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Miraculous WIMPs

What are WIMPs, and what makes them such popular dark matter candidates? Invisible dark matter accounts for 85 percent of all matter in the universe, affecting the motion of galaxies, bending the path of light and influencing the structure of the entire cosmos. Show More Summary

Finding a five-leafed clover

Sometimes when you’re looking for something else, you happen across an even more exciting result. That’s what’s happened at LHCb, illustrated in the paper “Observation of \(J/\psi p\) resonances consistent with pentaquark states in \(\Lambda_b^0\to J/\psi K^-p\) decays”, released on the arXiv on the 14th of July. I say this is lucky because the analysts found

Plutonic

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

No expense spared on astronomy graphics here, you'll notice. (This is the Pluto-less hanging mobile that amuses my son every morning when he wakes up. At least I think it is supposed to represent our Solar system in some vague way......Show More Summary

LHC physicists discover five-quark particle

Pentaquarks are no longer just a theory. Protons and neutrons, which together with electrons form atoms, are made up of even smaller particles called quarks. Protons and neutrons contain three quarks each. Scientists at the LHCb experiment...Show More Summary

Marginal Activity

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

The last couple of weeks have seen me fiddling with another important task for the book: rethinking the page dimensions. This gets me into things like crop points, safe areas, bleeds, and so forth. It is sort of crucial that I worryShow More Summary

Physics Blogging Round-Up, New Car Edition

The big development of the week is that I bought a new car, as seen in the featured image. This ate up most of Tuesday, but I still got some quality physics blogging in over at Forbes: — The Basic Science Behind Creating Colors: A look at two quantum-mechanical phenomena and one quirk of biology…

Fermilab’s flagship accelerator sets world record

This Fermilab press release came out on July 8, 2015. A key element in a particle-accelerator-based neutrino experiment is the power of the beam that gives birth to neutrinos: The more particles you can pack into that beam, the better your chance to see neutrinos interact in your detector. Today scientists announced that Fermilab has

What the sun would look like if you had X-ray vision

A new image of the sun combines three views to reveal its activity in a new light

More data, no problem

Scientists are ready to handle the increased data of the current run of the Large Hadron Collider. Physicist Alexx Perloff, a graduate student as Texas A&M University on the CMS experiment, is using data from the first run of the Large Hadron Collider for his thesis, which he plans to complete this year. Show More Summary

Getting teachers back on TRAC

This article appeared in Fermilab Today on July 8, 2015. Bonnie Weiberg sits down in front of a small monitor in the Proton Assembly Building at Fermilab. Her job is to test the signal strength of the liquid-argon purification monitors for the proposed DUNE experiment. But Weiberg isn’t your average particle physicist. In fact she

What is dark energy?

It’s everywhere. It will determine the fate of our universe. And we still have no idea what it is. Looking up at the night sky reveals a small piece of the cosmos—patches of stars speckled across a dark, black void. Though the universe...Show More Summary

Dune Love…

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

I ran across two excellent Dune-related items in the last fews weeks, and since it is the 50th Anniversary of Frank Herbert's book "Dune", I thought I'd share them with you. The first is on the really excellent website called Pornokitsch, which I'm delighted to introduce you to if you've not encountered it before. Show More Summary

Lost Treasure

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Still doing detailed layouts for the book. I've been working on a story for which I was sure that I'd done some rough layouts a long time ago that I really liked. But I could not find them at all, and resigned myself to having to do it again. Show More Summary

Why Dark Matter Exists: Believing Without Seeing

For decades physicists have been convinced that most of our universe is invisible, but how do we know that if we can’t see it? I want to explain the thought process that leads one to believe in a theory via indirect evidence. For those who want to see a nice summary of the evidence, check this out.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson [Library of Babel]

Seveneves is the latest from Neal Stephenson, and true to form is a whopping huge book– 700-something “pages” in electronic form– and contains yet another bid for “best first paragraph ever”: The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason. It was waxing, only one day short of full. The time was 05:03:12…

Ships and Knobs…

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

[Extract from some of my babble that night:] "..."science advisor" which is such a confusing and misunderstood term. Most people think of us (and use us) as fact-checkers, and while I DO do that, it is actually the least good use of a scientist in the service of story-telling. Show More Summary

Winning formula reveals if your team is too far ahead to lose

An analysis of over a million games predicts whether the leading side can be overtaken before the match ends

Physics Blogging Round-Up

Another busy week of physics-y blogging over at Forbes. I’m pretty bad about remembering to post pointers to individual posts here, but I can probably just about manage to do a weekly links dump of what I’ve been posting. — What’s The Point Of Science Without “Eureka!” Moments? Picking up on a conversation I had…

Best-ever images of Pluto reveal baffling pepperoni slices

A line of dark spots across the dwarf planet's equator make it look like a pizza and have left researchers scratching their heads

The wonderful thing about triggers

Physicist Jim Pivarski explains how particle detectors know when to record data. Imagine you're a particle physicist in 1932. You have a cloud chamber that can show you the tracks of particles, and you have a camera to capture those tracks for later analysis. Show More Summary

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