The cost is $30, which includes the 3 hour tour (starting at 10:00 am) of FermiLab & lecture from a scientist as well as lunch at a local eatery. To register click this link. Don’t wait too long to register, as the event is limited to the first 40 people!
Posts Tagged ‘FermiLab’
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 4, 2010
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 3, 2010
Posted in philosophy, physics denial/woo, religion, scientific method | Tagged: antimatter, Big Bang, big bang machine, CERN, Cosmos, demarcation problem, FermiLab, God, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, matter, origin, particle accelerator, philosophy, physics, religion, science, Tevatron, theology, universe | 11 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 24, 2010
Speaker #2: Dr. Michael Albrow , physicist at FermiLab, talking about “What’s True and What’s Untrue in Physics Today?”
Opening joke: please take away from this that physics is much simpler than biology! 🙂
Some knowledge is as certain as certain can be, while some things are necessarily uncertain. There is much we know is not possible, but there is much which we know is also outside of our domain.
The beginning of modern science probably started with Galileo and his conflict with the Church. Differences between science & religion…
*distrust authority / only Nature is authority
*all hypotheses are testable by repeatable experiments / observations
*try to fault existing theories, make progress
*theory = explanation
*disagreements are healthy
*accepted standards of statistics & evidence
*questioning / criticism not encouraged
*not fundamentally upheld to testing
*”theory” = speculation
*disagreements discouraged / when scientists disagree that mans they’re wrong
*poor understanding or misuse of statistics & numbers
Posted in physics denial/woo, skeptical community | Tagged: astronomy, Big Bang, Center For Inquiry, CFI, Chicago, cosmology, Dangerous Nonsense, Einstein, FermiLab, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, Michael Albrow, particle accelerator, physicist, physics, quantum mechanics, universe | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 31, 2010
In honor of the recent news of the Large Hadron Collider’s successful run-up to 7.0 TeV collisions and the upcoming Easter weekend, I figure that I’d pass along a humorous little bit that I just stumbled upon. Enjoy!
Hint: the joke is that laymen often state that the LHC is searching for the Higg’s Boson, a.k.a. the “God Particle” 😉
‘It’s not quite the God particle we’ve been looking for, ’said Professor Mann, head of the Atlas Project at CERN, ‘but it’s a miracle nonetheless.’
The particle arose from a collision between a J and an M particle in a way which no one thought possible, and the bright light created sucked in three K particles from the East. Although it only existed for a fraction of a second, scientists are adamant that the Son of God particle will re-appear by Sunday.
‘Make no mistake there’ll be lots written about this and it will become the standard textbook for how we do things in future,’ said Professor Mann. ‘I’ve no doubt it will lead to peace, harmony and wisdom among all men with sandals, beards and tank-tops.’
Excitement at the news was heightened when it was revealed that, on the same day, a technician in the CERN canteen opened a marmite sandwich to discover a perfect image of esteemed physicist Professor Peter Higgs.
Posted in humor | Tagged: 2012, apocalypse, armaggedon, atom smasher, Big Bang, black hole, CERN, Christ, conspiracy, cosmic rays, cyclotron, doomsday, Easter, end of the world, exotic matter, FermiLab, God, God particle, Higgs boson, humor, Jesus, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, particle physics, physics, pseudoscience, Son of God, strangelet, synchrotron, Tevatron | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 30, 2010
As a quick follow up to my recent post about the Large Hadron Collider, there is a new development: the LHC has now actually collided counter-rotating proton beams in collisions reaching the 7.0 TeV energy level (3.5 TeV per beam). As the story below points out, this is the highest level ever recorded for such collisions, and – as you know upon waking up this morning – the planet has survived and no Earth devouring black holes were created in the process. Of course, if you knew anything about the physics involved, you know that such doomsday scenarios are the purest lunacy (here’s 3 reasons why the LHC cannot destroy the planet)…
The world’s largest atom smasher conducted its first experiments at conditions nearing those after the Big Bang, breaking its own record for high-energy collisions with proton beams crashing into each other Tuesday at three times more force than ever before.
I wonder how the conspiracy mongering doomsayers will react to this news? I’ll be on pins and needles 🙂
Posted in doomsday, physics denial/woo | Tagged: 2012, apocalypse, armaggedon, atom smasher, Big Bang, black hole, CERN, conspiracy, cosmic rays, cyclotron, doomsday, end of the world, exotic matter, FermiLab, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, particle physics, physics, pseudoscience, strangelet, synchrotron, Tevatron | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 20, 2010
**Addendum (3/22/2010): Shortly after I wrote the post below, it came to my attention that the proton-proton beams in the LHC haven’t yet actually collided at the 3.5 TeV level yet, but I think that point is moot. It’s also true that the LHC has already conducted proton-proton collisions at greater than TeV levels (up to about 2.36 TeV, it seems)…
And despite this fact, we’re all still here. Of course, I expect the scare mongers to come back with something like “But we don’t know that the planet won’t be destroyed at the next energy level!” By that same token, we don’t know that the Earth won’t be destroyed if we don’t turn the damn thing on, right?
Arguments from ignorance can be used in such silly ways. ‘Nuff said.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest, most complicated piece of machinery ever created by humanity. This humongous particle accelerator also just recently broke, once again, the world record for achieving the highest-energy artificial particle collisions ever in history. Of course, there are some conspiracy-minded scare mongers out there who maintain that the LHC is going to somehow destroy the Earth, presumably because – despite multiple reasons to the contrary – there will be some unknown, magical mechanism by which these artificially-achieved energy levels will kill us all. In short, with no evidence or coherent theory of physics behind their claims, they’re making an argument from ignorance & saying this…
I think not – it didn’t happen in May 2008, and it won’t happen now. As I said, the LHC recently broke that supposedly world-ending energy barrier once again, and we’re all still here. The news is outlined in this Yahoo News story…
Operators of the world’s largest atom smasher on Friday ramped up their massive machine to three times the energy ever previously achieved, in the run-up to experiments probing the secrets of the universe.The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said beams of protons circulated at 3.5 trillion electron volts in both directions around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border at Geneva.
The next major development is expected in a few days when CERN starts colliding the beams in a new round of research to examine the tiniest particles and forces within the atom in hopes of finding out more about how matter is made up.
The collider in December had already eclipsed the record of the next most powerful machine, the Tevatron at Fermilab outside Chicago, which has been running just shy of a trillion electron volts, or TeV.
The extra energy in Geneva is expected to reveal even more about the unanswered questions of particle physics , such as the existence of dark energy and matter. Scientists hope also to approach on a tiny scale what happened in the first split seconds after the Big Bang, which they theorize was the creation of the universe some 14 billion years ago.
CERN has reported a series of successes since the collider was restarted last year after 14 months of repairs and improvements following a spectacular failure when scientists initially tried to get the machine going.
CERN improved the machine during a 2 1/2-month winter shutdown to be able to operate at the higher energy .
“Getting the beams to 3.5 TeV is testimony to the soundness of the LHC’s overall design, and the improvements we’ve made since the breakdown in September 2008,” said Steve Myers, CERN’s director for accelerators and technology.
It’ll be interesting to see how the scare mongering pseudoscientists rationalize away this one, but I’m sure they’ll find some way to do it.
Posted in doomsday, physics denial/woo | Tagged: 2012, apocalypse, armaggedon, atom smasher, black hole, CERN, conspiracy, cosmic rays, cyclotron, DC, doomsday, Dragon Con, Dragon*Con, end of the world, exotic matter, FermiLab, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, particle physics, physics, pseudoscience, strangelet, synchrotron, Tevatron | 10 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on November 21, 2009
Hooray! 😀 The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe has switched back on after being offline for a year…
GENEVA – Scientists switched on the world’s largest atom smasher Friday night for the first time since the $10 billion machine suffered a spectacular failure more than a year ago.
It took a year of repairs before beams of protons circulated late Friday in the Large Hadron Collider for the first time since it was heavily damaged by a simple electrical fault.
Circulation of the beams was a significant leap forward. The European Organization for Nuclear Research has taken the restart of the collider step by step to avoid further setbacks as it moves toward new scientific experiments — probably starting in January — regarding the makeup of matter and the universe.
And, as I’ve blogged about before, where there is science being done by physicists via particle accelerators like the LHC, there are also pseudoscientific nuts who maintain that it’s going to destroy the Earth. Balderdash! Here are 3 good reasons why the LHC experiments are no danger to our planet.
Posted in doomsday, physics denial/woo | Tagged: 2012, apocalypse, armaggedon, atom smasher, black hole, CERN, conspiracy, cosmic rays, cyclotron, DC, doomsday, Dragon Con, Dragon*Con, end of the world, exotic matter, FermiLab, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, particle physics, physics, pseudoscience, strangelet, synchrotron, Tevatron | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 16, 2009
One of the things I did at Dragon*Con a couple of weeks ago was to give a talk on the physics of the Large Hadron Collider. The last part of the talk dealt specifically with the claims that the LHC will destroy the Earth. My response to this nonsense claim:
No, really, don’t panic… the Large Hadron Collider is NOT going to destroy the Earth. Yes, I know what the cranks have said, and I know that words such as “black hole“, “strangelet” and “exotic matter” get thrown around to make them sound like they know physics from their buttholes… but really, it’s going to be fine. Here’s why:
Posted in physics denial/woo | Tagged: apocalypse, armaggedon, atom smasher, black hole, CERN, cosmic rays, cyclotron, DC, Dragon Con, Dragon*Con, end of the world, exotic matter, FermiLab, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, particle physics, physics, pseudoscience, strangelet, synchrotron, Tevatron | 7 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 5, 2009
As a quick follow up to a recent post – LHC Lunacy & Doomsday Scenarios – I wanted to share with you an online discussion I had with a physics woo on this topic. The conversation with James Blodgett, who seems to have a history of opposing the Large Hadron Collider on pseudoscientific grounds, is recorded on the Science & Technology subforum of the JREF Forum.
Allow me to, as a lesson in the kind of thinking employed by many pseudoscientists, point out some of the more egregious statements & arguments by Mr. Blodgett and why they are so off-base…
Posted in physics denial/woo | Tagged: Big Bang, black hole, CERN, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cosmic rays, critical thinking, doomsday, end of the world, exotic matter, FermiLab, God particle, Higgs boson, high-energy physics, James Blodgett, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, physics, pseudoscience, strangelet, Tevatron, Walter Wagner | 10 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 16, 2009
I just got finished attending a couple of days of the joint AAPT & AAAS winter meeting in Chicago, and I must say it was an interesting couple of days! It’s always nice to attend these conferences so that one can connect with the wider scientific & teaching community out there.
While I was at the conference, I attended a fascinating series of talks on some of the latest research coming out of FermiLab, the perfect material for a total physics geek like me. The most interesting stuff at that symposium was the work being done at FermiLab on attempts to detect the Higgs boson and even dark matter!
Briefly, the Higgs boson (also called the Higgs field) is a fundamental particle of nature which is believed by particle physics theorists to exist “beneath” all other particles. All the other fundamental particles of nature – from leptons to quarks to gluons and photons (plus many more) – interact with the Higgs field in a way which determines the mass of the particle. Those particles which interact more strongly with the Higgs have a higher mass. And the Higgs boson forms the last, big missing link in what is called the Standard Model of particle physics (kind of like a periodic table for the fundamental particles of nature). In order to complete the Standard Model, experimentalists need to find evidence of the Higgs in particle accelerators.
The speaker on the Higgs research openly stated at one point in his talk that if scientists at FermiLab or the Large Hadron Collider couldn’t ever find evidence of the Higgs, then that would be more exciting than if they did find such evidence. This is because if no evidence of the Higgs could ever be found, then it would call into question the entire structure of the Standard Model. This would then, in turn, lead to a new revolution in physics, just as Max Planck’s quantum hypothesis in the early 20th century led to the (then) new field of quantum mechanics.
The next really interesting moment came when I was listening to the scientist trying to detect dark matter at FermiLab. Briefly, of all the matter in the universe, only about 3% of it is what we call standard luminous (or baryonic) matter. Most of the rest, about 85-90%, is so-called dark matter (not to be confused with dark energy) – which is matter that emits no electromagnetic radiation at all. The only manner in which we can detect dark matter is through its gravitational influence upon normal matter. Incidentally, three big lines of evidence converge to convince us that dark matter is a reality – gravitational lensing effects, peculiar behavior of galactic rotation curves, and the motion of galaxies in galactic clusters.
However, for the physicist researching dark matter, this isn’t enough. In order for dark matter to really be established as the real thing, he and others in the scientific community want to find it in the lab. So he’s undertaking a series of bubble chamber experiments at FermiLab in an attempt to directly detect dark matter particles. And all physicists acknowledge that dark matter, as yet, has no place in the Standard Model – so this means the Standard Model only describes about 3% of all the matter in the known universe!
I’m not going to go into any more of the details of these talks, but I just wanted to mention something very important that I noted in them. In both cases, the scientists involved in this cutting-edge research were very clear to point out how little we really knew about these subjects. They also made a big point to note that they were perfectly happy to have their experiments fail to detect the Higgs and dark matter, because that would mean we have to completely rework many of our theories of physics.
Far from being rigid dogmatists, as many inaccurately portray the scientific community, these people displayed what real science is all about – putting your hypothesis on the line and letting the observations & experiments be the final arbiter of what’s right and what’s wrong. Real science continually questions its assumptions.
It has been my experience that the real dogmatists are the pseudoscientific cranks, who are basically wanna-be scientists. They latch onto an idea they think is cool, but in spite of all evidence to the contrary they’ll hold onto these discredited ideas. And, in many cases, after they are unable to offer proof of their ideas, the cranks will attack the scientific community for being “dogmatic” and – sometimes – even accuse it of a conspiracy to hide the “truth”. Worse yet, some pseudoscientists propose ideas which aren’t scientific at all – because they can never be falsified – yet they want these notions to have the elevated status of science anyway. They think that by putting on a lab coat and calling their ideas science, that somehow it magically becomes science!
No amount of woo will ever interest me as much as real science. Even if these attempts to detect the Higgs boson and dark matter fail utterly, we’ll have learned so much in going through the process of scientific exploration that it will have all been worth it. And that’s what makes real science so exciting – we don’t know what nature has in store for us!
In closing this post, I’ll reference the words of a great skeptic & advocate for science, Dr. Phil Plait – astronomer & the president of the JREF – when he said: “The universe is cool enough without making up crap about it!”
Posted in scientific method, Uncategorized | Tagged: AAAS, AAPT, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Physics Teachers, dark matter, FermiLab, God particle, Higgs, Higgs boson, Higgs field, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, particle accelerator, particle physics, physics, pseudoscience, pseudoscientists, science, scientific community, scientific method, scientists, Standard Model | 4 Comments »