Physicists announced last week that the Higgs Boson is light enough to make the Universe unstable, and predicted its catastrophic demise for several billion years from today.
Last summer, scientists finally found the long awaited Higgs Boson, a particle that, according to theoretical physics, gives all elementary particles mass. Without the Higgs, these particles would remain massless, and our bodies, blankets, cups of tea, dogs, and universe wouldn’t exist.
The Higgs particle is part of an equation that predicts the stability of the Universe, and now that we’ve found it, physicists can finally make calculations with that formula. For the Universe to maintain stability long term, the Higgs should weigh about 129 GEV. What they’re finding is that the Higgs is a bit on the light side, capping out at 126 GEV, and when that light weight is plugged into the equation—explosive universal demise ensues. Read More
How does one fluid body become two? At what point do the two separate, but still hold together? For Sidney Nagel, it was is not enough just to ask these questions, it was necessary to see exactly what this moment looks like. This image, titled “Two-Fluid Snap Off” was created by Nagel, a professor in the department of physics at the University of Chicago. It shows one drop of glycerol breaking apart inside the surrounding oil (Polydimethylsiloxane). Nagel writes that since the viscous fluids were both transparent, it was difficult to show the details of the shape at the breaking point. Using customized dark-field lighting, he was able to make even the narrowest point of contact clearly visible.
High speed strobe photography made it possible to catch the breaking drop phenomena in focus at a high level of magnification, when it was only visible for the briefest instant. Nagel writes: “Scientific photography has the potential to cross boundaries of human emotion and intention; it can display as well as document nature. It allows the viewer to witness in wonder as well as understand in quantitative detail some of the marvels that are concealed from ordinary perception.” This image is part of the National Academy of Sciences art collection and is featured in a new book, Convergence, highlighting that collection.