Summer for good

Hi from Athens, Greece, where I am trying to get advantage of whatever summer has to offer around here. (Rooftop bars, open-air cinemas, iced-down mojitos, the smell of citronella and ammonia…) Below you can find links to the last month’s Ph-posts and some personal events and thoughts vaguely related to science. I will try to keep it short but I can’t promise.

June’s Ph-news are here. There are several, some cute, some in progress. And there are two other recent posts: one is about Particle Zoo, the plushies shop that you need in your life; and the other is an article that I wrote for a greek newspaper just before their schedule was smashed by the coronavirus. It never made it to press so it found its way here. It’s about the ALPHA experiment’s pioneering work with antihydrogen atoms (and it’s in greek).


Apart from physics per se, June saw some very weird media coverage of science policy. More specifically, after a decision-making process that took years, CERN decided to not pursue the preparation of a much larger particle accelerator in the next years. Instead, they moved the decision to several years in the future, while other research will go on. Consequently, they decided to not ask governments for an extra 20 billion dollars.

Then, why did a large part of serious mainstream press write that CERN decided to build a new 20 billion dollar machine?

I could fill out the above paragraph with more sentences so as to make it more aesthetically pleasing, but that wouldn’t make it any more comprehensible. I just didn’t know how to react to mainstream media reporting the opposite of a factual piece of news that involves (or doesn’t involve) large amounts of money and well-known labs.


Now, time for weird physical phenomena. No, seriously. A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to visit a place surrounded by urban legend. But is it only legend after all?

There is a specific spot on Pendeli mountain, outside Athens, where stopped cars are said to roll up the road. Three friends and me went there (with a car) and can now confirm it.

Given the nerds we are, we also had some altimeter and spirit level apps with us to make sure the road’s apparent slope was not an illusion. In addition we had a magnetometer app which showed some interesting things. I plan to make a video about this and say more, but until I manage to peel myself off the proverbial sofa and work on it you are welcome to share ideas on possible explanations.


Lastly, there was an update on my own research. For some time now I’ve been looking at the relation between solar flares and the motion of the planets. There are several indications for a strong relation between them, although I can’t say much on the physical mechanism yet; some of these indications are now written down in a paper that a former-and-now-current-again colleague and I put together here.

I daresay it has some points to make if you are interested in astronomy, or even just in machine learning, and you can stand a few plots.


Until the next post, try and have good times.

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