30 November 2006

Practical Benefits of Particle Physics #1

Particle Physics vs. Cancer

  • The discovery of X-rays earned Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen the first Nobel Prize in Physics. Linear accelerators, which are small versions of the main accelerator here at SLAC, are "the most commonly used device for" X-ray irradiation of cancerous tumors.
  • Positron Emission Tomography "scans are used most often to detect cancer and to examine the effects of cancer therapy by characterizing biochemical changes in the cancer." The positron, which is the antiparticle of the electron, was discovered by physicist Carl D. Anderson.
  • Proton & Neutron Beam Therapy
  • At CERN, physicists and physicians are studying the possibility of using antiprotons to kill cancerous cells while minimizing harm to surrounding healthy tissue.

27 November 2006

Intelligent Design

On January 19, 2006, Boundless Webzine, which is "a website of Focus on the Family," published an article entitled "The Darwinist's Blinders." This article provoked me to respond with a letter, for which the case Kitzmiller v. Dover and the works of Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss were excellent sources, stating my views on Intelligent Design.

26 November 2006

"They Were Fruitful...", Part 0: Introduction

On my Ohio State Homepage, I had published periodic Updates every two or three months. I started writing Update VI when I decided to shift this function of my website to this blog. Since the blog allows for easier and quicker publication, I will publish the update essentially as I would have on my website, except that it will be broken into several parts. Update VI would have had section numbers, and I want to use those as the part numbers in the blog. However, the beginning section did not have a number; therefore, I have called it part zero.

This Update's title is a dual reference to the book of Genesis and Star Trek III, which features the Genesis Device. In the bible, God tells Adam and Eve, the first humans, to "be fruitful and multiply," which is arguably the only divine command that the human race has consistently obeyed. In the film, Spock's coffin is discovered on the surface of the Genesis Planet. You see, Genesis is a kind of torpedo that can transform a dead rock or nebula into an inhabited terrestrial planet. The depiction of this process is an early example of computer generated imagery in film.

When a science team composed of Admiral Kirk's son David and former Enterprise navigator Lt. Saavik arrive to investigate the coffin, they discover a large number of slimy creatures slithering around underneath it. According to David, they began as microbes that were on the coffin's surface when it was launched from Enterprise. He then states the obvious, "They were fruitful and multiplied." Saavik then asks, "but how could they have evolved so quickly?" Her question foreshadows a grave revelation latter in the film.

I chose this title because many things have been fruitful and/or multiplied in my life recently. Most obviously, my friends and colleagues have been having babies!

The first of these babies to arrive is shown here. His name is Junho, and his parents are in the photograph above, which was taken when his mother was still pregnant and featured on my website in Update IV.

The cute little baby being held by someone in purple gloves is named Ruth. Her parents are Karan and Lumina, the cute couple at left. Wow, we have lot of cuteness to go around in this post! The parents are shown at Lumina's baby shower, about one week prior to her due date. I met Ruth yesterday (Nov. 25) and shook her little hand. Actually, her hand shook one of my fingers. She has quite a grip for a two-month old!

Finally, little Torbin, shown here with his mother Teela, who is a former Ohio State BaBar postdoc, arrived in October. Teela brought him in to the Ohio State office on Oct. 19. He seemed quite content to sleep during his visit to SLAC, which may be because the sounds of SLAC are familiar to him. His mother worked full time here until a few weeks before she gave birth. His birth was on part of a larger "BaBar Baby Boom."

Also fruitful and increasing in number were my travels. I went on three major trips between Sept. 16 and Oct. 18. Another trip, which is my move back to Ohio, still looms in the future. I have organized this update around the three journeys I have taken and the one that lies ahead.

Why a blog?

As most of you probably know, I have kept my friends and family up to date on my life using my Ohio State homepage since I moved to California in August of 2005. Why am I shifting form this well designed (I hope) page to this blog? I have three primary reasons

  1. Space: Ohio State Physics only allots 15MB of web space to its graduate students. Given the number of photos I wish to post from my trip to Italy, I realized I would soon run out of space. Blogger allows at least 300MB for photographs. I may open an account on one of the many online photo sharing sites if that is not enough.
  2. Permanence: I plan to graduate from Ohio State by the end of 2007, at which point my homepage would have to move with me. With this blog, I hope to establish a web presence at a more permanent URL.
  3. Resources: Blogger allows me to change the theme, colors, fonts, etc. of my entire blog easily. With my Ohio State site, I would have to change everything manually. Also, Blogger provides templates and some graphics in an accessible format. I am trading away some flexibility and control for these resources, and time will tell if the trade-off is worthwhile.
I hope you enjoy it.

25 November 2006


This is the beginning of my first blog. You may have to wait a while before any more content appears.