Tag Archives: Large Hadron Collider

Smashing Science

He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom. So says J.R.R. Tolkien’s hero-wizard, Gandalf, to Saruman (an anti-hero wizard). More than a century of successful atom smashing seems to say that Gandalf got this wrong. But let’s take a closer look at what we have—and what we […]

One Thing About All This . . .

We need a New Year’s Revolution. (No typo: Revolution with a v.) Last week I suggested that the Large Hadron Collider may find no superparticles and that this could lead to a big change in physics. Indeed a common theme in last year’s posts was the need to complete the Physics Revolution that began a […]

Back to the Universe

Physics―I assert―should be unmoved by religion. Recent posts show many physicists avoiding religious issues by turning to a multiverse. I name names of some who have succumbed (like Andrei Linde, Steven Weinberg and Brian Greene; far from the only culprits). In fairness, then, let’s check out who was first to stray. His name is Einstein. […]

Does Physics Matter?

In previous posts I’ve quoted leading physicists as saying fundamental physics is in trouble. But why should you care how well (or how badly) physics goes? Here’s short answer #1: It supports a lot of paychecks. How this works may not be obvious so let me illustrate. In the late 1600s Isaac Newton kicked off […]

Dark Matter = Black Holes?

News from the Planck satellite is almost 14 billion years old. It’s coded in cold photons from the Big Flash, let loose about 380,000 years after the universe began and stretched as space expanded while they winged their way. The photons reaching Planck bear the same message as those seen by COBE and WMAP but […]

Exotic Not-Erotic Hadrons vs Gravitational Ripples

I’m taking time out from Pristina. Exotic hadrons are the rage this week. Suddenly a cipher, Z(4430), seems to be sexy. What’s exotic? Well, not-exotic, plain-vanilla hadrons are particles of matter. They include baryons―the protons and neutrons that are stable in nuclei of atoms that we see, and unstable particles called mesons that fly unseen […]

Harry Potter Magic and Levitation Physics

Some weeks back Harry Potter’s magic, having helped him walk through a brick wall, got me onto bosons. A boson’s any kind of particle that has integral spin (like 0 or 1). What’s spin? Well, that’s another story. Suffice to say it is a quantum number used by physicists to tag a quantum state. Fermions […]