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bio website nathanielvirgo.com
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visits member for 3 years, 2 months
seen 40 mins ago

I'm a post-doctoral researcher with a wide range of interests. My career is in complex systems science (or maybe cybernetics) and the origins of life, but I also have research interests in

  • the foundations of statistical mechanics and its relationship to information theory
  • Earth systems science
  • non-equilibrium thermodynamics in general

I'm also generally interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics and in black holes, though I wouldn't say I'm an expert on those things.

It's probably worth noting that despite the fact that my research is in physics-related areas, all my degrees are in other subjects. If I occasionally seem to start talking in an alien language, this is probably why.


7h
comment Why are large scale structures isotropic in the Ising model?
I'm afraid I didn't mean anything formal by "seems to be rotationally invariant" - I just meant that when looking at high-resolution images from simulations, I can't see any straight edges aligned with the lattice, or any other tell-tale clues that suggest anisotropy.
7h
comment Why are large scale structures isotropic in the Ising model?
I really appreciate the answer, but the thing is, for someone who plays with cellular automata for a living, it's really quite remarkable that the lattice details don't matter on large enough scales. For "most systems" that isn't the case, and the lattice anisotropy is inherited by the large-scale structures. There must be some special mechanism that makes the lattice behave like a continuum in models with the structure of the Ising model, and I'm curious about what that is. For scale invariance I can sort of see it, but isotropy still seems a mystery to me.
1d
revised Why are large scale structures isotropic in the Ising model?
rolled back to a previous revision
1d
comment Can you die from a $250 \, \mathrm V$ broken cable?
"my dad taped it so it is safe now" - depending on exactly how it's broken, how it was fixed and what kind of tape was used, it may not be safe at all. E.g. if the frayed wire causes electrical arcing it could melt through the tape, and potentially it could still kill you. Please buy a new power supply.
1d
revised Scaling with the Ising Model
fixed markup
1d
revised Scaling with the Ising Model
fixed markup
1d
asked Why are large scale structures isotropic in the Ising model?
2d
comment Can a discoverer give the name he wants to his finding?
To add a small point to Floris' good answer: in general, attempting to name something after yourself is considered a massive faux pas, and doing it would cause you to come across as unprofessional or a crank. The discoverer's name is always attached to the discovery by other people writing about it afterwards.
Dec
18
answered Can string theory get rid of randomness in quantum processes?
Dec
18
comment Why do physics students find vectors so difficult to deal with?
(I myself particularly like the second answer, by Vladimir Sotirov.)
Dec
18
comment Why do physics students find vectors so difficult to deal with?
This seems (at least tangentially) related to the "law of universal linearity" - you might find some of the comments there helpful.
Dec
17
comment Why Penrose's conjecture that consciousness is affected by quantum phenomenon too much of a stretch for Hawking
@CuriousOne Penrose has had various of these weird hypotheses about the brain over the years. I believe he remains an extremely smart guy, but he's fallen prey to the Lucas argument (a logical fallacy if ever there was one) and needs his equivalent of Descartes' pineal gland to make his world-view consistent.
Dec
16
comment How to measure the permittivity of a gas sensor?
Experimental physics questions are on topic.
Dec
16
answered Gravity on and inside a planet-sized bi-lobed body
Dec
14
comment How would night sky look like if the speed of light was infinite?
A slight correction: "The length of the period of time in which there are stars times the speed of light is infinite." If the stars were a relatively new phenomenon, that would also be a resolution to Olbers' paradox.
Dec
13
comment Will a bullet dropped and a bullet fired from a gun horizontally REALLY hit the ground at the same time when air drag is taken into account?
You're wrong in assuming you can calculate the force in the x and y directions independently. Your argument for it doesn't quite work, because the force in the horizontal direction is not $c|v|^2$. That's the magnitude of the total drag force applied to the bullet, but the direction of the force is always opposite to the bullet's direction of motion (relative to the air), so in the case of a dropped bullet, the vertical component is $-c|v|^2$, and the horizontal component is zero.
Dec
10
revised Is turquoise closer to blue or green?
Minor factual error (probably a typo but worth correcting)
Dec
8
comment Energy Flux due to Diffusion
God work giving an excellent answer to your own question! This is more or less what I would have posted if you hadn't.
Dec
5
awarded  Good Answer
Dec
5
comment Quantum random numbers from a laser — simplest setup?
@DrCopyPaste thanks, fixed.