Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Higgs’

zombie_front_imageThis Halloween I had a bit of a revelation. Between all the Sarah Palin costumes and dissertations on the physics of ghosts, I realized that the W and Z bosons are brain-eating zombies; a fact which helps to understand why physicists are trying so hard to find the Higgs boson. Let me explain.

First, what are the W and the Z (aside from annoyingly uncreative choices for names)? You’ve probably heard that there are 4 forces in nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, and weak force. Each of these forces is caused by exchanges of messenger particles. So what binds an electron to a proton — thus forming a hydrogen atom — is a constant stream of photons flying back and forth; hence, the photon is the messenger of the electromagnetic force. Similarly, gravity is transmitted by gravitons, and the strong force by gluons. The weak force is a bit odd. It has 3 messengers which are all slight different from each other: the Z, the W+ and the W-.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The Atom Smashers

Recently I attended the opening of The Atom Smashers, a documentary by Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross from 137 Films. It was held, appropriately, at the Museum of Science and Industry. Unfortunately, this had the effect of providing us with what is probably the smallest screen in the city of Chicago. That can easily be forgiven because the film itself was exceptional.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.