Astroengine exclusive interview with Particle Zoo founder, Julie Peasley
The hunt for the Higgs particle may have come to grinding halt until 2009, but that doesn’t mean you can’t discover the elusive particle for yourself. In fact, it’s not just the Higgs boson that awaits discovery in the zoo of Standard Model particles. And what a zoo it is! We have protons, neutrons, the quarks that make up said hadrons; plus all the force carriers, neutrinos, photons, electrons and anti-particles. There is a delicious and varied array of subatomic particles out there, but they are too small for us to see. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what these quanta actually look like?
It seems that Particle Zookeeper Julie Peasley has an intimate connection with the tiny “beings” that make up all known matter in the Universe. She has single-handedly set up her own business putting faces to the complex particles, giving us a unique view into the quantum world we would otherwise forget in the soup of theoretical physics equations. The Particle Zoo is a Los Angeles company, where Julie brings particles to life in her “sweatshop of one,” sewing beautifully-made plushie toys of all the Standard Model particles so we can collect them all… Continue reading “Particle Zoo: The Higgs Boson For Sale”
It’s that time of the week, time for the rampaging hoard of space writers to voice their views across the blogosphere. This week, we are presented with a great variety from my fellow bloggers dotted over the planet by Jennifer Ouellette at Twisted Physics. She had the misfortune to be called for jury duty, but had the fortune to be selected as this weeks CoS host, so at least she had some entertaining reading to do whist in court! For Astroengine this week, I entered the exciting news that our Sun is alive! Well, it has shown off a Cycle 24 sunspot anyway…
Somehow I missed a week of the CoS, so I’ll have to track down where Week 70 went… but first, here’s Week 71, hosted over at .Astronomy (dot-astronomy) by Rob at the University of Cardiff, Wales. Once more, there is a great selection of space news from the blogosphere, I’m looking forward to reading through all of them.
In keeping with my LHC addiction, I posted a story on the Greek hacker attempt on the facility at CERN…
In case you were wondering why I was being a little quiet on Astroengine and the Universe Today recently, it’s because I got married on the weekend! Those of you who know me personally, you’ll know Deb, but if you don’t, I wanted to introduce her. So this is Debra O’Neill, my soul mate and love of my life.
We had a rather spontaneous wedding, but fortunately most of the family was able to make it, including my own from the UK. Friends as far afield as New York were able to change their plans and make it to Vegas. Thank you to everyone who made the event so special; it was a fun, entertaining and an emotional roller-coaster. Also a big thanks goes to my best man and fellow physicist, Mario, who made sure everything went smoothly (if you ever need anything organized, Mario is your man!).
So, I’m off to enjoy married life, but I’ll be sure to post more pictures of the weekend once I sort through the thousands that were taken!
WordPress released a minor upgrade today for any blog running version 2.6. Although it’s not a huge deal, it is worth doing if your WordPress installation allows open registration. Although this isn’t necessarily a security risk, there is the possibility that a hacker could exploit a WordPress function to reset admin passwords to a randomly generated one, therefore freezing the administrator out of their website. The hacker doesn’t know the new password either, so this loophole is more of a frustration than anything else. Still, it would be a bugger if that happened, so Astroengine is now bulletproof with v2.6.2…
Once again, I used the automatic upgrade plugin created by Keith Dsouza and it performed flawlessly, backing everything up and then installing the whole lot over the top. Superb.
As you probably know, I am a huge fan of the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) as it is the sleekest, most aesthetically pleasing spacecraft I have ever seen. Rather than looking like a generic satellite, GOCE has been constructed in the shape of an aerodynamic spaceship as its orbit is so low that atmospheric drag will be a factor. Adding to the wow! factor is the GOCE ion engine giving a small but steady thrust to make sure GOCE doesn’t lose altitude during its Sun-synchronous orbit. Combine all these factors with the incredibly advanced science it will be carrying out during its 20 month lifetime, this is about as advanced as a terrestrial satellite can get.
Over a month ago, I was asked to be a surprise guest over on Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack. And what was the discussion? Walter Wagner was on air discussing his “Doomsday Suit” against the US partners of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and I had the great opportunity to put some questions to him. Critically for me, at about 99 minutes into the three-hour show (as I make my entrance), I ask Walter about his previous attempts at suing other particle accelerators (such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider – RHIC – back in 1999). From that point on I believe the validity of the current LHC lawsuit seemed purely academic, but it certainly made for some great discussion.
Walter put across his views in a coherent and knowledgeable way and I made a point that scientists need to be challenged so the LHC can be fully justified (but I did also point out that filing a lawsuit might have pushed it a little too far). Although enjoyable, Walter didn’t convince me to change my views…
(Listen out for how many times I say “speculative”…)