Category Archives: Science

Can hell break out of a .2% difference in Planck’s constant?

This is an untold story, part of my personal history in academia, when all things were still coming up roses on me. Somehow, the news regarding the update of four of the fundamental constants we use in Physics and science triggered a memory.

It is 2001, last few months of data analysis towards my PhD thesis. A shared data set between my folder and a senior German collaborator’s one is analyzed in parallel with two different methods. Final results show up eventually from both sides and we immediately see that there is a constant 0.2% difference in the extracted values, despite that they should be exaclty the same in principle. Intense discussion breaks out among all collaborators why this is happening. As a student I was the easy target: “you, Theo, have made a mistake”. New round of independent analysis breaks out by a post-doc. He comes back with the same results I produced and still a persistent 0.2% difference with the German guy’s values.

A month later, we are still stuck. The 0.2% does not go away whatever the effort. Then, I decide to dig better. I revisit the fundamental constants, Planck’s h and speed of light, c I found in the CODATA evaluated tables. Cross-checking with the German collaborator shows he had used values found in an appendix of a nuclear structure book published in the ’60s. The values merely differed by exactly 0.2%. A couple of hours after our discovery, I get chinese for lunch and a fortune cookie offers me a metaphysical touch with the quote: “The truth is in the numbers”.

I remembered this story earlier in the morning, when I read about the update of the fundamental constants. The new values can be found in this paper. Just use them cautiously; they might give you hell. Especially if you are a PhD student.

Getting ready for HNPS2017

It’s been a while since my last blog post. I have been really busy with end of the semester and preparing for a couple of Conferences where our group are participating.

The first one is coming up this weekend, Friday and Saturday 9-10.06.2017. It is the 26th Annual Symposium of our Hellenic Nuclear Physics Society, our little body of nuke people who gather together, present their recent works and give lots of space to young researchers to immense in what is going on in our field.

This year we have prepared an impressive number of 7 posters and 1 oral talk spanning all aspects of our scientific activities. The NuSTRAP group are active in three main directions, namely nuclear structure, nuclear reactions and applications of radiation including instrumentation and environmental studies. Despite being mostly preliminary, our results are publicly available online. You can visit this page to view our recent posters and if you fancy, give us some feedback or publicize our work to the social media. I stress out the fact that the majority of the work has been carried out by undergrads who spend a lot of time and showed exceptional eagerness to advance science while getting educated.

We will be standing next to our posters this coming Friday and Saturday, here is a link to the official program of HNPS2017. This is the list of posters:

  1. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5084128 (S. Kolovi et al.)
  2. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5080099 (C. Andrikopoulos et al.)
  3. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5072245 (E.-M. Lykiardopoulou et al.)
  4. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5086039 (I. Sideris et al.)
  5. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5057854 (V. Lagaki et al.)
  6. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5071840 (G. Zagoraios et al.)
  7. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5089747 (N. Togia et al.)

I will be tweeting using the hashtag #hnps2017, so if you are a fellow tweep, please stand by.

Μπορεί ένα ηφαίστειο να αναπνέει;

Λίγες στιγμές μετά την επίσημη δημοσίευση στο Nature Scientific Reports, το Αθηναϊκό-Μακεδονικό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων δημοσίευσε το σχετικό δελτίο τύπου, το οποίο έχει αναρτηθεί εδώ.

Ο Κολούμπος είναι μια εντυπωσιακή περίπτωση υποθαλάσσιου ηφαιστείου: είναι ρηχό (~500 m), είναι ενεργό, είναι κοντά σε έναν κορυφαίο τουριστικό προορισμό, τη Σαντορίνη και παρουσιάζει μοναδική συμπεριφορά παγκοσμίως. Επιπλέον με χρήση εξελιγμένων μαθηματικών τεχνικών η ενεργή του συμπεριφορά προσομοιάζει έντονα τη συμπεριφορά ανάσας: κάθε δυο λεπτά η δυναμική του ισορροπία επαναλαμβάνει συγκεκριμένο μοτίβο, καταγεγγραμένη στις φυσικοχημικές ιδιότητες της στήλης νερού πάνω από το υδροθερμικό του πεδίο.

Η εργασία αυτή είναι πρωτότυπη, αλλά και πρώτη από μια σειρά επόμενων μελετών του ίδιου συστήματος, το οποίο έχει να επιδείξει ακόμη περισσότερες εντυπωσιακές συμπεριφορές.

Το λινκ στο άρθρο.