Archive for May 10th, 2007

Superfluid Helium: follow-up

May 10, 2007

I have mentioned grain boundaries and resistance less flow in solid Helium a couple of times here and elsewhere. Chad Orzel at Uncertain principles comments on the Physics Web article on the issue, and calls for more explanations; in the comments section, Doug Natelson and others do some explaining, while Doug also gives a link to this blogpost of Incoherent Ponderer, who, in turn links to plenty of resources (and is also a bit miffed that theorists are getting a lion’s share of credits). From all the discussion, I see that it is grain boundary (and, probably a liquid phase at the grain boundary) which seems to be the most probable candidate that would explain the phenomena.

Open access — the need of the hour!

May 10, 2007

Here is an opinion piece from The Harvard Crimson (via Abi) on the need for open access:

Our professors do the research. They write the papers and proofread them. They even do the peer review. Then they sign the copyright over to publishers, who don’t pay them a dime—they’re paid by grants and salary, our taxes, and tuition.

Harvard then pays again for the journals—many of them over $10,000 each—and most of us feel personally the bite each term when we buy our sourcebooks. Many of these cost upwards of $100 not because they’re on paper rather than online (printing costs pennies a page), but because of the fees charged by publishers like Elsevier (1,387 journals ranging across academia) and Wiley (348 journals), some higher than $1 per page.

That’s three ways we pay for the same research, writing, proofreading, and peer review. Even Harvard has found the cost too high, and has cut down on its subscriptions.

Here is the letter of Don Knuth (pdf) that the piece refers to, in case you are interested.