Sunday, August 01, 2010

More SciFoo 2010 notes

Some quick notes. I don't know if I'll have the energy to put in a full set of links, but you can pursue any of these topics with your own google searches. I'm sure I missed a lot of good sessions -- too much good stuff going on :-)

Great talk on the Pirahã and Chomsky's universal grammar by Dan Everett. (The Pirahã have no words for distinct numbers and no recursion!)

Long discussion with Erik Verlinde about his idea that gravity is an emergent entropic force.

Dinosaurs and reptiles cannot gallop, with the exception of one weird crocodile -- Paul Sereno.

Ed Felton can uniquely identify individual physical objects (e.g., a particular sheet of paper) using an optical scanner, and, using cryptography, produce a digital signature (i.e., printed directly on the object) that proves that the particular object isn't counterfeit. This has tons of interesting applications.

Frank Wilczek got me excited about graphene. Max Tegmark got me intrigued about 21 cm radio waves and a funny FFT telescope.

Tsutomu Shimomura's startup may drastically reduce the cost of LED lighting.

Sendhil Mullainathan's research explores the psychological consequences of scarcity.

A few more photos from the closing session. Sorry my photos are so boring but we got a warning from one of the Google organizers right at the beginning not to take photos outside of certain restricted areas. Earlier post here.


Marc said...

Presumably attendance at SciFOO is by invite only?

steve hsu said...

Yes. It's quite a group. I asked Danny Kahneman about some stuff from the interview below while waiting for a urinal.

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