Science Caturday: The Latest from CERN

The super-advanced physics kitties at CERN (Chats Européens pour la Recherche Nucléaire) haz some good news and bad news. First the bad news:

3sigma

Oops. Luckily, they has builded anofer amazing particle accelerator thingie, and this one will crack it for sure. Introducing the

lhc

Oooooooh, shiny! Stay tuna-ed for moar updates.

photos via Cheezburger.com

Skeptically Speaking with Sean Carroll

Tonight I’ll be interviewing physicist Sean Carroll about his new book and particle physics as the guest host for Skeptically Speaking.

This week, we’re looking at one of the biggest science stories of 2012, and one of the largest instruments in the history of science. Guest hostMarie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour with theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of the new book The Particle at The End of The Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World. They’ll discuss the search for the particle that gives all the others their mass, the story of the Large Hadron Collider, and the challenge of communicating with a broad audience about difficult topics in cutting-edge physics. – Skeptically Speaking

You can listen in live via UStream at 8PM ET tonight 9 December, or catch the podcast version next Friday, 14 December.

The science journalism game of whispers

I’ve been hopping around the lab like a short order cook on the line for lunch hour*, but I can’t resist noting the degeneration of Higgs Boson headlines:

The real scoop, at Scientific American:

In short, the results, although preliminary, point with a high level of confidence to the existence of a Higgs-like particle…

What do you think of people calling the Higgs the “God particle”? Continue reading “The science journalism game of whispers”

The Art of Science – Particle Accelerator Art

Aten by Todd Johnson

There’s more to do with a particle accelerator than find the Higgs Boson. Artist Todd Johnson uses electron beams to create amazing fractal artworks on acrylic slabs . He calls them “shockfossils”.   Johnson described the process briefly on DeviantArt:

“These pieces are created with the help of a particle accelerator. This machine produces up to five million volts and is used to accelerate a beam of electrons. The electrons are fired at pieces of acrylic plastic and penetrate deep within the slabs, resulting in a pool of electrons trapped under tremendous electrical potential within each piece.

The trapped charge is then carefully released by applying mechanical shock with a sharp insulated tool, and the electrons escape with a bright flash and loud pop. As the charges leave the plastic, they gather into channels following fractal branching rules just like river deltas, plants, and capillaries.

Controlling the energy and placement of the electron beam determines the final shape and character of the resulting figure.”

More information on the process and lots more art here.  It’s worth looking at the larger images for the amazing detail. (H/T to Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing)