Category Archives: Science

StarTalk Live: The view from the audience, or, Rock Stars of Science | StarTalk Radio Show by Neil deGrasse Tyson

From the StarTalk radio show blog:

More and more we live in a “Triumph of the Nerds” world where science and smarts are being recognized for the critical importance they have. Where every week, it seems, a new discovery in astronomy or a scientific, medical or technological breakthrough is in the mainstream news. More importantly, we live in a world where people are recognizing and reveling in the impact science and technology have on their lives and choosing to learn more about it rather than ignore it.

Long live the nerds.

The Higgs Boson

According to CERN, it looks like they have found the Higgs Boson:

“The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” said CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. “The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks.”

Bad Astronomy, of course, does a great job of explaining the Higgs in laymans terms:

This particle is very hard to detect, because it doesn’t live long. Once it forms it decays in a burst of energy and other particles (think of them as shrapnel) extremely rapidly. The only way to make them is to smash other particles together at incredibly high energies, and look at the resulting collisions. If the Higgs exists, then it will decay and give off a characteristic bit of energy. The problem is, lots of things give off that much energy, so you have to see the Higgs signal on top of all that noise.

Phil ends his article with this, which is linkbait catnip for me:

Never forget this either: we humans did this. The discovery of this new particle, and the vast potential it has, was all because we’re curious. This huge machine, the LHC, was built solely because we wanted to find things out, and some people had the vision to fund it and build it. When we wish to explore, when we wish to see what’s over the next hill, wonders unfold before us.

All we have to do is want it enough.

Be curious and wonder. Let’s explore!