Facebook Page

Like Us on Facebook

G Plus Page

Circle us on Google Plus

Latest Events

No events

User Menu

Search

Get Updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

When we try to understand life and the world using knowledge gained from our very own observations and experience, we become coherent, less conflicted and less frustrated and everything begins to make more sense.

CERN has just issued one of the biggest announcements in Science in the last 40 years. They have discovered what seems to be the Higgs boson particle: a particle predicted by the Standard Model in Physics. More spectacularly, the Higgs Boson is what makes matter possible. Without it, no matter can exist. We, humans, cannot exist.

In trying to get a better appreciation for the significance of this event, I wanted to understand what all this was about and I found an animation put together by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics. In it, Daniel Whiteson condenses this complex subject in what I found to be a good starting point for everyday people like me.

We probably would need to do more reading about the whole thing but there is enough here to astound us and pique our interest. For example, to make everyday matter, we only need 3 particles:

  1. The Electron
  2. The Up Quark
  3. The Down Quark

With Up Quarks and the Down Quarks, you can make Protons and Neutrons, the other components of atoms. So, we only need three to make up everything we know of that has mass. However -- here is the kicker -- Physicists have already discovered 12 other particles! How many more are there? What do they all do? What may we now know?

Voyager 1 and 2 are at the edge of our solar system, about to free themselves from the gravitational pull of our sun. These 'things' that we sent out in 1977 are finally about to embark on an interstellar journey. What a long ride it had been... and yet it is only the beginning of humanity's exploration of the universe.

Monday, 26 September 2011 09:58

Particles Observed To Travel Faster Than Light

Written by

Einstein's theories show that nothing can travel faster than light. However, just very recent results from CERN, the large Hadron Collider in Europe, show that Neutrinos they sent through the ground from Cern toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km (454 miles) away in Italy. They have re-checked their methods and their calculations to ensure that the results are correct and they are sending their results to other science agencies to independently verify their findings. This could well be one of the biggest discoveries in Science because its implications are enormous.

How? Well for many reasons. One example is that the idea of time travel (not merely changing speeds of time between different reference points) is currently deemed not possible because of the idea that nothing can go faster than the speed of light.

Also, by finding out why this could be, scientists might be able to discover more things we did not know about.

Update: 23 Oct 2011

Ronald van Elburg of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands posted in a paper posted to the physics pre-print website arXiv.org, argues that the Italian scientists failed to account for the fact that the GPS satellite they used as their timekeeping device is moving.

Monday, 26 September 2011 09:37

Scientists Managed to trap Anti-Matter for 15 minutes

Written by

As of June 2011, scientists at CERN have succeeded in trapping atoms of anti-hydrogen for more than 15 minutes: sufficient time to study them in a little more detail.

I can at least try to let you know what I understand, in broad strokes, why this news item is important and hope to impart my sense of appreciation of this milestone.

The reason why this is important is because it is believed that the universe came into existence from nothing. Studies in Quantum Physics indicate that out of nothing, certain particles can come into existence for brief moments. They come into existence, however, with the presence of their anti-thesis. So in effect, +1 (Matter) and -1 (Anti-Matter) is still equal to zero. Perhaps the same had been true with the Big Bang, the only difference between is that for a very, very small percentage of all the particles that existed during the Big Bang a few managed to remain in existence because they did not manage to come in contact with their anti-thesis before their anti-thesis disappeared. What has remained is the matter that makes up everything in the universe today.

Friday, 11 June 2010 10:00

Possible Signs Of Life in Titan

Written by

It NASA sent one of its probes, Cassini to observe Saturn's biggest moon, Titan. According to two of its reports, there are indications that life exists in Titan. Organic chemicals had been detected and its surface is covered with liquid. But the liquid is not water. It is methane. Scientists presume that if there is life there, it will be likely based from methane, not water like ours here on Earth.

Cassini, the probe, sent Earth two reports:

  1. The first report shows that hydrogen gas in the moon's atmosphere disappears at the surface. This suggests to scientists that there could be life on the surface of the moon, albeit in forms of bugs or bacteria, breathing the hydrogen like we breathe oxygen here on Earth.
  2. The second report also indicate that a certain chemical is lacking on the surface of Titan a chemical that could serve to be consumed as food by whatever could be there.

Apparently, each one of the evidence presented may not mean much on their own but when they exist together, it is a strong indication for life to exist.

Thursday, 10 June 2010 10:00

Jupiter loses one of its rings

Written by
Jupiter is a planet believed to be composed mostly of gas. It is characterised by bands of different layered and coloured gasses. Last year, after Jupiter hid behind the sun, away from our vision for three months, it emerged with one of its major bands missing. As surprising as this is, the planet actually losses or gains a band every fifteen years on average. We (our scientists) still do not know why.
Thursday, 27 May 2010 17:59

Most Modern Day Humans Are Part Neanderthals

Written by

It was somewhat held that Neanderthals were completely different to us, Homo Sapiens. There's a new twist to this story arising from the studies made by the team/s led by Dr Svante Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany and Dr David Reich, of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

  • The prevailing scientific theory at the moment is that human beings first evolved in Africa.
  • A part of this group of individuals migrated out of Africa and they populated the rest of the world.
  • With the recent study, Neanderthal DNA was found in the blood of Europeans, Asians and Australasians. Neanderthal DNA, however, is not found in the blood of Africans whose ancestors remained in the continent.
  • This implies that the group of Africans who migrated out of Africa interbred with Neanderthals at some stage during their migration out of Africa around 80,000 years ago.
Notes: Previously, getting DNA from the remains of Neanderthals themselves is difficult because their DNA did not preserve too well. Scientists have Neanderthal bones that are 30,000 to 40,000 years old. So in this study, 97% of the Neanderthal DNA was gathered using a new method that allowed them to collect Neanderthal DNA from bacteria and fungi, something which would be interesting to read about in the future.
Page 1 of 3