Posts Tagged ‘science’

Revenge of the nerds


“President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be the next Energy Secretary, Democratic sources said today. He also has picked veteran regulators to fill out his environmental and climate team…

…The son of highly educated Chinese immigrants, Chu won the Nobel Prize in 1997 for his work in the “development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.”

But, in an interview last year with The Post, Chu said that he began to get more interested in energy and climate change several years ago. “I was following it just as a citizen and getting increasingly alarmed,” he said. “Many of our best basic scientists realize that this is getting down to a crisis situation.”

He sought and won the top job at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in order to focus on energy issues. Chu is in London and was unavailable for comment, but the physicist has been, in the words on his Web site, on a “mission” to make the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory “the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy.”

Damn, it’s nice to have people in charge of agencies where they actually understand the material.

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Wednesday, scientists will fire up the large hadron collider.  In case you hadn’t heard of it, the Wiki:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of 7 TeV protons. Its main purpose is to explore the validity and limitations of the Standard Model, the current theoretical picture for particle physics. The LHC was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and lies under the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.

The LHC is the world’s largest and the highest-energy particle accelerator.[1] It is funded and built in collaboration with over eight thousand physicists from over eighty-five countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.

The LHC could potentially reveal the existence of the elusive Higgs Boson.  Nicknamed the “God Particle,” the Higgs Boson gives things mass and could complete the Standard Model of particle physics.  Hawking has $100 they don’t find it.

That said, scientists are rather hoping for something less expected.  We could see an invalidation of string theory, emergence of a so-called “11th dimension,” or any number of curveballs to the assumptions of physics.

But us silly social scientists don’t understand this stuff anyway.  To us, it’s just the end of the world.  So drop a beat because it could be your last.  On the bright side, lots of scientists are having terror sex tonight.  Like Woody Allen says in Play it Again, Sam:

Allan: That’s quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn’t it?
Museum Girl: Yes, it is.
Allan: What does it say to you?
Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.
Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?
Museum Girl: Committing suicide.
Allan: What about Friday?

…Just something to chew on as you wait for the Large Hadron Collider to wipe out your college loans.

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