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De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Posted in 2011

Re-flows

my article on the flows of Reneyi entropy has finally appeared in press, this is the link to Physical Review B.

Be yourself

From Lukas 8:

16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

This I read as: be yourself, while you keep the emitting abilities. Don’t try to adjust your light, so it looks fancier or more standard. Don’t try to hide or mask it if ashamed with it or not sure of its existence. Or?

Nicolas Gisin

has continued yesterday a tradition of star talks in our Department. Prof. Gisin is a pioneer of commercial use of quantum technologies and one of selected scientists who manage to enforce his own research agenda upon the rest of the world.

Yet it remains its own research agenda, and he has clearly demonstrated this in the course of his talk. For me, the most fascinating and valueable part was the first one where he talked about device-independent Quantum Key Distribution. Two other topics seem more optics-bound.

Manifestly non-Gaussian fluctuations

in superconductor-normal metal tunnel nanostructures is a title of a new arXiv submission of me and my thrusted Finnish collaborators Matti Laakso and Tero Heikkillä. You can read it here.

In short, the paper is about making a commandable Maxwell daemon in SNS structures. Here is a detailed abstract:

We propose a mesoscopic setup which exhibits strong and manifestly non-Gaussian fluctuations of energy and temperature when suitably driven out of equilibrium. The setup consists of a normal metal island (N) coupled by tunnel junctions (I) to two superconducting leads (S), forming a SINIS structure, and is biased near the threshold voltage for quasiparticle tunneling. The fluctuations can be measured by monitoring the time-dependent electric current through the system, which makes the setup suitable for the realization of feedback schemes which allow to stabilize the temperature to the desired value.

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Elections to the Works(?)council

Guess I lived longer than my reason and got politically engaged after all. Today there are elections to the Works(?)council of our university. Not sure I translate this correctly: it is a rather artificial organ that supposed to represent the employeers at highest university level. It is requred by Dutch law. It’s first time in my TU Delft career I went so far as to vote. I voted for an only independent candidate in the list since I like hopeless enterprises in general. Besides, he’s some good points concerning transparency and languages (one quarter of TU Delft employers do not master Dutch).

Superconducting topology

rocks: our March cond-mat submission with Dima Pikulin,
Topological properties of superconducting junctions has finally made it in press. You can upload the published text here.

The publication of the article did not proceed as planned. In fact, I’m very much frustated and dissapointed with severe cases of reading disability we had to cope in course of peer review of this article in Physical Review Letters. A friend has suggested that these cases have been caused by some “non-nuanced critisism” from our side. Perhaps. Though I thought that such mechanism of pathogenesis is typical for children rather than for adults. Perhaps I had to take into account that the referees nowadays are significantly younger than me, and behave accordingly.

Seriously, I regard this article as one of the highlights of my scientific career. I’m upset with misunderstandings encountered. Fortunately, there are countries and publishing houses where real physics is still appreciated:).

Parliamentary questions

I’m rather fed up with the publication I mentioned and fuss around, yet since I’ve started the topic I have to go on.

Our MP’s read newspapers as well. To understand the read better, they’ve formulated several questions to the minister (in our time of deep saving measures, she’s not only minister of education, she also runs culture, science and public-paid television). The questions vary from innocent: have you read the article? to provocative: do you think it is fair that the university uses public budget money to pay lawsuits against the government and fines imposed on the top-brass?

I’d be interested to learn her answer.

Ondernemende universiteit in zwaar weer

is the title of the bad publication that has (yet with a week of (optionally repentant) delay-time) appeared in NRC Handelsblad last Saturday. Translated from poetic-bureaucratic Dutch, it just means “Enterprising university in trouble”(that’s our TU Delft). A muckraker obviously got hands on some old internal financial accounting reports as well as on some accounts of the confindential meetings our beloved top-brass. Very well, he’s made his job: with few playing cards in hand, he maganed to draw an astonishing and hardly attractive picture of our University. Quite expectedly, illustrated with a photograph of a fire that destroyed one of our buildings four years ago. Funny they haven’t added the portraits of students tortured in course of their initiation to student societies.

That felt pretty nostalgic to me. Chernukha, a russian word rooted in ‘black’. Though could be translated as ‘muckraking’ it surpasses the latter by scale, like ‘Black square’ of magnificient Malevich surpasses any painting ever. Chernukha is a genre of journalism that differs from libel in such a way that each statement taken apart is rather innocent and can not cause a lawsuit, while their skifull combination should make the reader depressed, remorse any possible association with organisation/subject/topic under consideration, and finally fountain-vomit. Chernukha is much stronger than libel: it’s contibuted quite a bit to the fall of Soviet state… Thus encouraged, I’ve carefully checked the text for missing articles, occurencres of double negation and traces of declensional inflections: nothing, no sign of my wonderful mothertong, the author must be close to native Dutch.

What surprised me beyond any measure is an overwhelmingly excessive, almost hillarious reaction of our beloved top-brass. The warning about the publication was issued a week in advance. Precisely an hour before the newspaper get to subscribers one can read on the web-site of our university a point-by-point rebuttal of the article (encompassing at least a half of the points, good score!). Next day the rebuttal has been translated in English: to reach those who had no chance to comprehend the Dutch-language article. This is given by the fact that the article in question was not available freely on internet (now it is here, thanks to an anonymous road engineer). In fact, the article was reliably buried in the forty-pages saturday edition. I read it by my friends who subscribe. It took us 5 minutes to find the article in this paper heap. From this, I would estimate the potential audience by 100 persons. The relentless efforts of the top-brass have probably brough the audience to ten thousand. Wonder if in addition to the sins listed somebody has also a secret share in Handelsblad distribution…

Dissipative quantum mechanics

is a chapter from the text-book we write with Jeroen Danon. We work rather slowly than steadily and the deadline is already approaching. We need to accelerate. As a part of the acceleration, I just revised the text of this chapter. It still needs more polishing work. If you wish, you can sample this chapter here. Yet in this case you owe me a comment…

No bad publication?

It is interesting to note that ‘bad’ newspaper article mentioned in my previous post has not appeared as scheduled. It was supposed to be a part of saturday edition of NRC Handelsblad. Our university chairman call us to “brace yourself” on friday, yet no impact has followed.Is this the way to prevent unfortunate things to happen or just a delay given to us to think through the stuff? Anycase, let His will prevail.

¬© 2011 TU Delft