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Measured by the accuracy of its predictions and the scope of its technological applications, quantum mechanics is one of the most successful theories in science--as well as one of the most misunderstood. The deeper meaning of quantum mechanics remains controversial almost a century after its invention. Providing a way past quantum theory's paradoxes and puzzles, QBism offers a strikingly new interpretation that opens up for the nonspecialist reader the profound implications of quantum mechanics for how we understand and interact with the world. Short for Quantum Bayesianism, QBism adapts many of the conventional features of quantum mechanics in light of a revised understanding of probability. Bayesian probability, unlike the standard "frequentist probability," is defined as a numerical measure of the degree of an observer's belief that a future event will occur or that a particular proposition is true. Bayesianism's advantages over frequentist probability are that it is applicable to singular events, its probability estimates can be updated based on acquisition of new information, and it can effortlessly include frequentist results. But perhaps most important, much of the weirdness associated with quantum theory--the idea that an atom can be in two places at once, or that signals can travel faster than the speed of light, or that Schrodinger's cat can be simultaneously dead and alive--dissolves under the lens of QBism. Using straightforward language without equations, Hans Christian von Baeyer clarifies the meaning of quantum mechanics in a commonsense way that suggests a new approach to physics in general.
Chief engineer Bernard Poulten received this drawing from his colleagues at CERN’s Isotope Separator On-Line DEvice fifty-one years ago. In deference to the well-known legend and opera, it was inscribed ‘To Tristan from Isolde (project), 3.11.1966’. (You can see the full drawing here.) Clearing out some old papers recently, he and his family very kindly decided to send the drawing back to CERN… where it arrived just in time for ISOLDE’s anniversary celebrations!
ISOLDE, CERN’s longest-running experimental facility, produced its first radioactive beam 50 years ago. Past and present staff tell the story, with the help of some early film clips here.
On 10 October 1964 representatives of CERN’s Member States came to see for themselves the progress made during the laboratory’s first decade and to hear about plans for the future. On 30 October Director-General Victor Weisskopf invited all staff for a glass of wine to celebrate, and declared 2 November an official holiday.
You can read the official speeches here, or you can read R. W. Penney’s ‘unscientific recollections’ in the CERN Courier. Penney preferred speak of an eleventh anniversary, since he said CERN really took off in September 1953, when the various groups began to centralise in Geneva. The Meyrin site was still a ploughed field, so they worked where they could; he summed up life in the early days as ‘exhilarating’ and ‘exhausting’.
A crisis looms over the scientific enterprise. Not a day passes without news of retractions, failed replications, fraudulent peer reviews, or misinformed science-based policies. The social implications are enormous, yet this crisis has remained largely uncharted until now.
In Science on the Verge, luminaries in the field of post-normal science and scientific governance focus attention on worrying fault-lines in the use of science for policy-making, and the dramatic crisis within science itself. This provocative new volume in The Rightful Place of Science also explores the concepts that need to be unlearned, and the skills that must be relearned and enhanced, if we are to restore the legitimacy and integrity of science.
The book will be presented by one of the contributors, Mario Giampietro, ICREA Research Professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).
"The rightful place of science: science on the verge", by Alice Benessia et al., Arizona State Univ., 2016, ISBN 9780692596388
A new group set up at CERN in the 1970s had rather different objectives to those of the rest of the laboratory. Their main task was to build a 3.6 metre telescope to be sent to Chile, following signature of a collaboration agreement between the ESO and CERN on 16 September 1970.
The first meeting of the coordinating committee two years later reviewed progress and confirmed that ESO’s Sky Atlas Laboratory was also welcome to continue their work of mapping the southern sky at CERN. The groups relocated to the ESO’s new premises at Garching, Germany, in 1980. See the committee report, read the press release and Professor Blaauw’s article in the August 1970 CERN Courier, or enjoy some more photos of the teams at work.
Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC), initiated in 2010 as a R&D project, became an international cooperative on August 1, 2015. The University of Virginia serves as the host for the Cooperative. The National Endowment for the Humanities (2010-2012), the Institute for Museum and Library Services (2011-2013), and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2012-2019) have provided funding. The presentation will include the following: the role of describing agent identities in archival preservation and access; a history of the R&D phase; the emerging Cooperative with a particular focus on the social-document network represented; and, finally, thoughts on the role of SNAC in the global cultural heritage description and access infrastructure.
Daniel Pitti is the Director of the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Cooperative at the University of Virginia. Pitti currently also serves as the chair/président of the International Council on Archives Experts Group on Archival Description, charged with developing an archival description conceptual model called Records in Contexts (RiC).
The talk will take place on Monday 11 September at 1600 in the Main Auditorium (Room 500). The talk is part of the series of "Library Science Talks", jointly organized by the Zentralbibliothek Zurich, CERN and the Association of International Librarians and Information Specialists (AILIS).