Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fundamental Particles

We have been talking about small particles this week.  Atoms, which are the tiny particles that make up matter, were once thought to be fundamental.  That is, they were believed to be the end of the line when it comes to breaking apart substances.  At this point, scientists have found that even atoms can be broken down into smaller parts, protons, electrons, and neutrons, which can also be broken down into even smaller parts (quarks, leptons, force carrier particles).  

Go to the following link to go on a "Particle Adventure."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Here comes the LHC!!

Last night, scientists at CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research) turned on the Large Hadron Collider, the worlds largest particle accelerator located outside Geneva Switzerland.  This experiment will send two protons going in opposite directions speeding around a circular ring 17 miles in circumference.  The protons will then be smashed together and scientists will observe the reaction.  The goal of this project is to find out answers about the makeup of matter and the origin of the universe.  Specifically, scientists are hoping to find evidence for a theoretical particle called the Higg's Boson.  

Here is a video that might help you understand the significance of the LHC:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome and Welcome Back!!!

Gaia is the name that James Lovelock gave our planet when he decided to propose his hypothesis that our planet is actually a living organism in and of itself.  Our planet is surely a massive complexity that can only be understood by breaking down its various parts.  This year, the middle school will take on the challenge of understanding those parts and then synthesizing this knowledge in order to make sense of the world.  
By the way, Lovelock did not invent the term "gaia."  Where is it from originally?

Comment on this question:  Can you prove or disprove Lovelock's hypothesis?