Scientists have discovered a new subatomic particle with profound implications for understanding our universe. On Wednesday, they announced they've found a particle believed to be the long-awaited Higgs boson. Nicknamed the "God particle," it represents the final piece in a theory that explains the basic nature of our universe.
Goldberg gave up life as a sewer engineer to dream big.
Credit Courtesy of rubegoldberg.com
As we celebrate all things American on the Fourth of July, we often remember the great minds that have shaped our nation's history.
But this afternoon, as you're devising new techniques to get slow-moving ketchup from the bottle to your hot dog, you're also celebrating the birthday of another innovative American: Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg.
Blastoff: We wouldn't break the bonds of Earth without the benefits of science education.
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Political independence was won by our forefathers. Today it is education that sets people and nations free; the fight is ongoing. With science education, we win on three fronts when we mint new engineers, research scientists and mathematicians:
1. The individual: giving him/her the ability to think critically about some of the most pressing issues of our times, from climate change to alternative energy resources
2. Communities: preparing a generation of socially mindful citizens, willing to work together for the common good
British physicist Peter Higgs, right, arrives for the opening of a seminar to deliver the latest update in the 50-year bid to explain a riddle of fundamental matter in the search for a particle called the Higgs boson.
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Two teams of scientists using the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, announced in Geneva this morning that they have detected a new subatomic particle that bears the hallmarks of the elusive and highly sought after Higgs boson. In layman's terms, the Higgs is referred to as the "God Particle" because the field it produces gives atoms their mass. Were it not for the Higgs, the world we know would be completely different — there would be no chemistry, no architecture, no us.
Scientists say a parasite carried by cats appears to influence the behavior of humans, in this case, women infected with the parasite were slightly more likely to attempt suicide.
NPR's Jon Hamilton reports this is just the latest study suggesting that parasites can cause subtle changes in our brains.
JON HAMIILTON, BYLINE: This parasite is called Toxoplasma and its primary home is in the intestine of a cat. People can get infected when they eat under-cooked meats or sometimes when they change the litter in a cat box.
Think of a giraffe lying on the Serengeti plain. He has just died, maybe of disease, maybe he was killed by a pride of lions, but now he's a 19-foot-long, 4,000-pound mound of meat, which very soon is going to stink and rot and muck up the neighborhood.
I was born and raised in the vast urban ecology that is the New York region's metropolitan jungle. As a young man my love for the city and my love for physics grew together. Now I am old enough to see that the pairing of those two romances was no accident.
Beginning this week I will be exploring the relationship between physics and cities. It's part of NPR's most excellent project on Cities. The questions I want to explore concern both the physics of cities and cities as examples of physics.
Logan Marshall-Green (left), Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender in <em>Prometheus</em>.
Credit Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox
I like science fiction as much as the next guy. No, strike that. I like science fiction way more than the next guy. I especially like science fiction that combines big ideas, smart writing and exploding spaceships. So why did I find Prometheus — Ridley Scott's semi-prequel to Alien — so flat?
It wasn't for lack of big ideas. Prometheus had that in spades, with its conceit that humanity's origins lay in ancient (and very large) astronauts.
It wasn't for lack of exploding space-ships. Prometheus had lots of those too and a few exploding bodies.