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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Current reading

Adventures of a Physicist - Luis Alvarez.

Luis Alvarez is a personal hero of mine, and to be frank, I don't admire very many people, and not very much. What I admire about him is his boundless sense of curiousity and his incredible ingenenuity at finding ways to satisfy that curiousity.

Luis Alvarez experimentally confirmed the positive charge nature of cosmic rays (highly accelerated nuclei), electron K-capture decay, and meson-catalyzed fusion. He also invented phased-array radar and the first aircraft ground-control landing system. He performed important work in the Manhattan Project, mainly involving the complex triggering mechanism for the plutonium device.

Wandering outside the realm of physics, In conjunction with his son Walter, Luis Alvarez has seemingly solved the mystery of the dinosaur die-off. Their theory of a cosmic impact being responsible for the K/T extinction is widely accepted today.

A great man with a truly great mind.


fish said...


Welcome back.

If you get the chance you might want to pickup a copy of "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Cliff Stoll. Its one the earlier "Hacker Tracker" books and describes Stoll's tracking and eventual location of a hacker in West Germany who was using Berkeley computers to hide stolen data. He couldn't figure out a time lag issue between between his computer and the hacker. Luis Alvarez put him straight! Pretty decent read!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!


Idaho_Spud said...

Heya fish,

Congrats on being the first commenter on my blog! It only took 5 months... in a few millenia I'll be as big as Yahoo :)

Thanks for the tip on this book (as well as the comment). I'll check it out on Amazon, and if I like it, maybe pick it up at B&N tonight.

Thanks for the tip bro, and happy T-giving to you amigo. Try not to fall asleep during football bro ;)