What is CERN?

Here’s another great video from Sixty Symbols featuring professor Ed Copeland giving his entertaining description of CERN, the “Mecca for physicists” and home of the famous Large Hadron Collider. (Hopefully it will tide you over until the latest news is presented on July 4 regarding the ongoing hunt for the ever-elusive Higgs field!) Enjoy.

“On each of these experiments there are something like 3,000 physicists involved. So they’re not all here at the same time, of course… the cafeteria would be a nightmare if that was the case.”

– Prof. Ed Copeland


Particle Physics and Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos…Discuss.

On September 22, an international team of researchers working on the OPERA project at the Gran Sasso research facility released a paper on some potentially physics-shattering findings: beams of neutrinos that had traveled from the CERN facility near Geneva to their detector array outside of Rome at a speed faster than light. (Read more about this here and here.) Not a great deal faster, to be sure – only 60 nanoseconds faster than expected – but still faster. There’s been a lot of recoil from the scientific community about this announcement, and rightly so, since if it does end up being a legitimate finding then it would force us to rework much of what we have come to know about physics ever since Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Of course, to those of us not so well-versed in particle physics *raises hand* a lot of this information can quickly become overwhelming, to say the least. Thankfully the folks at Sixty Symbols have recorded this interview with two astrophysicists at the UK’s University of Nottingham. It helps explain some of the finer points of the discovery, what it means and what the science community in general thinks about it. Check it out!

Thanks to Dan Satterfield for posting this at his Wild Wild Science blog.

The Universe in a Chocolate Creme Egg

Can chocolate cream eggs help explain the mysteries of the Universe? As part of the University of Nottingham’s Sixty Symbols science video series, the Cadbury creme egg has been featured this week, with several eggcellent videos just in time for Easter. This one discusses the cosmological constant, and the possibility of how we might be surrounded by tiny eggs from another dimension. Surprisingly, scientists can explain and demonstrate the some fundamental scientific laws that govern the universe with yummy cream filled chocolate eggs. See more egg-themed discussions at Sixty Symbols.