Not to scare you, but you're getting hit with radiation constantly. First, there's just regular old light (yep, that's a kind of radiation). Then there are low levels of higher energy radiation such as the kind in nuclear reactors, including particles coming out of the soil and off of bananas. But the highest-energy radiation is the weirdest stuff. It's literally out of this galaxy.
Tagged With particle physics
Thunderclouds rolled into the Japanese beach town of Uchinada early one December morning in 2015. The scientists expected the storms; they'd staked out the location specifically for studying something normally only seen by satellites. Sometime after 5am, a flash of lightning struck a wind turbine. And along came a more perplexing weather phenomenon, too: The thunderstorm turned into a particle accelerator and blasted gamma radiation at the ground.
Tattoos are very cool and I do not want to say bad things about them. Evidence of tattooing dates back thousands of years, and the art form has a long history across the world in various cultures. Tattooing has associations with wealth, crime, or seafaring depending on where in history you look. Today, there's no denying tattoos are everywhere.
Particle accelerators have a lot of important jobs, such as looking for new stuff by slamming beams of old stuff together. But a new particle accelerator observation has managed to be important while doing almost precisely the opposite of what we'd expect. Physicists have found evidence for hard-to-detect stuff by, well, not slamming particles together.
Physicists make a lot of statements about stuff they hope will happen, but might not happen in their lifetimes. One physicist, for example, thought that in certain cases, the incredibly common but hard-to-detect neutrino particles would somehow make entire atomic nuclei wiggle. He thought it a silly idea to even propose, given how difficult such a measurement would be to make.
You're probably aware that stuff is made from particles. But the second most abundant particle in the universe, the neutrino, refuses to be fully understood. This tiny and elusive speck only barely interacts with the other particles that make up us humans and our galaxy. Its mysteries continue to confound the public and get scientists talking, to this day.
One of the most well-accepted physical theories makes no logical sense. Quantum mechanics, the theory that governs the smallest possible spaces, forces our human brains to accept some really wacky, uncomfortable realities. Maybe we live in a world where certain observations can force our universe to branch into multiple ones. Or maybe actions in the present influence things earlier in time.
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have discovered an exciting new particle — or rather, an exciting combination of particles. It doesn't have quite the same impact that the Higgs Boson (the one people called the God Particle) did five years ago. But it does have people talking, and many folks are thinking about a controversial set of results from an older experiment.
Physicist Usama Hussain laughed uncomfortably every time the conversation even got close to the question, "Do you look for nothing?" His professors would kill him if they heard him agree with that. After all, he's technically looking for a brand new particle that may or may not exist, with the hopes that it might help explain some of the Universe's weirdness.
Four British schoolboys had just been called from class. They were 10 days away from their A-level exams, the ones that determine the direction the rest of their lives would take, but they'd been interrupted from their studies to discuss the deepest secrets of the universe — their work hunting for the magnetic monopole at the Large Hadron Collider.
If I were in America, the TSA agent would have called in backup on the spot and I would have received a long questioning. I had just asked the airport security agent if I could leave my laptop open as it rolled through the x-ray scanner. I pointed to the black thumb drive-looking thing sticking out of my USB port. I told them all I wanted to do was test the radiation levels using the attachment, the MiniPix USB particle camera.
There are a vocal minority of folks who simply don't want to drink pasteurised milk. Maybe they're worried about the nutritional content, or not getting the good bacteria they need. Sure, they're potentially subjecting themselves to tuberculosis or a Listeria infection, but it's still a vocal group.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Hiding in the suburbs behind trees and a meadow with furry brown donkeys is a warehouse with an elevator that only visits negative floors. Hundreds of feet down, hyper complex detectors inside an octagonal tube the colour and size of a large barn whistle loudly and peer like cameras at protons, the positively charged bits at the center of every atom. Those cameras may have just produced an exotic phase of matter in a brand new way. Maybe.
Conceptually, particle physics experiments are surprisingly simple. Smash a buttload of particles together, and look at what comes out. The results will either confirm whatever the business-as-usual theory is, or, if there's a really crystal clear deviation from that theory, they might prove some new hypothesis about some new particles. But the middle ground, where the difference between what we know and what we see is still fuzzy, is where a lot of results live.