September 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
“In our picture, quarks and gluons can’t flutter in and out of existence unless they are inside hadrons,” says team member Craig Roberts of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. As a result, the vacuum is much calmer and, crucially, the problem it poses for the cosmological constant is reduced. Read the full story at NewScientist
More brain food. Yummy.
- Reexamining nothing: is the vacuum of space really empty? (arstechnica.com)
- Gravitational lens makes dark energy less mysterious (arstechnica.com)
- Expanding Universe and the Mysterious Force of Dark Energy (brighthub.com)
July 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
At the International Conference on High Energy Physics someone said something about Supersymmetry. These guys are talking way over my head. But it sounds very exciting and I want to understand. Is there someone who can dumb it down just a little for me? I guess what I want to know is this, does this support the theory of Supersymmettry? Super Gravity? M-Theory? Does it undermine the standard model? Does it mean anything? Where are Brian Cox, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku when I need them.
Heavy Long-lived Particles at the LHC
“It’s reassuring that from day one the LHC plunges into out-of-the-box searches that some call exotic. My hunch is that, if there’s any new physics at the TeV scale at all, it will take some unexpected form that will require non-standard techniques to discover. And the added value is that in these less explored corners of particle phenomenology interesting results and non-trivial limits can be obtained relatively fast, even during the first year of the LHC running.”
“The CMS experiment presented results from their program to search for another type of exotic particle—stopped gluinos. These particles, if created in LHC collisions, would stop in the CMS detector, live a relatively long time compared to the infinitesimal lifetimes of particle like a top quark, and then decay into other particles. CMS physicists hunt these particles by collecting data between collisions of bunches of protons in the LHC beam. The DZero experiment has previously searched for the particles, and determined that they could not exist with a lifetime longer than 30 microseconds. With only a few months’ worth of data, CMS has now excluded the existence of these particles with a lifetime between 75 nanoseconds and 6 microseconds.”
July 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
The race is on, or continuing between the LHC and the Tevatron. Regular readers know of my passion for particle physics. I find the work they are doing at the accelerators endlessly fascinating. Will they find this Higgs? Personally I don’t think so. Can I back that up with a reasoned argument? Nope. But, there are some very brilliant theoretical physicists who can. My point, I don’t have a horse in this race. I am watching it for the beauty of the game. It is beautiful.
“Steve Myers, CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, presented the LHC schedule for the next 10 years today in the first plenary presentation at the International Conference on High Energy Physics. Myers also presented his predictions for the amount of data that the LHC may collect over the same time period. These predictions over the next few years will be scrutinized closely by scientists at Fermilab’s Tevatron, who have proposed extending the accelerator’s life for a further 3 years.” Read full Story»
July 26, 2010 § 3 Comments
* The diagram below outlines the major Eras of the Universe according to the Big Bang Theory. Click the picture for many more details and a larger image. The one line in the article that caught my attention the most was at the end.
“One important point is that since everything that we learn about the Universe comes from light (photons), if there are no photons there is no information. Thus, before the end of the era of nuclei, we have no information since the photons were trapped. We will never see this era of the Universe with photons, but maybe gravity waves (?).”
That is a point that has been bothering me. Since we can’t “see” most of the Universe why do some (not all) scientists cling so tightly to one theory to the exclusion of all others? Isn’t it possible the standard model is wrong? Or, Isn’t is possible string theory is wrong? or M-theory? or even the Big Bang Theory? People use to think the theory of a geocentric universe was true. We agreed to get over that. Well, most of us did. I am just saying Science is about keeping an open mind about the facts. And the facts are, at the moment, most of the Universe is still invisible.
July 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
This was ‘The question‘ posed by Andrew Brown, of the Guardian. Every week the Guardian poses a question and their panel of experts speak their minds. Susan Blackmore’s response was insightful and inspiring.
“Science explains, not describes
The experience of consciousness seems incommunicable and ineffable. Yet science can hope to explain how it arises
When Andrew Brown first posed this week’s question to me he asked “Can science describe everything?”. My instant, unreflective reply was “No”. He implied that this might be a less restrictive question than “Can science explain everything” and yet my instant reaction to this one was “Yes”. I’d like to explore this curious difference….” Please click here to read the rest of her post.
July 4, 2010 § 1 Comment
This is one of my favorite TED talks by Richard Dawkins. It is a very beautiful way of explaining the way we evolved to look at the world.
June 28, 2010 § 1 Comment
I am not really sure how mainstream The Crossword Blog of The New York Times is, but I was very pleasantly surprised to see a Numberplay puzzle based on Spooky Action at a Distance. I think it is great when mainstream media makes physics, and science in general, fun and entertaining. I already think they are but for some reason the general public finds quantum mechanics dull. We need to find more ways like this to wake them up.