Category Archives: Physics

Great Scientists: Isaac Newton

Electromagnetic spectrum sing-along

This song and video, made by two industrious guys in Singapore, is a fun way to learn about the electromagnetic spectrum. It’s not particularly grammatical or tuneful, but my classes love it and I’d give it an “A” for a great effort! (Careful! It can get stuck in your head pretty easily!)

Physicists see new things at the Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider is a 16.8-mile-long (27-kilometer) circular particle accelerator buried under the French-Swiss border. There, deep under ground, scientists are using the giant machine to  recreate  powerful but microscopic bursts of energy that mimic conditions close to the Big Bang that created the universe.

There are about 7,000 particle physicists in the entire world and half of them work at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Now these scientists have announced that results from one of the detectors in the LHC indicated that “some of the particles are linked in a way not seen before in proton collisions,” the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the collider,  said on its website.

Sometime around the middle of July, the phenomenon showed up on computer mapping graphs based on data from billions of proton collisions happening in the collider. Scientists on the project are very excited about this new development because the 5.2 billion (yes, that’s billion!) dollar machine was built to help find physical evidence of things in the universe that haven’t ever been seen.

The discovery happened during one of six experiments that are on-going at the collider. This experiment is searching for the Higgs Boson. Although scientific experiments and calculations point to the existence of this tiny particle, it hasn’t been proven to exist like protons, neutrons, and electrons have. There are other known particles, too, including some called “bosons,” but this one remains hidden. If the Higgs Boson exists, it would be the opposite of rare. It would be all over the universe, in almost every kind of matter.

The science of particle physics studies the tiny bits that make up the elements of the universe.  The Standard Model is used by scientists to describe many particles, including the Higgs Boson. However, it is the only particle in the model that hasn’t been proven to exist.

Scientist think there is a 50 to 95 percent chance they will be able to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson. You can bet that if that happens, there will be some very happy scientists!

Large Hadron Rap explains it all

If rappers wear lots of gold chains, what do science rappers wear? Protein chains? Reaction chains? Cross-linked polymers?

Kate McAlpine, 25, is a science writer working for CERN. Her rap video about the Large Hadron Collider called the “Large Hadron Rap” is an internet hit, having attracted more than 6 million viewers. Scientists say she does a great job of explaining complex ideas in a fun way.

If you want a crash course in how the super collider works, check out her “Large Hadron Rap”: