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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remembering Richard Feynman - In the Words of Leonard Susskind

Leonard Susskind, a Stanford physicist, remembers his good friend and genius physicist, the late Richard Feynman. Feynman is best known for quantum electrodynamics (QED). Enjoy!

Friday, May 27, 2011


All the best to the class of 2011! I will miss every one of you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

College Majors and Income

This may be of interest to a few students.

In terms of income, what majors rank highest over a lifetime?
Pick engineering for your major and your lifetime income advantage over solely a high school diploma is about $1.1 million. Go into education and you can expect a boost of about $241,000 with your bachelor's degree. Researchers found as much as a 300 percent difference in earnings potential between one major and another.

This all comes from a study by the Georgetown Center of Education and Workforce, as they looked at 171 majors.

The most popular major group is business, with 25 percent of all students; the least popular are industrial arts and consumer services and agriculture and natural resources, with 1.6 percent each, researchers found.

Here's the breakdown of median earnings by major groups:
1. Engineering, $75,000
2. Computer and mathematics, $70,000
3. Business, $60,000
4. Health, $60,000
5. Physical sciences. $59,000
6. Social sciences, $55,000
7. Agriculture and Natural Resources, $50,000
8. Communication and Journalism, $50,000
9. Industrial Arts and Consumer Services, $50,000
10. Law and Public Policy, $50,000
11.Biology and Life Sciences, $50,000
12. Humanities and Liberal Arts, $47,000
13. Arts, $44,000
14. Education, $42,000
15. Psychology and Social Work, $42,000

The top 10 majors with the highest median annual earnings:
1. Petroleum Engineering, $120,000
2. Pharmacy/pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration, $105,000
3. Mathematics and Computer Sciences, $98,000
4. Aerospace Engineering, $87,000
5. Chemical Engineering, $86,000
6. Electrical Engineering, $85,000
7. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, $82,000
8. Mechanical Engineering, $80,000
9. Metallurgical Engineering, $80,000
10. Mining and Mineral Engineering, $80,000

The 10 majors with the lowest median annual earnings:
1. Counseling/Psychology, $29,000
2. Early Childhood Education, $36,000
3. Theology and Religious Vocations, $38,000
4. Human Services and Community Organizations, $38,000
5. Social Work, $39,000
6. Drama and Theater Arts, $40,000
7. Studio Arts, $40,000
8, Communication Disorders Sciences and Services, $40,000
9. Visual and Performing Arts, $40,000
10. Health and Medical Preparatory Programs, $40,000

Going to graduate school pays off, but it also varies by major. The greatest income benefits come from those who pursue degrees related to healthcare and biology. The lowest payoff in graduate schools is from degrees in atmospheric sciences and meteorology and studio arts.

Looking for a major that nearly guarantees you a job?

The study found there is virtually no unemployment for majors in geological and geophysical engineering, military technologies, pharmacology, and school student counseling.

Majors with the highest unemployment rates: social psychology, nuclear engineering and educational administration and supervision.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quantum Teleportation

Thanks to Nathan for finding this link:

Scientists at the University of Tokyo have done the equivalent of quantum teleportation with quantum bits (qubits) of information. Check out the article, which has some internal links as well. This could be a major discovery in the development of quantum computing, so it will be interesting to see where it leads in the next few years. These are all related to the completely wacky world of quantum mechanics, some of which we have discussed in class.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Amazing Pendula - Try to Figure this one out

Here is a wonderful challenge - what are the ratios of the lengths (and the corresponding periods) of this set of pendulua? Remember that period is proportional to sqrt(L). I don't know the answer myself, but will try to figure it out as well. Regardless, this is a very cool video, and we need one of these for class!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Required Video for Prof. Halperin's visit

Prof. Bill Halperin will be in H320 on Tuesday, May 17. He is an expert in low temperature physic and was recently on this Daily Show segment because of the helium shortage the world is facing. This is actually a big deal, so there is a serious side to issue. Enjoy...

Note you can also read Prof. Halperin's testimony at a hearing on helium for the Committee on Science and Technology, which is a House committee in Congress.

Black Hole Research at NU and ETHS

An astrophysics group at Northwestern is heavily involved in black hole research, as well as outreach to the high school. Mr. DuBrow and Mr. Schelbert have been involved in the Reach for the Stars Project, and here is a clip about the program, originally from the Big Ten Network.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is Superstring Theory all About?

Here is Brian Greene, author of 'Elegant Universe,' does a good job of explaining what the basic ideas of superstring theory are, and some good graphics to try and get your head around. Keep in mind there is no experimental evidence for any of this yet, and we'll see where it goes as the accelerator in Europe, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), ramps up to its full energy.