The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason

Intriguing title, no? These are the first eleven words of Neal Stephenson’s novel Seveneves, which set up the remaining 600 pages as an extended treatise on the future of humanity as it copes with certain annihilation. I thoroughly recommend it, as long as you can deal with hundreds of pages of orbital mechanics. In this post I will numerically explore this post-lunar age, to verify for myself if it would be as deadly as described.

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The Travelling Artist Problem

This is the second in a series of posts involving the travelling salesman problem, somehow even more frivolous than the first. This is no coincidence, as I have recently been reading the excellent book ‘In Pursuit of the Travelling Salesman‘, which goes into great detail on the history of the problem and algorithmic techniques for tackling it. The topic which caught my eye was decidedly less technical, as we shall see below.

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Synchrotron Radiation

I was recently at CERN for one of their accelerator schools, learning about new and potentially disruptive plasma-based particle accelerator technology (disclaimer alert – the subject of my PhD). In honour of such a famous institution, I though I’d write about the worst enemy of CERN (and the friend of plasma accelerators) – synchrotron radiation.

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