Tag Archives: induction

Top 5 Large Hadron Collider Findings

Photo of man examining accelerator
Photo courtesy CERN

When physicists at CERN cranked up the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider on Sept. 10, 2008, they had high (if contradictory) hopes. Like a child at Christmas, they wanted to get exactly what was on their wish list – the Higgs boson, some proof of supersymmetry – but also yearned for some wonderful surprise; because, if everything they predicted was right on the money, then particle physicists might well weep, for they would have no new worlds to conquer.

Years later, the LHC still hasn’t destroyed the planet or crushed physicists’ hopes. In fact, it’s made some amazing and somewhat perplexing discoveries. In this article, I take a (relatively) nontechnical look back at five the five most major findings so far.

5 Discoveries Made By the Large Hadron Collider (So Far)

There was Madness to Their Method: The Western World Before the Scientific Method

Cartoon of Mary Toft's doctors.
“My money’s on a lop-eared doe, or perhaps a Britannia Petite.”

One of the many things I enjoy about teaching my university class, Science, Feuds, Scandals and Hoaxes, is the opportunity to explore some of the most outrageous ideas ever to gain traction in the public mind. It’s easy to make fun today, but some of these ideas were grounded in reasoning that, though flawed, eventually gave rise to the right answer. Then again, there’s really no defending those doctors who thought that woman was giving birth to rabbit parts.

10 Things We Thought Were True Before the Scientific Method

Tesla: A mind to light the world

Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla

Thomas Edison has long enjoyed the incandescent light of public admiration and textbook domination while Nikola Tesla, the scientist and inventor who pioneered the alternating current that truly powers the modern world, has unjustly languished as a footnote in scientific history. Farsighted, quirky, driven and brilliant, Tesla frequently leapfrogged ahead of his contemporaries to the next step, and the next.

Over the course of his long career, Tesla registered over 111 American patents and around 300 patents worldwide, including radio and alternating current. He designed the Niagara Falls power station that provided electricity to most of the northeastern United States. But his loyalty to his first loves, science and progress, cost him his fame, his fortune and, some argue, his sanity. These are just a few of the …

10 Reasons Why Tesla is a Scientific God

It’s like Dazzler and Tesla had a baby, and it was a t-shirt

Orange Sound Charge T-Shirt
Photo courtesy Orange

The pages of ThinkGeek teem with techno-tees fitted with LEDs, speakers, DIY artwork, virtual instruments and WiFi meters. Meanwhile, companies vie to gin up greener charging methods for cell phones.

Is it time for a mashup? A cellphone-charging tee? Maybe – but good luck wearing one through airport security.

Can a T-shirt turn sound into electricity?

Superconductors? When frogs fly

levitating frogOne of the unwritten rules of physics says you can’t get something for nothing; at best, you can swing a fair exchange rate between energy in and energy out. The problem is heat:  Like an energy embezzler, it skims off the top of chemical reactions, physical systems and electrical circuits (which is why we can’t have perpetual motion machines).

Superconductors don’t break the laws of thermodynamics, but they do manage to find some fairly large loopholes. Send current through a superconducting wire, and it loses no energy to resistance. Bend the wire into a loop, and it will hold charge indefinitely. Levitate it above a magnet, and the sun will devour the Earth before it will fall.

Plus, it can levitate a frog.

What is Superconductivity?
Quiz: How Super are Superconductors?