The late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th brought with it a revolution in the scientific understanding of the universe around us, one whose effects are still being felt around the world as it forces people to change their ideas about the universe and the place of human beings within it. Even a conceptual understanding of the early origin of the universe requires an introductory knowledge of quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, the attempt to reconcile quantum mechanics with concepts brought over from classical mechanics has led to much confusion especially among non-physicists and students of physics. This essay is an attempt to address some of this wide spread confusion.
This essay examines our fundamental conceptions of time, spacetime, the asymmetry of time, and the motion of a quantum mechanical particle. The concept of time has multiple meanings and these are often confused in the literature and must be distinguished if any light is to be thrown on this age-old issue. The asymmetry of time also has different meanings that depend on context—although the fundamental time asymmetry is associated with the expansion of the universe. These and related issues are discussed in both classical and quantum mechanical contexts.
(Reference 4 has been corrected in this version)
USA Today Magazine (January 2013)
The Arab Spring was a dramatic result of a policy failure on the part of Arab countries. For many decades they have used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to divert the attention of their own citizens, the so-called “Arab street”, from their own economic and domestic failure to deliver a decent life to their people.
It is the purpose of this essay to take the reader from some elementary ideas about groups to the essence of the Standard Model of particle physics along a relatively straight and intuitive path. The idea is to give an Olympian view of this evolution, one that is often missing when absorbing the detailed subject matter of the Standard Model as presented in an historical approach to the subject.
p.58: First equation should read
p. 59: Line after 2nd equation from the bottom of the page should read, “This corresponds to a right-handed spinor and, for spin 1/2 is designated (1/2, 0).”
The end of the last line should read, ” . . . is designated by (0, 1/2).”
USA Today Magazine (November 2012)
“. . . The conflict here and abroad really is between two fundamentally different and mutually exclusive world views; one based on science, reason, and observation; the other on an interpretation of Scripture that dates back to past periods of religious intolerance.”
International Journal of Astrobiology / FirstView Article / October 2012, pp 1- 5
DOI: 10.1017/S1473550412000468, Published online.
International Journal of Astrobiology 12 (1): 94–98 (2013)
It has been argued that the limited set of proteins used by life as we know could not have arisen by the process of Darwinian selection from all possible proteins. This probabilistic argument has a number of implicit assumptions that may not be warranted. A variety of considerations are presented to show that the number of amino acid sequences that need to have been sampled during the evolution of proteins is far smaller than assumed by the argument.
How to cite this article:
Gerald E. Marsh The problem of the ‘prebiotic and never born proteins’. International Journal of Astrobiology, Available on
Recently, Sir Menzies Campbell wrote in the Financial Times that British nuclear doctrine should be redrawn in ways that might no longer require the Trident submarines that are currently the basis of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. It was maintained that doing so would require abolishing the so called “Moscow criterion” that presumably drove force level requirements.
This “Nuclear Question” was the subject of the lead editorial of the Financial Times on May 19th. In response, I submitted the following letter that was published in the 22 May 2012 edition:
“Weakening Britain’s nuclear deterrent could come at a cost
Your 19 May editorial Nuclear Question lays the appropriate ground rules for the debate on the future of Britain’s deterrent: ‘First, Britain must not scrap its nuclear arsenal’, and most importantly, it ‘should only do so in multilateral negotiation with other powers. Second, it must stick to a sea-launched deterrent’ But the issue of the ‘Moscow criterion’ is a bit of a red herring.
During the cold war, Soviet ‘sophisticated air defenses’ had no capability against warheads delivered by ballistic missile and were not a factor in U.S. targeting. I doubt that this has changed. The defense-offense balance would, however, dramatically shift if Britain eliminated its ballistic missile deterrent and relied instead on cruise missiles carried on conventional attack submarines to replace the Trident system. A deterrent based on cruise missiles could well require higher force levels to compensate for their vulnerability. Using cruise missiles, because of their range limitations, could also require the attack submarines carrying them to operate in areas where they would be more vulnerable. And last, but not least–and this alone should rule out their use–there is the confusion that would be introduced by any cruise missile launch: is the missile carrying a nuclear or conventional warhead? Bad idea.
While four Trident submarines would still be required for operational reasons (yes, one should always be at sea), the real issue is how many missiles must each submarine carry and how many warheads need be on each missile. In the end, maintaining the Trident missile system may well be Britain’s most cost effective deterrent for the future.”
IF THE INVISIBLE HAND OF THE FREE MARKET IS DEAD, HAS CAPITALISM BEEN BURIED ALONG WITH IT?
We now have more than enough evidence that the “invisible hand” does not exist, and it is time that this hoary belief is replaced by something better—a new contract between the general public, the wealthy, and the government.