University @ iTunes

Apple Inc. has expanded their collaboration with top US colleges and universities, such that course lectures, talks, music etc. by members of Stanford University, UC Berkeley, MIT, and other leading universities, are made available for free from the iTunes store.

This place is called iTunes U.

It would be interesting to know, which lectures you’ll start downloading.

For a philosophers take on quantum mechanics, you could start with
“The Strange World of Quantum Reality”, by Jenann Ismael (Stanford philosophy talk).


Welcome to “The Fixed Point”

My old blog “Thoughts on science and life” has now successfully been moved to this new location (which has existed for quite some time now, but more or less inactive).

What is a fixed point? In mathematics, a fixed point can loosely be defined as follows. Imagine that there is a map f defined on a space V,

f: V –> V

Then x in V is a “fixed point” of f if, and only if,

f(x) = x.

Such fixed points occur in many different places, which I will talk more about later. One example is in the Ricci flows on Riemannian manifolds, which I’ve written about here. Another one is in renormalization group flows.

For a short introduction to fixed points (in mathematics), see the following article [wikipedia].

(Note: the name, “The Fixed Point”, and the address was registered and made public at WordPress in August, 2006)

String Theory: Crash Course

A Tool for Living in the 21st Century:

The excellent Seed magazine offers a cribsheet [PDF] which includes a basic introduction to string theory.

Prof. Clifford Johnson over at was an adviser.

Other interesting cribsheets are one on stem cells, and one on climate change.

Virginia Tech: Shootings

Today, at least 31 people were killed by a gunman at Virginia Tech, and many others were wounded. Originally it was thought, that only one person was dead.

Virginia Tech has closed and classes are canceled; the area is said to be secure.

These school/university shootings are just horrible. Will new gun laws be enforced by a Democratic president — Obama or Clinton?

It might be the deadliest school shooting in US history, but the story is not new; just a few of the earlier shootings in history (

Platte Canyon High School shooting (2006) — 2 dead,

Amish school shooting (2006) — 5 dead,

Rocori High School shooting (2003) — 2 dead,

Columbine High School massacre (1999) — 15 dead.

Related news at

Update: Lubos Motl has some speculations as to who the Virginia Tech gunman was. (It turned out to be student Cho Seung-hui of Virginia Tech).