Physics Today: Commentary: Celebrating and supporting African American women in physics. “African American Women in Physics (AAWIP) was founded to honor those pioneering women, to inspire future physicists, and to connect with allies interested in promoting diversity in physics and other STEM fields. By maintaining a list of all of the African American women with PhDs who identify as physicists, the organization highlights the wide variety of academic backgrounds and career options for physics students and professionals. With the expected awarding later this year of the 100th physics PhD to an African American woman, AAWIP is both celebrating the trailblazing accomplishments of those who earned their degrees and emphasizing the progress that will be necessary to make the list grow far more quickly.”
Princeton University: Good news for future tech: Exotic ‘topological’ materials are surprisingly common. “In a major step forward for an area of research that earned the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics, an international team has found that substances with exotic electronic behaviors called topological materials are in fact quite common, and include everyday elements such as arsenic and gold. The team created an online catalog to make it easy to design new topological materials using elements from the periodic table.” I went looking for an explanatory guide to topological materials and HA HA HA HA HA HA. But I did find this article from Phys.org has some explanation of topological insulators and materials. It helped my understanding.
PLOS One Blog: Peer-reviewed physics for Wikipedia: PLOS ONE Topic Pages. “Despite Wikipedia’s importance as a resource for both practicing physicists and the wider community, it is rare for professional physicists to contribute, in part because there are few, if any, professional incentives to do so. We’re all in agreement that researchers should receive proper attribution for our work (which is why PLOS ONE supports ORCID); and as credit is not given for submitting or editing Wikipedia pages, only a small fraction of the physicists that I asked about this have edited even a single Wikipedia page. With this in mind, we’re excited to introduce PLOS ONE Topic Pages, which are peer-reviewed review articles written with Wikipedia in mind. These provide opportunities for author attribution and will result in both journal articles and Wikipedia pages of high quality and utility.”
Engadget: Stephen Hawking’s last paper on black holes is now online. “Stephen Hawking never stopped trying to unravel the mysteries surrounding black holes — in fact, he was still working to solve one of them shortly before his death. Now, his last research paper on the subject is finally available online through pre-publication website ArXiV, thanks to his co-authors from Cambridge and Harvard. It’s entitled Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair, and it tackles the black hole paradox. According to Hawking’s co-author Malcolm Perry, the paradox “is perhaps the most puzzling problem in fundamental theoretical physics today” and was the center of the late physicist’s life for decades.”
Physics Today: Online tool breaks down physicists’ research interests. “Terms like cosmologist, string theorist, or particle physicist rarely capture the true scope of a scientist’s work. A new website aims to provide a more complete picture. Launched in July, Scimeter allows researchers to create word clouds based on the topics of their arXiv papers, search for scientists with similar interests, and find experts whose work best matches given keywords.”
Physics Today: The history of physics, in 4000 manuscripts. “A single-story ranch house on the eastern coast of Florida has a room that would make any physicist or historian momentarily lose her breath. It’s a home library about the size of a college seminar room, lined with dark wood bookshelves that are filled from floor to ceiling with titles by Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Ptolemy, and more. This room is home to David Wenner’s collection of more than 4000 major physics articles and books, covering discoveries and innovations from the 15th century to the 21st.”
Stephen Wolfram on BackChannel: A New Kind of Science: A 15-Year View. “Starting now, in celebration of its 15th anniversary, A New Kind of Science will be freely available in its entirety, with high-resolution images, on the web or for download.”