Is cold the new hot?

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 | 4 min read
Categories: Physics,
Tags: Thermodynamics, Quantum Mechanics,
Note: This article was originally published on astroibrahim on April 17, 2013. Yes. A few days back, a friend shared an article with me. It talked of how scientists had managed to achieve temperatures below absolute zero. Does it mean that temperature has to be redefined? Has our understanding of thermodynamics been flawed for the past hundred years. No, it turns out. It is all a matter of semantics. Absolute Zero.

Gravitational Slingshots

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 | 3 min read
Categories: Physics,
Tags: Gravity, Classical Mechanics,
Note: This article was originally published on astroibrahim on Apr 10, 2013. I always wondered why doesn’t the sun slow space probes down when they are leaving the Earth for outer planets. Isn’t there a risk that the probe might change its trajectory and fall into the sun? There is. You see, the more distant the space probe gets from the Sun, the more potential energy it gains. However, energy must be conserved at all costs.

A case study in choosing algorithms

Sunday, Aug 14, 2016 | 3 min read
Categories: Engineering, Physics,
Tags: Algorithms,

This past year, I have been crunching data from dark matter simulations. Data size can get pretty large when it comes to scientific computing. As I write this post, I have a script running on 3.8 TB (that’s right – 3,700 gigabytes) of cosmic particles. At these levels one starts thinking about parallelizing computations. And therein lay my dilemma and a soon to be learned lesson.