Supernova Condensate is a blog about our place in the Universe. Of astronomy, chemistry and life in the big bad bubble of academia.
Invader Xan is a molecular astrophysicist and part-time alien invader, who spends life looking at very small things on very large scales, and trying to better understand the chemistry of interstellar space.
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Tag Archives: particle physics
“I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected.” Those were the words uttered by the eminent physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 when he first put forward the idea of the neutrino. Such is the delightful eccentricity of physicists of … Continue reading
If I had to pick a handful of favourite things in all of physics, black holes and nuclear fusion would be among them. Hands down. This interesting little paper which I stumbled across earlier (via a link to the APS … Continue reading
“Picture the scene: Geordie boy Prof Peter Higgs steps out of the lecture theatre into the refreshments area, hoping to get to the coffee and those delicious chocolate cookies. Unfortunately, he is besieged by a throng of clamouring scientists, hacks … Continue reading
It’s official. As was the subject of a press conference here in Europe this morning, the LHC has discovered a new particle. Is it the much talked about Higgs boson? Evidently it’s far too early to say with certainty. But whatever … Continue reading
Did you know that, seen in high energy gamma rays, the Moon is actually brighter than the Sun? Remarkably, the photons that make up this image carried over 20 million electron volts of energy each. That already sounds like a … Continue reading
I have a lot of respect for planet hunters. It’s not an easy job. Discovering and confirming the existence of a planet requires a lot of patience, and I’d imagine it must be frustrating at times. So I’m sure a … Continue reading
While you were reading this sentence, several hundred muons passed straight through your body. In fact, around ten thousand pass each square metre of Earth’s surface every minute. Slightly disconcerting, isn’t it? A muon is essentially a bigger, fatter version … Continue reading
I stumbled upon a fascinating paper on arXiv the other day. Anyone who works with lasers should be familiar with the concept of stimulated emission – the means by which photons excite electrons which, in turn, emit more photons (identical, … Continue reading
So the LHC is up and running, and pretty soon (within a few weeks, apparently) it’ll start smashing things together. Ultimately, it’ll be able to reach energies of 7 Teraelectronvolts. The funny thing is, while 7 trillion electronvolts may be … Continue reading
Happy Particle Day!