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This website offers a bunch of tools for the curious physicist such as cloud genereration:
Mine sounds very german with "de Sitter" and "Schwinger". It is also possible to relate a given researcher to others, such that by searching "Clément Stahl", I realized I was very close from William C C Lima, Luca Buoninfante and Markku Oksanen which I have never heard of but I am sure are very nice kind people that it would be very interesting to meet. Maybe they are some sort of double of me, the only way to check is to go to Brazil, Italy and Finland. It is also possible to see that searching "Jorge Noreña", he is very close to Marko Simonović, Enrico Pajer, or Leonardo Senatore. I made a second cloud with my closer collaborators at the moment:

Petits casse-têtes pour se détendre

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J'ai rassemblé ici quelques énigmes qui m'ont intriguées les jours précédents. Pour ceux qui veulent les solutions, elles se trouvent ici mais je vous encourage à chercher car elles ne sont pas très dures (niveau fin terminale, début université).

On Alcubierre wrap drive

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I was recently invited to present some views on the Alcubierre wrap drive for the self journal of science. The Alcubierre wrap drive is a proposal to travel in the universe faster than light without violating special relativity. You can find here a review of a couple of founding articles together with some more modern works. For each article, I share some of my personal views on them.

The Quantum world

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quantum I recently stumble on a very nice video of one of my previous teacher Terry Rudolph. Terry is a character and I had the chance to spend a year working with him in his group on quantum dots and "the photon machine gun".
In the aforementioned video, Terry is sharing his point of view on the quantum world for a non-specialist public. As usual, his speech is refreshing and fun so if you want to see a theoretician drinking beer during one of his talk and discussing monkey reality as opposed to reality, feel free to sleep on this amusing video.
Terry and his collaborators showed what is now referred to as the PBR theorem which merely states that under some fair assumptions, the wave function has actually a physical meaning. It is quite of an open question for the physicist to know whether the wave function is only a computation tool to calculate physical quantities in quantum mechanics or is indeed a "real thing". Some specialists believe that this result is one of the more important in quantum mechanics in the past 30 years.
Image Credit : Andy Hair/iStockphoto

A reading list

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John Marshall
The last week before the Christmas holidays, I had the chance to go back to my beloved home region: Alsace and to give lectures about cosmology and philosophy to high school students there. I was assisted of my good friend and newly doctor Maxime Enderli.
Usually, at the end of my lecture, I gave the students a list of books that was meant to help them to go further than my humble intervention. I feel that the list might interest the readers so I leave it on the blog.
-The evolution of physics, A. Einstein et L. Infeld, 1938: I mainly remember of a long conceit between physics and a police inquiry. Trying to understand nature is done by collecting clues one by one. Interestingly enough, writing this book at the begginig was just an excuse to save the jewish Leopold Infeld from the nazi's claws. Anecdotally, it has eventually become a bestseller. This books came to my hand in the university of Paris thanks to my good friend cosmologist Clément Martinache.
-M. Tompkins, G. Gamow, 1940: An interesting essay based on the idea that the weird and counter-intuitive effects of general relativity and quantum mechanics are present in our everyday lives. It was another good friend from my university JB Durrive who draw my attention to this book.
-Poussière d'étoile, Hubert Reeves, 1984: Amazing french popularizer, all of his books are good. This book speaks about formation of chemical elements. The focus is on the elements formed inside stars by fusion reactions. It was my first book which spoke about astrophysics and I remember discovering the mysteries of the stars while hiking in the Pyrénées.
-QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, R. Feynman, 1985: I just finished this nice book from the american master of popularization: R. Feynman. His aims are to explain complicated topics of physics (in this case Quantum Electrodynamics) withou any mathematical background required. Most of Feynmann books are refreshing and advisable. Again it is a physics friend Pierre Jouvre who told me about this book.
-Faster than the speed of light : the story of a scientific speculation, Magueijo, João, 2003: João Magueijo was my general relativity teacher in Imperial College. I quite liked the book eventhough the opinion of the author are sometimes quite controversial. The book is full of fun anecdotes about the author's life. For instance, the time he got an epifany while peeing on a tree during a night in Goa or the time that a student asked for a beer during an exam in Cambridge in agreement with the existing laws. Inflation and near to the big-bang physics are well popularized.
-Le cosmos et le lotus, Trinh Xuan Thuan, Albin Michel, 2011: A bit like Hubert Reeves, all his books are well written and discuss more about astrophysics than cosmology.
-The cosmic cocktail, Katherine Freese, Princeton university press, 2014, A book which popularize the latest development in cosmology, especially regarding dark matter. It is also full of anecdotes about the author's personal life which renders the book living and informative.
-Les coulisses de la création, Karol Beffa and Cédric Villani, 2015: I just stumbled on this book during the christmas holiday with my family and I read it in 24 hours. It is based on a dialog between the two authors which discuss the process of creating something. Cédrid Villani is mathematician and Karol Beffo componist so the debate is living and intersting, there were student together in Ecole Normale Supérieure and have a lot of fun anecdotes about that period. They give their opinion on a ranging number of topic like the place of women in science and the way their respective disciple is taught.