Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New kid on the blog


My name is John and I've recently been asked to take over this blog. I'll be writing about life in Sweden, Uppsala University, and tossing some physics in every now and again for good measure. But first of all, an introduction: who is John?

Me at Nikhef
Me at Nikhef, the Dutch National Institute for
 Subatomic Physics, which was right across the street
from where I lived in Amsterdam
I'm a first year masters student in physics, following the theoretical physics track. I was born in Scotland, but I moved around quite a lot as a child before finally settling down (for a while) in Calgary, Canada. Since this was where I lived longest, had practically all of my teenage years, and picked up my accent, if you ask me I'll say I'm Canadian (and I've got the passport to prove it). My bachelors degree is from Amsterdam University College (AUC) in the Netherlands, where I lived and studied for three years.

Theoretical physics wasn't always my goal. In fact, as recently as this year I was working on a project (which became my bachelors thesis) in computational plasma physics. But after doing this kind of applied work for some time I found myself being drawn back to theory (AUC has quite a theoretical programme), and that's where I am now.

I chose Uppsala for my masters degree primarily because of their impressive focus on physics and their flexible programme. It is very rare for physics to be one of the largest departments at a university, but this is the case at Uppsala. The physics department has 10 different divisions (I am planning on giving each one an individual post) and around 300 employees: researchers, lecturers, and PhD students. The master programme is set up in such a way that you have free choice from their wide course offerings, which is great if you have any areas that you may need to play catch-up on after your undergrad.

Uppsala is quite a bit smaller than Calgary or Amsterdam, which are both major cities, so living here has been a bit of an adjustment, but for the most part I'm somewhat surprised to say I'm actually enjoying the small town feel. Everywhere is within biking distance and in the centre it's not uncommon to bump into people you know on the street or in a café.

The rest of this blog will be dedicated to going into more detail about everyday life as well as academics at Uppsala. I'm aiming to post about once every 2 weeks or so (I do also have coursework to do). If you want updates, feel free to subscribe using the links in the side bar.

See you next time!


  1. Oh yeah, and feel free to leave a comment if there's anything in particular you want to hear about!

  2. We know there is proof of matter because we exist however...where is the actual proof of anti matter...I mean do we actually have some in a container somewhere or is it just a theory it exist. ..I mean if all the anti matter was destroyed on the big bang then how do we kno it really exist. ..kinda like darkness ya kno...we say darkness exist but does it really exist or it is just the absence of light?

    1. Yes, matter/antimatter annihilation. That's why we have as close to a perfect vacuum as possible so that it won't annihilate. They basically suck out all of the particles and induce an electric field to catch the remaining ones. So, the antihyydrogen particle has a longer chance of *survival* in the chamber.

      Matter and antimatter have been produced in equal amounts since the beginning of the universe, basically. The annihilation releases an amount of energy equivalent to the particle's mass. Particle/antiparticle annihilation naturally occurs billions of times daily, but it happens only in TEENY TINY amounts, so we don't really notice. A few kg or so of antimatter, however, can wipe out the Earth, basically. This is calculated by the mass-energy equivalence principle. Try it yourself: E=mc^2. Choose a mass and plug that in m and in 3.0*10^8 m/s for c. The energy output is insane

  3. Pope Francis said there is no GOD!!

    This is not so unlikely!!
    The naked truth is always better than the well-dressed lie. Now the right time has come to root out the superstition prevailing in any form, and the statement like this from a Catholic Priest is noteworthy.
    Pope Francis had declared that evolution and big bang are true few weeks ago.

    Universe is self sustaining and dynamic which originated via a process called big-bang which resulted due to the random quantum fluctuations in the inert space. In the topsy-turvy world of quantum mechanics, the pair of particle and antiparticle can pop out of nothing and this weird quantum mechanical random fluctuation is what created the cosmos.

    No magics are needed to operate the universe............