For part of the year I ran a series of posts about “crackpots who were right” . This was the conclusion and it made it to number 10. The series as a whole did very well but none of the other individual posts were as popular.
I also had a short but popular series of posts about conservation of energy in general relativity in which I argued at length with a number of other physicists who thought otherwise. This included a nice equation that shows how energy conservation works in a standard cosmology, something that many people claimed was not possible.
In an additional post I debunked a claim by Lawrence Krauss that energy is zero only in a flat universe, a claim that he had used to debunk religion! Krauss graciously responded but sadly I could not draw him into a longer discussion.
8 - Suzy at Last?
With many posts about the Large Hadron Collider and progress on its commissioning, it was a good time to speculate about what it might soon find. Personally I favour supersymmetry although we now know that this year’s data has only served to constrain the allowed parameter space. It will be interesting to see what come up next year.
The LHC did some heavy ion collisions at the end of the year with spectacular results but the post that had the most hits was one about the report that a quark gluon plasma may even have been seen in single proton collisions
An especially nice outcome of this post was that I got to have a pint with Mike Duff and his students and talk about M-theory and their work on relations with quantum information theory. This inspired my recent contribution to the FQXi essay contest.
The BBC ran a program about various theories proposed by a number of high profile physicists about what existed before the big bang. It was a bit misleading and unbalanced since it ignored the fact that many cosmologists still think there was “no before”.
Some people don’t like these kind of highly speculative theories and think it is bad science, but I think you have to be prepared to think outside the box and see where it takes you so that in time the correct theory can be found. So on the whole I thought it was a good program.
I was the first to blog about the paper by Penrose and Gurzadyan who claimed to have found circles in the WMAP CMB data. This was later disputed by other cosmologists but I don’t think the matter is completely resolved. Perhaps the more detailed data from the Planck observatory will answer the question when it becomes available. An interesting aspect of this story was the fact that peer-review had no part in it. The paper submitted to the arXiv and underwent blog review. Do we still need the journals?
This was claimed proof of the well known mathematical problem that carries a million dollar price tag. Deolalikar is an independent mathematician who works for HP. They issued a press release about the discovery that got a lot of attention. The validity of Mathematical proofs is easier to resolve than physics theories and in this case the proof was found wanting after heavy discussion on other blogs. Again the official peer review process was not needed. Although there were not many comments here the interest in this story was so high that it made it to number three.
When the fields medals were announced I was one of the first to report the results. One field medallist in particular became a national hero in his home country of Vietnam and there was a lot of interest from there making this the second most popular post of the year, wow!
And finally the most popular post was appropriately my anti-crackpot index designed to counter the Baez crackpot index. I have a feeling that this one will continue to get hits for a very long time.