Scientists are currently exploring the concept of vacuum instability. What does this mean? Well, they believe there is a chance that… Billions of years from now, a new universe could open up into the present one and replace it. It all depends on some very precise numbers related to the Higgs boson particle that researchers are currently trying to pin down.
Nope. Nothing to do with the arch-nemesis of the Smurfs or with an avant-garde artistic masterpiece, unlike the top picture appears to suggest… Actually, the Gargamelle on the left is at CERN and takes its name after the giantess in the works of satirist François Rabelais: she was Gargantua’s mother! The Gargamelle is a historical ‘bubble chamber’ detector however… Continue reading Secrets of the Bubble Chamber→
IBM researchers currently hold the Guinness World Record for the ‘World Smallest Stop-Motion Film’ after creating a short film about a boy and his ball, by manipulating single atoms. Continue reading A Boy and His Atom→
Apparently, the phrase “once in a blue moon”, in the sense of something that occurs very rarely, dates back to 1824. I will check this out as soon as I have time… Continue reading Once in a Blue Moon…→
Today, Thursday 14th March 2013. Only last year, the world of Particle Physics research was getting excited among rumours and speculation that the hunt for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was finally over, following the news that a Higgs-like particle had been identified in July. Continue reading It’s a Higgs!→
Our planet is surrounded by layers of gas, the ‘atmosphere’, maintained around it by the very gravitational attraction of the Earth. An important part of the atmosphere that we use to breathe and that plants use in photosynthesis is the ‘air’. Continue reading Earth’s Atmosphere→
The Open University has teamed up with “geek chic” comedian David Mitchell to release a series of 12 short animated YouTube videos about the Physics of the Cosmos: “60-Second Adventures in Astronomy”. A real treat. And it’s educational! If you have only 60 seconds, you can now learn everything we know about matter, energy, life, the Universe and everything…
The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a theory about the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear interactions, developed throughout the mid-to-late 20th century, as a worldwide collaborative effort. Continue reading The Standard Model→
Today, Friday 15th February 2013. Russia’s Ural mountains. A fireball streaks through the clear morning sky. Loud bangs follow. A meteor crashes in Russia about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) east of Moscow. Continue reading Meteors over Russia→
The Earth has an electric field. On average, this field points vertically downwards and it has a magnitude of about 100 N C-1 (Newtons per Coulomb). It exists because the Earth’s surface carries a negative charge of – 5 x 105 C, while the upper atmosphere carries a compensating positive charge. An average of 400,000 thunderstorms a day Continue reading Lightning and the Earth’s Electric Field→
Black holes are known to exist at the centres of most galaxies, including our own Milky Way. The masses of those black holes are correlated to many of the properties of their host galaxies, which strongly suggests that galaxies and black holes evolve together. Measuring their masses Continue reading How to Weigh a Supermassive Black Hole?→
Light. Most of us take it for granted during the day. And at night, we have learned to domesticate it. Light, the natural agent that stimulates our sense of sight and makes things around us visible. Continue reading Let There Be Light…→
Early astronomers already make the distinction between stars and planets, as the former remain relatively fixed for centuries, while the latter wander an appreciable amount in a comparatively short time. But that’s not all!