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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.


Aug
3
comment Linearity of quantum mechanics and nonlinearity of macroscopic physics
Voting to reopen because closing this made absolutely zero sense. It's a good question - I can't even begin to imagine what people thought was wrong with it.
Jul
25
reviewed Leave Open Calculating an expression for the trace of generators of two Lie algebra
Jul
25
reviewed Close What is longitudinal relaxation time and transverse relaxation time?
Jul
25
reviewed Reviewed Gas mixture flow rate equation
Jul
25
awarded  Nice Question
Jul
25
comment Drop a star in a river
See also physics.stackexchange.com/questions/37912/…
Jul
25
revised What is the easiest way to stop a star?
added the update
Jul
25
awarded  Enlightened
Jul
25
awarded  Guru
Jul
24
revised Is it better to build a space elevator from GEO down to the surface of the Earth?
added link, fixed some mistakes
Jul
24
comment Is it better to build a space elevator from GEO down to the surface of the Earth?
@FixedPoint this page has a diagram that should help explain what I meant in my previous comment, and also has lots of information on space elevators away from the equator.
Jul
24
comment Is it better to build a space elevator from GEO down to the surface of the Earth?
@FixedPoint I would guess that things get quite tricky as the base gets near the Earth's poles, because (in a frame of reference that rotates with the Earth) there are two forces acting on the cable: the centrifugal force pulling it at right-angles to the Earth's axis, and gravity pulling it towards the centre of the Earth. By the time you actually get to the pole, I imagine gravity will win out, making the cable lie flat against the ground for part of its length. (This depends on the weight of the cable and its geometry.) I imagine this puts a limit on how far from the equator you can get.
Jul
23
revised Is it better to build a space elevator from GEO down to the surface of the Earth?
added 408 characters in body
Jul
23
answered Is it better to build a space elevator from GEO down to the surface of the Earth?
Jul
23
revised Velocity of 2 balls with different masses on a moving train after the train brakes
added 50 characters in body
Jul
22
comment Velocity of 2 balls with different masses on a moving train after the train brakes
I've made some of my comments into an answer in case you want to accept that, or you're welcome to make your own if you prefer.
Jul
22
answered Velocity of 2 balls with different masses on a moving train after the train brakes
Jul
22
comment Velocity of 2 balls with different masses on a moving train after the train brakes
Although, some people will tell you you shouldn't use $F$ because there isn't "really" a force acting on the balls. But when you get to much more advanced physics (general relativity) you'll find that the use of $F$ in this sort of situation is unavoidable.
Jul
22
comment Velocity of 2 balls with different masses on a moving train after the train brakes
Yes, the argument in your comment on Akash's answer is correct.
Jul
22
comment Velocity of 2 balls with different masses on a moving train after the train brakes
I think it's intended as a trick question. If you haven't covered air resistance yet then the answer is "neither of them - they both move at the same speed", and unless your teacher was making some other assumptions that I don't know about, her argument is incorrect. In the train's reference frame they both get the same acceleration, so they move in the same way. It's exactly the same reason why (ignoring air resistance) the two balls would fall at the same speed if dropped from a tall building.