Dropping Science: The Higgs Boson Explained

As you probably know by now, scientists at CERN finally confirmed the existence of the Higgs Boson (aka God) particle, or at least something which is a lot like what a Higgs would look like if we knew what one looked like. Confused already? That’s because particle physics is confusing. Fortunately for those of us who have trouble getting our heads around any physics that isn’t being explained by Professor Brian Cox and a pile of stones, the chaps at Minute Physics have produced this short video in order to explain it all in simple terms.

There’s a couple of follow up videos in the pipeline so you may want to go ahead and subscribe to their channel.

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Dropping Science: How to Cure Your Hangover With Science!

The vast bulk of my work these days tends to be written at the pub (The Mughouse beneath London Bridge for anybody who’s curious) and as a result hangovers are something of an occupational hazard for me. Fortunately for people like us, ASAPScience has put together this fun video, offering scientifically proven tips on how to avoid the nasty effects of booze.

Now all they need to do is come up with a way to still write coherently beyond the forth glass of wine.

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Dropping Science: Inside a Formula 1 Car

 

It’s the European Grand Prix tomorrow and so it seemed like a good time to dig out this video from a month or so back. The Sauber F1 Team certainly know how to make a fast racing car. So far in the 2012 season they’ve landed 2 podiums and are comfortably leading the midfield portion of the constructor’s championship (depending on whether you consider Mercedes to be mid field or not). All of this is perhaps made even more amazing by the fact that they’ve spent the past 2 years chainsawing one of their cars in half for the entertainment of the public.

The result is a fascinating look at the inner workings of one of the most technically advanced vehicles on Earth. From the insanely uncomfortable driver position to a system for making fuel sit still, this video is a lovely insight into why F1 is the king of nerd sports.

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Dropping Science: We Stopped Dreaming

 

Physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson returns with another stirring piece of rhetoric about the importance of scientific research. In this video, Neil looks at the global initiatives that occurred in the wake of the 1969 Moon landings and argues that it is the unique vision of a planet without borders that drives us forwards.

Inspiring stuff.

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Dropping Science: Driverless “Road Trains”

We all dream of a future where we can drive to work without having to actually touch the steering wheel of our car (ok we don’t all dream of that but a selection of nerdy engineers who eat too much cheese before bed do) and now that future has moved a step closer.

The SARTRE project (that’s Safe Road Trains for the Environment to you and me) has been running since 2009 and aims to create a system whereby cars can tag onto the back of a “road train” and be guided at high speeds over long stretches of motorway. The project had its first test on a public highway recently with the aim of seeing if human beings would completely freak out if placed in a high speed convoy with no apparent means of control. The results seem to suggest that, yes they do, but they chill out again pretty quickly.

Ah, glorious science!

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Dropping Science: 121-Megapixel Earth

 

I just got back from the Eagle Awards. I’ll write a proper report up about it at a later date but for now it should suffice to say that they were a lot of fun and there was a lot of free beer. With that in mind, I’ll refrain from going into anything too complex on this week’s DS.

Here is a super high res image of our planet looking all sexy and stuff. That’s pretty much all you need to know about it other than it’s Russian.

Yeah, science.

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Dropping Science: What Would Happen If You Put Your Hand Into The Large Hadron Collider?

Scientists generally don’t like being asked silly questions, so when the guys from Sixty Symbols asked several scientists what would happen if you stuck your hand into the beam of the Large Hadron Collider, they were given pretty short shrift. Most of us would have simply left it there, however the Sixty Symbols guys are not most of us and so they travelled to CERN to ask the people behind the LHC what they thought would happen. Turns out that the CERN scientists were more than happy to chat about crazy theoreticals. I imagine that’s why they work at a giant super collider beneath Switzerland.

In case you’re wondering, putting your hand in the LHC would be a bad idea.

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Dropping Science: How Deep are the Deepest Oceans?

Randall Munroe has produced several scientific illustrations that aim to help tiny human brains cope with mega concepts. This time he’s tackled the concept of depth by producing this gorgeous chart of the world’s oceans (and associated deep things).

The chart allows you to see a) Just how little we know about the oceans, b) Just how awesome whales are compared to submarines and c) Just how devious James Cameron is.

You can view a full size version of the chart HERE.

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Dropping Science: What Would Earth Look Like With Rings?

 

We’re very much used to looking at Saturn’s rings from the outside but we rarely think about what it would be like to look up at them from below. In this animation, Roy Prol, shows us what it would look like if our own Earth had a set of rings. By working out the angles, Roy was able to show us how the rings would appear differently depending on where on Earth you were standing. The results are predictably beautiful.

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Dropping Science: The Complete History of The Moon

 

I thought this seemed like an appropriate item to share on this week’s DS. We often think of the Moon as being essentially dead and unchanging, but this is not entirely true. Over billions of years, our lunar neighbour has been through it’s own share of twists and turns (mostly consisting of being hit by stuff) and thanks to NASA’s Goddard Multimedia team, we can watch that entire process unfold in just two and a half minutes.

For those of you who are interested in reading further, here are some links to wikipedia articles on some of the main segments of the video:

The South Pole Aitken Basin

The Heavy Bombardment

Mare Volcanism

There will be no test. happy reading.

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