC will not have another run and that the international laboratory will be closing its doors to science. The revelation follows an intense week of discussion, analysis and rumour mongering.
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OMG I need one NOW

Google Panda Product Launch 2015: https://youtu.be/lI9Qb4PuiOU

#googlepanda #Google #aprilsfool
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Domenico Monaco

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You gotta love Google Easter Eggs. 
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Recently there has been a fuss about light being "photographed" as both particle and wave at the same time. (See for example http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150302104731.htm)

As usual, +Brian Koberlein​ goes on killing the hype of pop-science websites and extracting the actual physics of the paper, explaining clearly what is really going on here.

Enjoy!

#physics #scienceeveryday #quantum
 
Two for One

There’s been much buzz about a new paper claiming that it’s observed light acting as both a particle and a wave at the same time. Is this legitimate research? Yes, absolutely. Did they actually observe particles and waves at the same time? Well…

Much of the hype around this paper is driven by some basic misconceptions regarding quantum objects. The popular view of quantum theory is that things like photons are sometimes particles and sometimes waves, and which one they become depends upon how you observe them. But in fact quantum objects are neither particles nor waves. They are quanta, which is a separate thing altogether. Under the right conditions quanta can demonstrate wave-like and particle-like behaviors, and there is complementarity between them so that quanta tend to lean toward one or the other in an experiment. But within the formalism of quantum theory, particle-wave duality is a property of the quanta as a whole. Thinking of quanta as particles or waves is far to simplistic when dealing with quantum theory. This is important to keep in mind when popular articles such as this hit the web.

As research areas such as quantum optics and quantum computing developed, we’ve gained tools to really start looking at sophisticated quantum interactions. It’s how we’ve been able to study things like the connection between the uncertainty principle and entropy, or study phase velocity in a quantum system. But since this kind of work isn’t easy to describe in simple terms, it gets hyped as “quantum mechanics gets simpler!” or “speed of light not absolute!” The same is the case here.

So what’s really going on in this work? The team pulsed laser light at a tiny wire of conductive material (a nanowire). The light induced what is known as surface plasmon polaritons in the nanowire, which is basically an electromagnetic wave pattern within the electrons of material. Because of the size of the nanowire, the plasmon polaritons form a standing wave within the wire, which is where the “wave” aspect comes into the experiment. They also radiate light, which in a quantum sense means that photons are emanating from this standing wave. The team then aimed a beam of electrons at the set up. Some of the electrons collided with the emanating photons, and thus gained some energy. Since these collisions are particle-like, they gain specific (quantized) energy amounts from the induced photons.  Basically the team found a way to induce particle-like interactions while maintaining the overall wave aspect of the system at the same time.

Does this mean the team caused a specific photon or electron to behave as a particle and wave at the same time? No. The particle interactions with the electrons and the induced wave pattern in the wire are two separate aspects of the system. But their result is useful because it could allow us to study quantum interactions directly. This type of work is really useful for photonics and quantum computing, and it’s a clever way to interact with quantum systems.

But this is not an experiment that somehow violates quantum theory. We’ve known for a while that we should be able to do this kind of thing in theory. The achievement here is that they actually pulled it off.

Paper: L Piazza, et al. Simultaneous observation of the quantization and the interference pattern of a plasmonic near-field. Nature Communications 6:6407 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7407 (2015)
While we haven't observed a quantum object as both particle and wave at the same time, new research being hyped as such is very real and very useful.
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Ph.D. student in Mathematical Physics
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    Ph.D. student, 2011 - present
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  • University of Rome La Sapienza
    Matematica, 2006 - 2009
  • University of Rome La Sapienza
    Matematica (LS), 2009 - 2011
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