(De)-Lurker Week

By Sean Carroll | January 10, 2007 11:48 am

Delurk button A little over a year ago we had great fun with Lurker Day, in which folks who read the blog but rarely comment were invited to bust out of their shell a little bit, say hi, and tell us why they think the blog is so wonderful. (At Cosmic Variance, we’re all about positive energy.) Now we are informed by Dr. Free-Ride that the second week in January has been declared De-Lurking Week. A whole week! Just to de-lurk. Seems a bit extravagant, but we must go along with what the blogosphere orders.

So leave a comment, especially if you usually don’t. This should fill some time while I am presently too busy to complete planned posts on gourmet chocolate, how to write a research paper, path-dependent utility, nationalism, understanding, moral humanism, and the beginning of the universe. There’s some incentive for you.

Note: Following Phil Plait’s suggestion, we’re experimenting with the wp-cache plugin. This speeds up performance by storing pages in a cache, rather than dynamically generating them each time they are accessed. The downside seems to be that comments don’t show up as long as the pages are cached. So we’ve set them to be cached for about three minutes, after which your comments should appear. There’s got to be a better way…

  • Shane

    Hello. Nationalism is the problem, don’t you think? What does it really buy us? Immigration problems? Economic favoritism? War? I am for the abolition of Nationalism in it’s entirety. One world is enough, eh.

  • Amy

    Hi! I just started reading your blog. I got here through Google Reader–this blog comes with the Science bundle of feeds.

  • http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/plan.html Warren

    I’m trying to lurk more, & babel less. So a short comment — On “how to write a research paper”, you may find helpful:

    (1) how to give a seminar (in Appendix’); also there: how to write a recommendation letter (in Adenoids),

    (2) how to referee a paper (in Appendix),

    (3) how to write a grant proposal (in Appendix A); also there: how to apply for a postdoc (in Appendix B),

    (4) how to get a job in physics (in Appendix).

    (The stuff before the appendices is probably not as useful.) Just my contribution to the cosmological constant (blog=dark energy).

  • http://namloc/typepad.com/muddlehead Richard Lubbock

    Here I am, ready to listen to anything anyone can tell me what the world is made of. I have a few guesses of my own, but they’re not ready for prime time just yet. Keep up the good work.

  • Matt

    Just an undergrad engineer interested in Physics. Keep up the great work. :)

  • http://luolin88.wordpress.com Luolin

    I think I’ve been reading since the beginning, since I had been reading Sean’s old blog (probably starting with his response to L. Summers debacle, linked to by Bitch Ph.D.)

    Don’t you worry that too many lurkers are being sucked into string theory websites and missing out on opportunities to lurk in competing theoretical paradigms?

  • http://publicparapsychology.blogspot.com Annalisa

    Hi, I also subscibed through the Google Reader Science bundle, and have been enjoying this blog immensely.

    Funny how Lurker Day and De-Lurker week pretty much do the same thing.

    Check out my blog sometime if you feel so inclined.

  • http://www.timeblog.net Joerg

    One day, I swear, I will read more than the first three chapters of this General Relativity book I bought because I read the author’s blog and knew if there was one book on that subject I can understand, it’s this.

  • http://crypticuniverse.blogspot.com/ Mostafa

    Greetings from Tehran, Iran to all readers and writers of CV. This is Mostafa, a graduate student of theoretical high energy physics at SBU (no, it stands for Shahid Beheshti University, not Stony Brook University).
    Just to gain a feel of how some great physicists in US think and how they look at the world, is more than enough motivation for me to visit CV everyday.
    Thank you for it all.

  • Meredith

    Phys/astro grad student here seeking wisdom humorous anecdotes about the life ahead, and other interesting info. :)

  • HFS

    I’m a graduate student in cosmology at Penn – I enjoy reading this blog although I almost never comment on blogs. I’m in my 5th year and should graduate next December, although I’m thinking about leaving the field at least for a little while, this blog and your GR book are some of the things that make me want to keep being a physicist.

  • Bjoern


    I’m a physicist (my PhD thesis was about a topic in lattice QCD) with a strong interest in astronomy, especially cosmology. About 1.5 years ago, I left the university and now work as a teacher at “Gymnasien” (German school type, includes approximately high school and college) – I like teaching much more than research, and getting a teaching job at a university without spending most of your time on research is almost impossible in Germany :(.

    I’ve been reading this blog for about a year now. I like it very much because
    (1) it keeps me updated on the latest news in cosmology, and
    (2) there are also many nice posts on seminars, talks and other university activities etc. which I still miss.

  • Philip

    I’m a community college English teacher interested in cosmology, astronomy, and physics, but bad at math. I read your blog because you guys are smart, multi-faceted, and, best of all, good clear writers.

  • Yvette

    I’m an undergrad physics major at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, who posts on occasion but is more prone to lurking. I rather like physicists and you guys run a great blog, so it fits quite well. :)
    Oh, and Mark was nice enough to explain baryogenesis to me for an article a few weeks ago. *waves*

  • Mike


    I read you daily but rarely post comments. I’m a mathematician, trained in coding and design theory, retooling myself in mathematical biology, and running a small public education and outreach program at the university observatory, so I try to keep up with current developments in astronomy/cosmology.

    Keep up the good work!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/mark/ Mark

    Hi Yvette!

  • David

    I was an undergrad at UofC but have followed the exodus and am now a physics grad at Stanford. I mostly lurk here, after coming over from preposterous-universe. I think that the mixture of topics here is especially good.

    I am sort of teetering between high-energy and astroparticle experiment, but I think I’ll probably work on LHC for my PhD, good-timing. But what I really want to do is BUILD detectors. I got the chance to help commission the ATLAS detector last year, and I got hooked.

    keep it up!

  • http://johnkemeny.com/blog John

    Hey ho! Thanks for a nice blog.

  • BG

    I’m a postdoc at JHU. This is one of a few blogs that I keep up on, but I rarely read comments. No offense meant to anyone – I just don’t have time! I don’t know how some people manage it.

  • Juho


    I’m a first year physics student from Finland and I’ve been lurking on this blog for about a year now. That’s after I decided I really want to be a physicist and wanted to get a glimpse on how real physicists walk and talk. 😉 I’m now studying in the university of Jyväskylä and I’ve loved the first semester! Thanks for the blog. It’s a great read. :)

  • Dr. William Dyer

    ¡Hola! I’ve been around since the Preposterous Universe days and never really thought about the lurking aspect. Maybe a bit is from being an Aspergerian Physicist who’s dyslexic tendencies help in making me loath writing/typing things out due to my high frequency of typos and word disordering. Anywho, I feel kinda better now having come out of the server rack and can now browse openly.

  • http://Abittasty.wordpress.com Spatulated

    hello, love the blog, i was way mroe active back at my other college, but since comming to RIT things have become sever fold harder, love your post, and wish i had the time to keep up with the comments and the discussions.

  • Rob

    Hi! I’m a ph.d. student in computer science, interested in astronomy and astrophysics. I love reading this blog as much as reading slashdot. How I got started? Took a public tour at Fermi lab, picked up a free Symmetry magazine (http://www.symmetrymag.org/cms/) , read an article about QuantumnDiary (http://interactions.org/quantumdiaries/), and then one day, from browsing the comments on QD, found a link to CV. This blog is great, I shall rate it both informative and insightful!

  • jackd

    Greetings. I’m what you’d call an interested layman, being that I’m over twenty years out of grad school and even then never really studied any science (sad, isn’t it?). I’ve heard of Cosmic Variance for a while, via Bad Astronomy, Pharyngula or some of the others I peruse. Looked in a time or two.

    But recently someone I know (Hi, Nathan!) mentioned seeing my comment at Michael Bérubé’s blog, and said he’d picked up Bérubé from reading here. Since Bérubé is hanging up his blogging skates, I thought it would make a nice balance if I started reading Cosmic Variance as part of my daily dose of science blogs.

    There. Complex, yet tiresome and pedestrian. That’s why I lurk so much.

  • http://www.coyotemercury.com/blog1 James

    I’m an English teacher in Austin who loves science. I usually read the feed and so don’t find myself in the comment zone often. Keep it up, this is one of my favorites.

  • Dave

    Why am I a lurker? I guess it’s the shaudenfraude from seeing hundreds of physicists struggle for years, seemingly for nothing.

  • Sam

    I’m a second year physics undergrad student. I find that for the most part, I’m more interested in the “bigger picture” aspects of physics instead of the technical/engineering/semantic aspects of it. I mean, I like knowing what the wave is and how it works (it really is a beautiful thing) but I often find I lose interest once the equations become less inteligible (Fourier be damned!). So to keep up my interest, I read stuff like Feynman or Weinberg and, if I don’t have as much time, I check this blog.

  • miller

    I’m a physics undergrad, and I’ve only started reading this blog very recently. This is the perfect blog for physics news and commentary. I am also a big fan of skepticism.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    David (#17): Yep, you should work on ATLAS for your PhD. Definitely! It’s going to be an exciting ride and your timing couldn’t be better.

  • http://www.littleknownsoftware.com Scott

    It’s not really about lurking is it? I mean when you read Scientific American or National Geographic, your not really a lurker are you? I love all the access to real hard science that borders between something between popular science and the real journals.

    I studied zoology while at UC Davis and since then have been involved almost exclusively in the IT business. I’ve always kept an interest in various sciences though and strongly appreciate these wells of information. But it is difficult to keep up with them, let alone make comments. That doesn’t mean that I’m not thankful though. I’m actually always amazed at how you guys can find the time to read so much other stuff, do your own work and blog. WOW!

    Keep up the great work.

  • http://char1y.blogspot.com Charly

    I still can’t get over the fact that you got Richard Feynman’s desk!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/mark/ Mark

    David (#17): JoAnne is right to be excited about the LHC (I am also), but should you decide to do astroparticle experiment, you will also be involved in a field at the most exciting time so far.

  • Mike

    I’m a physics/philosophy student in Australia. I hated blogs till i started reading this one(hows that for a compliment!). I’ve learned a lot and just wanted to say thanks.

  • limes

    Hoorah for physics-interested high school juniors.

    This blog fills me with joy.

  • Andrea

    I am a recent college grad with a degree in Biochemistry and Psychology. My senior thesis was in the functionality of SSRI’s and the biochemical basis of some of the side effects. There was a fair amount of biophiysics involved in my analysis, and a professor let me know about this site as a place to get my brain thinking about physics.

  • Raymundo Arroyave

    Hi, this is a materials scientist interested in physics and cosmology at the lay-person level.

    I am a lurker because I do not think that I know enough to contribute anything of significance…however, I do enjoy reading the comments section and realizing about the general openness of the community of regular commenters…

    I have been reading this blog for many months now and let me tell you that this is my favorite pass-time whenever I am supposed to “write proposals to get my research program started” and procrastinate instead…

    I believe this blog is contributing in a great manner towards increasing the lay persons’ awareness of the fascinating problems physicists and cosmologist are currently facing…additionally, it is refreshing to see that physicists are just like regular guys (and gals), the only difference being that they perhaps have the coolest job in the world….

    Keep up the great great work!

  • http://rawdc.blogspot.com z.king


    I’m z.king, and although I’ve posted a few comments, I mostly lurk. That’s because if I didn’t, I’d get banned like Lubos.

    I have a Bachelors in math, and maybe someday I’ll be a mathematician, but probably not. And that’s a real shame, because with better credentials, I would be better equipped for smackdowns on Sean.

    I read this blog because Sean is a big rockstar, and also because I have an inferiority complex about not getting a real degree in physics.

    What I’d really like to do is attend one of Sean’s lectures so I could heckle him until the cops came and gave me a trespass warning.

    Lastly, allow me to say, physicists are punks, and mathematicians rule.

  • erik.frederiksen

    Hi there. Colour me de-lurkified. I’m a student in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. I have no idea why I read this blug so often, as theoretical physics (much like material science) scares the shit out of me. That being said, your blog is insightful, interesting and well-written. Keep up the great work.

  • Ande

    I came because you had posted one of my favourite Pynchon quotes:

    “Gentlemen,” advises this ominous Shadow, “— you have fallen, willy-nilly, among a race who not only devour Astronomers as a matter of habitual Diet, but may also make of them vile miniature ‘Sandwiches,’ and then lay them upon a mahogany Sideboard whose Price they never knew, and then forget to eat them. Your only hope, in this room, is to impersonate so perfectly what they assume you to be, that instincts of Predation will be overcome by those of Boredom.”

    And have stayed because it works for me–I’m not a scientist (I’m a land use planner) but I have read the Feyman Lectures on Physics.

  • Chris Coon

    I’m 99% done with my undergraduate degree in physics (all my physics classes are done). I’ve been reading for about six months now and I like the mix of topics here, especially because I don’t have the inclination to seriously study string theory any more than reading some of Brian Greene’s books. With this blog, I get some interesting news and none of the horrible mathematical tedium! Keep it up, everybody–this demi-layman really appreciates it.

  • http://nanopolitan.wordpress.com/ Abi

    I am a great fan of your blog, and I have left some comments before (and I have linked to it a lot of times!), so I’m not officially a lurker here. But my comments have been so few that I think I need to de-lurk.

    So there!

  • http://www.nbcsports.com/nhl Pamela

    I’m a non-scientist who came across physics (the cool kind, not the kind you learn in high school) too late in life to make it a career. But I did come across it, and now I’m hooked, so I read all I can, including your blog.

    I’m also a total lurker, because if I did ever comment, it would mainly be to ask for explanations of the many things I don’t (and probably will never) understand.

    Maybe I should comment, though, because where else can a sports producer go to discuss her excitement about the LHC?

  • Nonnormalizable

    Physics grad student (first year) at Berkeley—lurker since the Preposterous Universe days. JoAnne probably doesn’t remember me from the SLAC SULI program two summers ago, but I enjoyed her talk there! Ah, one day I will understand the hierarchy problem… but will the LHC have it solved by then?

  • Johan Couder

    I’m a lurker because I can’t always tell the difference between those explaining the meaning of the universe on a few onion peels and the “serious” physicists around here :-), in spite of having worked my way through all 3 volumes of Alonso-Finn’s Fundamental University Physics some odd 25 years ago as an undergraduate student. Alas, bad friends led me up the path of the dismal science, but I never lost my interest in physics (the real Queen of Sciences, whatever those math boys and girls say)!

  • glin

    Hi! I’m a physics masters student at the University of the Philippines trying to finish my thesis..and I lurk because i get to read about things that really interests me : gravity and dark energy (no my thesis is not about those things, we dont have g.r. or cosmology people in our university. im doing some semiclassical physics instead.)
    Keep up the good work!

  • http://egglikeabirdsegg.blogspot.com/ Chris Leonadr

    Hi – long-time listener, first-time caller.

    I’m now working on bringing some nice new open access journals to cover all of physics, but have been reading the blog for about 2 years. Hugely enjoyable, but where do you find all the time?!

    Chris Leonard
    PhysMath Central

  • astromcnaught

    Long time reader, very seldom comment.
    I read here for physics, cosmology etc.

    Keep up the good work!

  • http://enigmakaty.livejournal.com Katy

    I’m an undergrad at the University of Chicago, and I’m a lurker. I love physics! I like blogs, too, and of physics blogs, I think yours is just right. It’s like the right bowl of porridge… not too hot, not too cold, not too fast, not too slow.

  • EDT

    Hi Everyone!

    I’m a physics PhD candidate who gets a kick out of seeing everyone else’s spin on things. I lurk about a couple of days a week looking for some interesting tidbits. Unlike other blogs, I appreciate that you guys(and girls) tend to be more open in your views. Even if you disagree with a theory, I have yet to see any “This theory is total crap solely because I want it to be” type comments (i.e. shooting down a concept without a solid logical basis for doing so). There are an alarming number of statements along those lines on other blogs(and not just about strings) from people I would otherwise consider to be first-rate scientists.


  • Ryan

    I’m a first year grad student in planetary science with a physics/astro background. A friend of mine from undergrad pointed me to this blog about a year ago. CV was the “gateway blog”; now I am thoroughly addicted to science blogs of all types.

  • http://www.fys.ku.dk/~thoeger/ Thoeger

    Hey there,

    Think I have been commenting once or twice during the last year, but that’s it, so I guess I’m a bit of a lurker too.

    I’m a Physics/Astronomy student from ccopenhagen with a special interest in cosmology. I also have been following with great interest the discussions about religious influences on science and Dawkins’ new book – great review, Sean!!

    I’ve wanted to comment lots of times, but I don’t wanna write unless I’m sure it’s well thought through, And I don’t have time for that very often.

    However, more comments might be spewed from my throat later.

    Until then, I’ll just enjoy your scribblings.

  • Roman

    Lurking is hard work, just to think of all those times when I wanted to jump in with my new TOE, only to resist the temptation.
    So let’s make this also “lurker appreciation week” in tribute to all those undisclosed TOEs.

  • Bill

    Hi! I see you have lots of student lurkers; I’ll weigh in from the other side. I’m 64 and retired. I got a PhD in mathematics back in the Cretaceous era, but left the academic word in the 1970’s.

    I started reading Cosmic Variance regularly after coming across Sean’s “Quantum Interrogation” post — a wonderful and convincing article. I wish Sean would do the same some time with an article on “Renormalization”; the popular explanations I’ve seen make me feel as though I’m watching 3 card monte or some other conjuring trick.

    My favorite Cosmic Variance picture was the one in JoAnne’s “Sun Shots”. Looking at it convinces me that neutrinos are real, not some mathematical abstraction. Sean’s “Dark Matter Exists” pictures are also very nice.

    Cosmic Variance is a great place to visit for people like me who are out of the academic loop, but still interested in Science.

  • Douglas


  • http://www.carolynjewel.com Carolyn

    Well, all right then. I’m delurking. I enjoy this blog immensely. It’s always interesting and thought-provoking. After reading here for a bit, my IQ shoots up at least 10 points.

  • http://eipipuz.blogspot.com Guillermo Alcántara

    Great job! Keep it.

    Hi from Mexico

  • Andy

    For an economist, its nice to take a break and read about a science with theories and data that are more than simple syllogisms and dirty white noise. Please keep it up! Also, I thought I might use this delurking moment to pass on an interesting news story related to both politics and physics.

  • Rich

    I’m a manager at a computer company with a lifetime interest in astronomy and science. After being in the business world for 20+ years I really miss the kind of environment and people found here at CV. My lotto-winning-dream is to be able to retire early and go to grad school in Cosmology.

    p.s. Keep the book recommendations coming. I’m reading Susskind’s “The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design”. Good stuff!

  • Cliff Moore

    I’m an aspiring physics undergrad. I happened upon this site while searching for African American physicists (I hope to be one myself) and was inspired by what I found. I also share a name with Clifford, so that practically sealed the deal. I mostly haven’t responded until now for fear of sounding stupid, and a general all-round laziness. 😛

  • Amali

    Yet another physics undergrad. CV is TEH AWESOME. :)

  • Ana

    I just graduated with a Phys degree and I work for LIGO. Haven’t read you for very long, but I’m slowly working my way back in time. Any gravitational physicists among you? :)

  • Meghan


    I’m Meghan, and I’m a junior in high school. I thought I wanted to be some sort of particle physicist until this year. Now that I’m taking an actual physics class, it’s actually really boring. And I’m not doing too well, either.

    I came across CV while researching the University of Chicago… I can’t remember how, exactly. I read it when I don’t have time, when I have massive projects due in less than 12 hours, and when I’m basically trying to forget about life.

  • http://www.pha.jhu.edu/~npa/ N. Peter Armitage

    I’m a lurker and occasional commenter. I’m a professional physicist, but in a totally different area. I read to stay abreast of discoveries in other areas and get a feeling for what my colleagues upstairs are doing.

    I also appreciate the snarky atheism ;).

  • http://www.specialwayofbeingafraid.blogspot.com JMW

    Love the site. Found it when you posted very smartly about Dawkins’ The God Delusion, even if I didn’t agree with every word (though I am strongly agnostic, bordering on atheist). Keep up the good work.

  • gapminder

    I went through high school being good at physics and wanting to be an astronomer, but for some reason my maths ran out of steam in my last year there. Switched to philosophy and psychology at university, then worked in IT and latterly business process improvement.
    In a parallel universe I am a cosmologist. Cosmic Variance is a window to that universe. Given the prognosis on this planet, sticking around to see what dark matter turns out to be seems as good a reason as any to keep on keeping on.

  • Paul Schmit

    Having met Sean at my undergrad institution (thanks again for the face-to-face), I followed his internet trail back to this website and have been hooked ever since. I’ve only commented a couple times because I tend to prioritize my busy schedule, and I’m always much more concerned with reading the main posts. I’m graduating with my BS in physics this May and am currently awaiting graduate admissions results from several of the top particle theory and plasma physics schools in the country. I’m extremely inclined to the particle theorist’s lifestyle and enjoy the tedious and abstract mathematics deeply, though there are a few individuals trying to influence me to join in the international quest for controlled thermonuclear fusion power and do plasma physics in grad school. Thus, I guess you could say I’m still on the fence and am awaiting the epiphany that will (hopefully) occur soon after I learn where I have gained acceptance. Some may say it is not important to know exactly what you are doing going into grad school, but I’ve been told that with plasma physics’ limited student enrollment, they tend to strong arm commitment out of their students at the time of admission. If particle theory remains my preference, I hope to work with extra-dimensional and supersymmetric field theories, especially in a context that lends itself to making physical predictions

    …and I’ll want a big chalkboard, because just like food tastes better when you cook it outside (at a campout or bbq), physics looks better messily sprawled out across a wall-sized chalkboard.

    I’d really enjoy a post about the philosophical motivations that led CV’s contributors to finally decide on particle theory instead of some other advanced theoretical field during their graduate studies. In fusion research I see the potential to change the world in drastic ways (environmentally, socioculturally, politically, scientifically), but the excitement of the discovery and development of *NEW* science, new theories, and testing the absolute limits of our knowledge regarding how the entire universe works captivates me, and I know the nature of particle theory work would suit my tastes much better. Anyone care to start another thread???

  • Duncan

    Just found your blog after seeing your article in Physics World (the magazine of the UK-based institute of physics…)

    I’m a sell-out physicist who ended up working in a bank!

  • Arun M Thalapillil

    Hello! I’m a grad. student in particle theory. Have been reading your blog for about a year now.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    It’s great to hear from all the lurkers. We’re not trying to shame anyone into becoming a regular commenter! Okay, we are, but we’re resigned to failure.

  • Dan

    undergrad physics student.

  • JimmyJoe

    Hello from a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area who has physics envy: I almost earned a Physics/Astronomy degree, but CS got me out of school faster.

    Thanks for all the great posts, I look forward to reading more exciting news on work I missed out on.

  • KL

    Hi! I am a physics grad., who has started research, but it still searching for her ultimate interest.. one that’ll draw me like a magnet does to iron.
    Shocking as it may seem, what I enjoy the most about CV are the non-scientific posts. I get enough in the name of science 24*7. What I am most ignorant about is the non-academic aspects of scientists’ minds, and their experiences. That explains my “lurking” :)
    Some of the posts here have been pretty eye-opening, and helped me understand what I experience as I enter the scientific community myself!
    Thank you very much!

  • ither

    As a dead languages Orientalist, I understand very little of what I read here, but do keep on coming back for more, if only for the intellectual engagement of the writers.

  • Joel Grant

    I am just an average middle-aged guy who is fascinated by much of what I read here. At a certain point, it might as well be written in Aztec, but otherwise I find the articles and discussions here to be a wonderful change of pace from everday life on a softare development team.

    Now I shall go back to my typical lurker role.

  • Will Diamond

    I’m a high school senior in Chicago, IL (U of C Lab Schools) and will be heading to Yale next year, probably studying math, physics, or something related. I have been reading this site for maybe a month or so. I only really discovered how fun physics and math can be a year ago, since the math/science curriculum is really anti-intellectual throughout much of school. My physics teacher has really convinced me that math and physics are as beutiful as any of the arts, and he’s guiding me in GR self study right now (starting with semi-pop treatments before I hunker down with the math).

    It is really heartening to see that professional physicists think about some of the same things as “regular” people. My parents are both economists, and they sort of guide me away from physics because it is so hard and so “useless.” This blog is certainly increasing the probability that I end up majoring in physics.

  • kapakapa

    A retiree with no science background, but I really enjoy outreach lectures and popular books on astronomy/cosmology. Some topics fly over my head, but there are a good mix of topics here to entertain everyone.

    American scientists seem to be forced into the ID/creationist debate probably much more than they would like to engage themselves in. It is a bizarre feature of an otherwise so technologically advanced nation.

    I do also like political topics every once in a while. For a nation engaged in a major war longer than the WWII, producing over a million refugees and possibly 500,000 Iraqi deaths, it does seem to me the homeland is somewhat dissociated from all that.

    Thank you for such a fascinating site.

  • VY

    I am probably one of the younger readers of Cosmic Variance – a high school freshman from Hong Kong. Been reading this blog since September 2006, and I have to say that I find it immensely interesting. What I don’t understand is why I seem to be the only one at school who is interested in physics enough to read about it.

    Anyway, back to lurking…

  • Jürgen


    I’m a Math and Physics student from central Europe (Austria). I’m just enjoying to read the great posts in this blog.


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  • Michael B


    Medical student lurker here. I’m interested in just about all branches of science and love reading about the latest scuttlebutt in the parallel scientific world of physics/astronomy/mathematics. The closest I got to the physics on this blog was a brief and stormy affair with quantum mechanics in my physical chemistry class in undergrad. Phew, I’m glad that’s over! Keep up the good work, educating the unwashed masses.


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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


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