A Particle Full of Charm

Almost two-hundred metres beneath the France-Switzerland border, physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider have observed a new particle. A charming particle. They’ve been on the look-out for him for some time, and now they’ve got him— Xicc++.

The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but this guy is more than meets the eye. He’s heavy. He’s charming. He’s a subatomic particle, and he’s a real catch. CERN’s particle smasher— based near Geneva, Switzerland— spotted the fellow during the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment, or the LHCb experiment for short.

Xicc++ is the elusive brother of the proton, neutron, and of a number of other composite subatomic particles. These particles are all a part of the same family, because they’re all made up of three quarks. What are quarks, you ask? Well, let’s dive in.

Read the full article on Herpothesis 


Science Camp: Gravitational Waves

Week One: Follow the Happy Scientists

It’s September 14, 2015 in Hannover, Germany — 11AM to be exact — and a man named Marco Drago has just noticed something. Marco is a member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, and he’s just observed a gravitational wave (hurrah!).

But why are the scientific community FREAKING OUT about these things six months after the initial observation? Well, like all good scientists, they had to check — and recheck, and RECHECK, and RECHECK, until LIGO confirmed the discovery. They were sure.

Director of the National Science Foundation said, “Einstein would be beaming, wouldn’t he?” (Science Mag)

I find that my motto in life has become: follow the happy scientists, they’re sure to lead you somewhere good. This is the most buzzed I’ve seen the scientific community since the Higgs Boson. It’s magic.

So here I am — let’s learn about gravitational waves (INSERT CATCHY THEME SONG)!!!

Continue reading “Science Camp: Gravitational Waves”