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bio website nathanielvirgo.com
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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
12
answered Entropy Maximization using undetermined multipliers
Oct
11
comment Does Schrödinger equation have dual-property with Heat equation?
@Masi the technical term for that is Wick rotation. (Unfortunately I don't know much about Wick rotation, and the Wikipedia page isn't very useful, but maybe someone with a bit more knowledge can post an answer detailing the correspondence between the two.)
Oct
11
revised Proving that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space
LaTeXified, fixed grammar
Oct
11
revised First and second order phase transitions
fixed error
Oct
10
comment Why England is so cloudy?
I think the jet stream also plays a big role in blowing weather systems across the British Isles.
Oct
10
comment First and second order phase transitions
By the way, do you know if that's part of a published book or not? I found a link to the chapter on the author's web page, but there's no information about it, just links to chapters 1, 4, 5 and 8.
Oct
10
comment First and second order phase transitions
Thanks, that looks great! Just from skimming through it I've seen many of the diagrams that I've been puzzling over in my own notes, including diagram 3 of my question.
Oct
10
comment First and second order phase transitions
Thanks for the first link. The problem with Wikipedia's treatment is that it's really just a brief verbal summary. For example, it says that "they are characterized by a divergent susceptibility, an infinite correlation length, and a power-law decay of correlations near criticality", but it doesn't give me any understanding of why those three things would be related, or of what conditions are required for them to occur. If you know of a more detailed treatment of that classification scheme it would be really helpful.
Oct
10
asked First and second order phase transitions
Oct
10
revised Is there a limit to frames per second to be captured?
added 178 characters in body
Oct
10
comment Is there a limit to frames per second to be captured?
@MartinBeckett sure - I just wanted to make the point that there is a fundamental limit to how short an exposure can be, even if it's probably shorter than anyone might have a practical reason to use.
Oct
9
comment 2$^\text{nd}$ law of thermodynamics: equivalence of statements
The "Clausius equality" that you state here is only for idealised reversible processes. If you instead think about the more general Clausius inequality, $$\oint \frac{\delta Q}{\theta} \le 0,$$ the equivalence should be much clearer. But if it isn't, I'll try to find time to write an answer later.
Oct
9
comment How deep is the region near an event horizon where Hawking radiation is generated?
Related (possibly a duplicate): physics.stackexchange.com/q/22498
Oct
9
comment Definition of phase transitions in statistical mechanics
@Trimok corrected, thanks!
Oct
9
revised Definition of phase transitions in statistical mechanics
corrected sign errors (thanks Trimok)
Oct
9
answered Is there a limit to frames per second to be captured?
Oct
9
comment Is there a limit to frames per second to be captured?
Here is some footage at $10^{12}$ fps, fast enough to show the movement of a pulse of light. It's actually a bit of a cheat, since they're actually using lots of puslses of light (one per frame) rather than just one, but still it's incredibly impressive, and amazing to watch.
Oct
9
reviewed Approve A naive question on the $U(1)$ gauge transformation of electromagnetic field?
Oct
9
comment If I jump will I land in the same spot?
@PrimeWaffle If you hovered in a helicopter (or any other hovering device), you would be exerting an additional force to counteract gravity, the amount you would move relative to the Earth would be highly dependent on the direction and magnitude of this force.
Oct
8
reviewed Edit Is matter a continuous part of the field of space-time?