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“The particle and the planet are subject to the same laws and what is learned of one will be known of the other.” -James Smithson Now that the Higgs has been discovered, the Standard Model is complete. But are there any other new particles? If asymptotic safety is right — and it’s looking like the…

“Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” -Alan Guth So, you’ve heard the big news by now, no doubt? Primordial B-modes have been detected in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background! But…

The 3 most surprising elements (Synopsis)

“We cannot conceive of matter being formed of nothing, since things require a seed to start from… Therefore there is not anything which returns to nothing, but all things return dissolved into their elements.” -William Shakespeare Every element found on Earth was made in either the Big Bang or the cores of stars… except these…

Why the world needs Cosmos (Synopsis)

“The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.” -Carl Sagan I haven’t been shy about sharing my hopes for the new Cosmos series, which aired its first episode earlier this week. Personally, I thought it was good, even though it wasn’t the series I would have…

Do black holes exist? The world’s most famous scientist vs. the actual science. “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the Universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” -Stephen Hawking Here in our little corner of the Universe, the Earth is a pretty intense source of…

“Illusion is the first of all pleasures.” -Oscar Wilde It’s tough to tell fact from fiction, and sometimes just as hard to tell reality from illusion. As long as you’re enjoying yourself this weekend, I’d have to agree with Buckwheat Zydeco, and say Let The Good Times Roll. But despite what these images you’re looking…

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” -Albert Einstein The Mars Curiosity Rover and the Mars Science Laboratory mission are so important that writing about the landing, going on the news, and writing about it again simply wasn’t enough. So when the Portland Tribune called…

Your First Year in Physics Grad School

Teacher Writes on Blackboard: “The Method of Guessing” Student: “What! There’s a method???????” Teacher: “Yeah, there’s even a proof!” -overheard in a physics grad school As a physics professor, one of the challenges I face is how to advise young students nearing the end of their undergraduate career on how to succeed in graduate school…

“There was an old man with a beard, Who said: ‘It is just as I feared! Two owls and a hen, Four larks and a wren Have all built their nests in my beard!” -Edward Lear No better song for this week than an early, live version of Jeff Tweedy‘s Bob Dylan’s 49th Beard.Some of…

Hubble for the Holidays: Have a Cigar!

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the Universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” -Edwin Hubble I promised you, this week, we’d be taking a look at the power of the Hubble Space Telescope. Yesterday, we looked at Eta Carinae, but today, I decided to look a little farther. Have a listen to…