Archives for December, 2011

The Large Hadron Collider, the Higgs, and Hope

“There are no physicists in the hottest parts of hell, because the existence of a ‘hottest part’ implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of hell comfortably cool.” -Richard Davisson The Large Hadron Collider is the most powerful particle…

Weekend Diversion: The Monster Engine

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” -Georgia O’Keeffe There are secret dreams, hopes, and fears that live inside the heads of all of us. And it’s one of the highest forms of art to release those internal…

“Life is not a miracle. It is a natural phenomenon, and can be expected to appear whenever there is a planet whose conditions duplicate those of the Earth.” -Harold Urey One of the most exciting investigations going on right now in space is NASA’s Kepler Mission, which is on the hunt for planets beyond our…

The Speed Limit of Matter: Charged Particles

“Alas! must it ever be so? Do we stand in our own light, wherever we go, And fight our own shadows forever?” -Edward Bulwer-Lytton Ever since it was conjectured that the speed of light was the ultimate speed limit of the Universe, we have tried — with the most powerful of our tools — to…

“Every time you look up at the sky, every one of those points of light is a reminder that fusion power is extractable from hydrogen and other light elements, and it is an everyday reality throughout the Milky Way Galaxy.” -Carl Sagan (This post is coauthored by Dr. Peter Thieberger, Senior Physicist at Brookhaven National…

Weekend Diversion: Lasercut Science Goodness

“Welcome, new comers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it!” -Frank Costanza, Seinfeld With the winter solstice and the end of the year approaching, the short days, long nights, and the annual holiday frenzy can be…

“I have long held an opinion… that the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest have one common origin; or, in other words, are so directly related and mutually dependent, that they are convertible, as it were, one into another, and possess equivalents of power in their action.” -Michael Faraday For…

A Martian Treat for Now, Later and Forever!

“Years of science fiction have produced a mindset that it is human destiny to expand from Earth, to the Moon, to Mars, to the stars.” -Barney Oliver Just five days ago, the newest rover sent to Mars, Curiosity, was successfully launched aboard an Atlas V rocket. But if you’re anything like me, you can’t just…