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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.


Oct
28
comment What mechanism is responsible for the creation of these dunes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?
My own wild guess is that they're related to the surface slipping downhill and either wrinkling up or breaking in a series of fractures. It would be very nice to see an authoritative answer!
Oct
27
comment Imaginary time is to inverse temperature what imaginary entropy is to …?
He replaces $\beta$ with $-i/\hbar$, but he also replaces the energy with the action, which at least has units of time times energy, so the $t$ is in there somehow. I have to admit I don't know much about Wick rotations myself, so I'm waving my arms a bit and hoping they'll turn out to be equivalent :)
Oct
26
answered Imaginary time is to inverse temperature what imaginary entropy is to …?
Oct
24
awarded  Notable Question
Oct
23
reviewed Edit suggested edit on Second Qubit Not Flipped in Hadamard Gate
Oct
23
revised Second Qubit Not Flipped in Hadamard Gate
Use latex symbols, just include your formula in $....$ for inline formula and $$...$$ for the formula to appear in it's own line. Also corrected spelling.
Oct
23
comment Space elevator: a Earth rotation brake model
(Though I'm not even sure the dissipation thing is that big of a worry anyway - why wouldn't you just transfer the heat to the cable and let it radiate away slowly?)
Oct
23
comment Space elevator: a Earth rotation brake model
Why would it act as a brake? The only friction mentioned in the article is between the elevator and its cable. The article says this will produce enough heat to worry about getting rid of it, but it won't slow down the Earth any more than a normal elevator in a skyscraper does.
Oct
19
answered How much entropy is produced in evaporating water due to irreversible evaporation towards equilibrium (humidity=100%)?
Oct
12
comment Is it possible to start fire using moonlight?
Well, the Moon's surface temperature during the day is about 123 celsius, which isn't hot enough to ignite paper or lighter fluid, so if we had to rely on black-body radiation from the Moon and pure optics then it would be impossible. But since as you say moonlight is reflected rather than re-emitted, it might be in-principle possible. I imagine you'd need a ridiculously large collection area though.
Oct
11
comment Why is $d$ generally not used instead of $r$ in Newton's derivation of force of gravitation?
I would guess it's because the most obvious application of Newton's law is to calculate the force on something orbiting a much heavier object in a roughly circular orbit. (E.g. planets around the Sun, or satellites around planets). In this case $r$ is the radius of the orbit.
Oct
10
comment Describe Ising model dynamics in stochastic differential equation or stochastic process
For the stochastic process approach, you might like to look into "Glauber dynamics". As for whether there's a meaningful way to approximate/summarise the dynamics as coupled differential equations, I don't know. It sounds hard.
Oct
7
comment Are all machines linearly scalable?
An even earlier influential discussion was Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences (Galileo, 1638). As I understand it from second-hand accounts, one of the two sciences was the relation between material strength and scaling, and the other was kinematics.
Oct
6
revised Rate of time progression
URL formatting issue (SE didn't like the em-dash character)
Oct
3
answered Unmixing of gases: What is the relevant temperature for my Entropy?
Oct
2
revised If I shout at the sky, will some molecules reach escape velocity?
descriptive title
Sep
30
awarded  Explainer
Sep
30
awarded  Yearling
Sep
29
awarded  Informed
Sep
27
comment Is a chain REALLY only as strong as its weakest link
I've edited my answer - see the last paragraph.