So you want to become a particle physicist, but you're just not sure which area of research is best suited to your temperament. Never fear, special snowflakes! Symmetry magazine now has a fun personality quiz* to help you find out your physics destiny.
Unlike getting a PhD in particle physics, the multiple choice quiz is really easy. Would you rather go hiking alone or whitewater rafting with your pals? If you won a million dollars, would you invest it or travel around the world? Who has better hair, Einstein or Tesla? And so on.
My result? Apparently I should study extra dimensions:
Maybe you're conflicted, being pulled in different directions — or dimensions, rather. If you feel like you're spread thin, you can better understand one of the most challenging questions in fundamental physics: Why is gravity so much weaker than the other forces?
Electromagnetism is 1039 times stronger than gravity, yet gravity is apparent in everyday life, holding objects to the surface of the Earth and the Earth in its ellipse around the sun. What gives?
Your research may answer that. You experience four dimensions — three spatial dimensions and one dimension of time — but if there were more than four dimensions (maybe 10 like string theory suggests) and gravity can act in all dimensions, its strength could be diluted in our four-dimensional world.
*This should not need saying, but the quiz is entirely in fun and is not even remotely scientific.
Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago