The Academic Reader V0.02

We’ve introduced an updated version. New features include 31 extra feeds (all of the mathematics feeds at, the ability to browse backwards in time through feeds, and an announcement blog. Many more things are still to come! The announcement blog is at:

We have had a few problems with feed continuity – some articles from the arxiv have failed to show up, or have showed up late. We’re working on this, and things seem to be smoothing out.

Thanks to everyone who signed up, especially those who provided feedback – we have nearly 250 registered users!

Categorized as General

Introducing the Academic Reader

The Academic Reader is a new web site that makes it easier to keep track of your scientific reading. Rather than going to multiple websites every day to keep up, we pull all the sources together in a single location, so you can keep track easily. Sources include the preprint arXiv, the Physical Review, and Nature, and many new sources will be added in the months to come, including sources outside physics.

Visit version 0.01 of the site at

Update: Last week the preprint ArXiv overhauled its paper numbering. A side effect, which became visible just as we announced (!), is that their back-end interface for extracting paper data is currently completely down. They promise it’ll be back soon. In the meantime, the ArXiv feeds on the Academic Reader will be bit dated. Our apologies for that.

Update 2: The ArXiv appears to be back to normal.

Update 3: We had some server downtime for about 15 mins (around 0700 UTC) due to a hastily scheduled memory upgrade needed to speed things up (thanks everyone for registering!) Sorry if you got booted off the server – we’ll try to make this more transparent in future.

Categorized as General

What is the Universe made of? Part I

This post is, more than usual, a work in progress. It is the first draft of the first installment of a longer article on the subject “What is the Universe made of”. I intend to revise this draft and finish the longer article over the next few weeks, posting it to my blog as I make progress.

This first installment gives a bird’s-eye view of the subject, describing in very broad terms how ideas from particle physics, from cosmology, and from quantum gravity have contributed to our current understanding of what the Universe is made of. It’s really just a warm-up – subsequent installments will be meatier, describing in more detail each of these ideas, how they fit together, and some of the big questions that remain. The next installment will describe the standard model of particle physics in some detail.

The article is intended for a general audience, albeit one with a good grounding in basic science. Physicists hoping for a technical treatment will be disappointed. I certainly can’t claim any great expertise in the subject; while I’m a theoretical physicist, my work has been mostly on quantum information, not particle physics, cosmology, or quantum gravity, and I’m far from being expert on the topics discussed here. If you are an expert, and spot any errors, I’d appreciate hearing about them.

Here’s a link to the article. (PDF only, I’m afraid).