Some links …

Exon points us to this Science Roll post with a compilation of science-oriented video archives.

Philip Ball has a post recounting the history (and the key person) behind the development of goggles that filter out UV and IR radiation.

Guru points us to some of the classic papers from the previous centuries that Philosophical Magazine has published on its website along with some commentary.

This article in the Hindu is about a study on the saddle point configuration for nucleation of a bubble in superheated water. It claims that this study overturns a conventional view; I am yet to figure out how!

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About Abi

My name is T. A. Abinandanan, and I am a professor of Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
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3 Responses to Some links …

  1. Guru says:

    Dear Abi,

    I too checked the bubble nucleation paper in PRL. It is a density functional study of a superheated Lennard-Jones liquid (and some Monte Carlo too). I think most of what Hindu published (which is part of the Purdue press release) is misrepresentation of what is claimed in the paper. The paper is very cautious. For example, it says

    Although the emerging view of the molecular-level details of nucleation and growth are quite different from what was previously thought, one may wonder why such differences have not been noted already. For one, the overall picture, or the net effect of bubble nucleation (at least as seen from a coarse-grained or mesoscopic scale), has not drastically changed.

    Also, since the paper seems to be talking about the role of cavities in bubble formation, they probably are claiming that even well inside the liquid it is not homogeneous nucleation? However, I am not aware of all the literature in the area to reach any conclusions on that one. Any case, I found the stuff about spinodal decomposition versus local instabilities during bubble formation towards the end of the paper interesting. Apart from that, I agree with you that the paper did not live up to the expectations that the press release caused.

    PS:- The link to my blogpost to PhilMag papers points to Ball’s article!

  2. Abi says:

    Thanks, Guru, for highlighting the hype on the homogeneous nucleation paper. Is there really such a serious pressure on universities that they have to put out press releases with too much hype (even though the researchers themselves are far more careful to add all sorts of qualifiers)?

    Sorry about the link mix-up. I have corrected it now.

  3. Guru says:

    Abi,

    The part about hype is not very clear to me; but, I believe the universities (and their public relations cells), the science journalists, and to some extent the researchers themselves are to be blamed for the hype; like Doug Natelson and many science bloggers note time and again, most of the press releases are too hyped and give the impression of wilful suppresion (if not blatant lies)! Of course, some of the blame should also be placed on the funding agencies–Female Science Professor, I think, recently wrote about an NSF questionnaire which asks if the proposed work is “transformational”, which apparently has led to the scenario where most of the proposals, if not all, using the word transformational to describe their proposed research. All this reminded me of Idiot’s fugitive essays of Truesdell where he says “The seeting sun of science casts giant shadows of pigmies” or something to that effect :-)

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