What is it with the glasses?
Today in silly questions your intoxicated friends have asked: Is the Universe just a giant hologram? Maybe we're all really flat like the people on TV and don't even know it! Well, scientists at Fermilab have come up with an experiment to find out for sure, so maybe next time you'll have a solid answer—or at least a holographic projection of one.Read More
The scientific community got pretty excited with the discovery of a Higgs-like particle last year, but it turns out it's not all smiles and high fives. Apparently the Higgs boson was the missing piece in a subatomic calculation that could predict a Universe-ending catastrophic event in the future. How worried should you be? Depends on how many billions of years into the future you've made plans, but chances are pretty solid that you'll be long dead before this happens. So will the Earth. Smile! Everything ends!Read More
If you're a student between the ages of 13 and 18 with an interest in science, then grab your lab coat and get to work. Google is taking submissions for their third annual Google Science Fair as of today. They've partnered up with CERN, LEGO, National Geographic, and Scientific American to offer some truly amazing prizes that include scholarships, an expedition to the Galapagos, and a week shadowing a particle physicist at Fermilab.Read More
One of the main problems with conventional wireless signals is that they can be obstructed, and pretty easily at that. You can very, very rarely get cell service in a subway, and sometimes just being inside a building can make things difficult. Unlike radio waves however, neutrinos can power through just about anything, making them a great potential vehicle for wireless communications. Now, the first ever neutrino beam message has been sent, and it was delivered through 240 meters, 262 yards, or 787 feet of solid stone.Read More
Scientists working at the Collision Detector at Fermilab (CDF) experiment have confirmed the observation of a new particle, the Xi-sub-b. The new particle is categorized as a baryon, which are formed of three quarks -- a commonly known baryon is the proton. Scientists have predicted the existence of the Xi-sub-b, but have never observed it until now, describing it as "a heavy relative of the neutron and is six times heavier than the proton or neutron." The Xi-sub-b was produced in Batavia, Illinois at the Tevatron particle accelerator and collider, which incorporates the CDF experiment.
According to the scientists, the "neutral Xi-sub-b travels just a fraction of a millimeter before it decays into lighter particles," which probably explains why scientists predicted its existence, but weren't able to observe it until now. Emphasizing how rare it is to actually observe the Xi-sub-b particle, only 25 instances of it were observed out of 500 trillion proton-antiproton collisions.Read More
Scientists have been buzzing about the potential discovery of a new particle at Chicago's Fermilab Tevatron Collider since April when data that could have been evidence for a new particle was announced by the CDF group. On first estimate, CDF concluded that there was a one in ten thousand chance of the evidence being a statistical fluke, but as the strength of the signal grew upon further analysis, those odds were revised to be one in a million. It turns out that the "new particle" data is actually one in a million. Following analysis of the evidence by Fermilab's second detector DZero, the researchers have concluded that there is no new particle. The DZero analysis, combined with the lack of any indication that a particle of the right mass has been detected by CERN's Large Hardon Collider, suggests that the initial evidence may be unique to the CDF detector rather than an actual new particle.Read More
Discovery News totally called this one: It turns out that all of those rumors that the elusive Higgs Boson had been discovered by Fermilab's Tevatron accelerator aren't true.
Last week, a physicist and blogger at the University of Padua, Tommaso Dorigo, wrote that "It reached my ear, from two different, possibly independent sources, that an experiment at the Tevatron is about to release some evidence of a light Higgs boson signal. Some say a three-sigma effect, others do not make explicit claims but talk of a unexpected result." Like a uranium-235 chain reaction, Dorigo's words exploded through the blogosphere and into the mainstream media, which inexplicably turned the rumored discovery into the latest in a nonexistent 'rivalry' between Tevatron and the Large Hadron Collider.
Fermilab has laid the smackdown on the Higgs Boson discovery rumors, saying that they have "no merit" and are "just rumors." Fermilab has also taken a few digs at bloggers in the process:Read More
Fermilab's science education website has the results of an interesting little social experiment in which a class of seventh graders drew pictures of what they thought the typical scientist looks like before their class visited the lab, followed by their impressions of what a scientist looks like thereafter. As the example above shows, students tended to moderate their views and represent scientists are "normal people with a not so normal job." The students' "after" pictures showed a lot more women, too -- or at least the girls' did:Read More