Tag: Big Bang

World Science Festival: What if Physicists Don't Find the Higgs Boson?

By Joseph Calamia | June 8, 2010 4:59 pm

bigbang“It’s as if we’re fish who have suddenly discovered we’re in water,” said Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek about the Large Hadron Collider. “The LHC is the device for ruffling up the waters so that we can see waves.”

Wilczek took part in a panel discussion at a World Science Festival event on Saturday. The discussion revealed a bit more about how physicists will do the ruffling and what waves they expect to see. Besides once again allaying doomsday fears, the panel discussed each detector in the LHC and how it will help them find the “cosmic molasses” we’re swimming in–what gives everything in the universe mass.

Their prime suspect is, of course, the Higgs Boson–the last animal in the Standard Model theory’s particle zoo–but what happens if the LHC can’t find it?

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World Science Festival: Listening to Illusions of Sound

By Joseph Calamia | June 7, 2010 9:30 am

triangleDo you see a hovering white triangle in this picture?

This optical illusion employs “illusory contours”–pieces of an image purposefully arranged to trick your brain into seeing the whole thing. Neuroscientist Jamshed Bharucha says that we play similar tricks with our ears: “The brain is basically a pattern-recognition machine. We are desperate to find patterns.”

Bharucha spoke on a seven-person panel last Thursday at “Good Vibrations: The Sound of Science,” a World Science Festival event in New York.

Bharucha asked a crowded auditorium at Hunter College to identify a sound. Shouts of “birds” rang out. One person yelled, “R2D2.” Bharucha followed the clip with a similar sounding song, and then another. After playing a combination of the three, whispers rose from the audience. Read More


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