Fantastic science

Friday, June 1st, 2007

This sort of discovery, I guess, is why I wanted to be a physicist. Alas, after two days at the amazing CERN when I was 18 I was pretty sure I wasn’t clever enough to do that, and so pursued other interests into IT and business and space. But I still get a thrill out of living vicariously in a life that involves some sort of particle accelerator. What an incredible rush for the scientists involved.

Also very glad to have exited the “prime number products are hard to factor so it helps if you generated the beasties in the first place” business.

14 Responses to “Fantastic science”

  1. Martin Peacock Says:

    As one physicist put it to me – any time a calculation is too hard just redefine the units so the answer is 1

  2. chemicalscum Says:

    Ubuntu 17.4 for quantum computers ?

  3. Shaun Culver Says:

    Would this Universe exist without 1 or 0?

    Mark Shuttleworth says:


  4. azi Says:

    So, you think the IT business is not for “that” clever people? 🙂

    Speaking for myself, I find it depressive to think I’m not smart enough for that kind of physics 😉

  5. a Says:

    free as in privacy

  6. Inez Says:

    Fantastic science, fantastic people.

    Often the humility of the Scientist is more startling than the discovery. That seemingly modest and pedestrian way of conveying a finding of far-reaching proportions. And it is their humanity in the face of the almost divine intellect that is perhaps the greatest achievement of all. I quote Richard Feynman on the things that “shaped” him:
    “Although my mother didn’t know anything about Science, she had a great influence on me as well. In particular, she had a wonderful sense of humour, and I learned from her that the highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.”

    In this case, the report of the discovery seems harder to comprehend than the discovery itself…!? But comforting to know that minds capable of such amazing understanding and unravelling walk the same earth that I inhabit and love. And that all of us suffer the same human condition, under the same sun.

    And it seems to me the whole software, linux nomenclature, rhyming editions and desktop bobs business is MUCH harder to “kop”, than charged atoms and Carbon chains…

  7. Nirmal Says:

    “..I was sure I wasn’t clever enough..” ??

  8. Brian Says:

    Thanks for this link. The possibilities are seemingly unlimited and it’s truly gratifying that some people were studying their science books while I watched Gilligan’s Island.

    The sad irony is that the people who make these breakthroughs are not as rich and famous as people who get paid to pretend on screen or catch a ball. Most people are more aware of Paris Hilton than they are of Jonas Salk.

  9. Jabberwocky Says:

    Another one :

    Gosh – theoretically , if we converged all the emerging findings
    currently popping out the wood work together…
    we’ll have the Bravest of New Worlds to deal with
    …before most of us become silver surfers…

    Sad that our cultures choose celebrity over intelligence & scientific achievement ?
    What’s sadder is that it doesn’t matter all that much…
    we seemed bent to destroy our current civilisation,
    one way or another,
    before we can realise the full benefits of these phanta-bulous discoveries.

    We’re a not quite a Type 1 civilisation…
    …only about a point 0.7… 70 % there…
    (Parallel Worlds – Michio Kaku chapter 11)
    And we only seem to have a 50/50 change of getting to Type 1.

    In that context –
    discoveries like these are exciting –
    but simultaneously depressing.

  10. Jabberwocky Says:

    c.f. my previous post :

    That’s of course not taking into account things like
    Technological Singularity & The Rapture of the Nerds etc 😉

    Perhaps there is hope, but just not the kind we can palate…
    And perhaps our “civilisation” will survive.
    It ways we can’t imagine fully just yet.

    Anyway – interesting technological discoveries to take note of.

  11. Richard Says:

    Space is my passion too. I’ve never really had any other passions. My passion came from a life time of experiences that most people shun me for 🙁 I’m one of these people that has had a life time of experiences with ufo’s and aliens, have been writing a book about it, but have no desire to ever have it published, just something i will only ever let a handful of people read. Sometimes I wish I didn’t, then maybe I’d have a life more acceptable to society, instead of being a loner because of my experiences, but alas, I have detoured from my post. It is the passions we should follow, because it is what drives us. Always follow your passions.

    Take Care

  12. Raz’s Blog :: Room-temperature Quantum Computing Says:

    […] Shuttleworth points out, businesses that depend upon the difficulty of factoring large primes may soon […]

  13. atomicforce Says:

    …”(…)sure I wasn’t clever enough(…)” –
    I am not graduated in IT but I find it interesting 😉 so while I was on some job interview (in IT corp.) and got a question why I chose materials engineering instead of software development I run out from truth and that was mistake. Honestly speaking I was “sure I wasn’t clever enough” but I afraid to say that. Mark I respect you because of your honest.


  14. amyst Says:

    scalable quantum systems can be approached in dozens of ways – not the way yet 🙂