My heart of physics

Every July 4, I have occasion to remember two things: the discovery of the Higgs boson, and my first published byline for an article about the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have no trouble believing it’s been eight years since we discovered this particle, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its ATLAS andContinue reading “My heart of physics”

Where is the coolest lab in the universe?

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) performs an impressive feat every time it accelerates billions of protons to nearly the speed of light – and not in terms of the energy alone. For example, you release more energy when you clap your palms together once than the energy imparted to a proton accelerated by the LHC.Continue reading “Where is the coolest lab in the universe?”

Journalistic entropy

Say you need to store a square image 1,000 pixels wide to a side with the smallest filesize (setting aside compression techniques). The image begins with the colour #009900 on the left side and, as you move towards the right, gradually blends into #1e1e1e on the rightmost edge. Two simple storage methods come to mind:Continue reading “Journalistic entropy”

The symmetry incarnations

This post was originally published on October 6, 2012. I recently rediscovered it and decided to republish it with a few updates. Geometric symmetry in nature is often a sign of unperturbedness, as if nothing has interfered with a natural process and that its effects at each step are simply scaled-up or scaled-down versions ofContinue reading “The symmetry incarnations”

Why a pump to move molten metal is awesome

The conversion of one form of energy into another is more efficient at higher temperatures.1 For example, one of the most widely used components of any system that involves the transfer of heat from one part of the system to another is a device called a heat exchanger. When it’s transferring heat from one fluidContinue reading “Why a pump to move molten metal is awesome”

The Symmetry Incarnations – Part I

Symmetry in nature is a sign of unperturbedness. It means nothing has interfered with a natural process, and that its effects at each step are simply scaled-up or scaled-down versions of each other. For this reason, symmetry is aesthetically pleasing, and often beautiful. Consider, for instance, faces. Symmetry of facial features about the central verticalContinue reading “The Symmetry Incarnations – Part I”

Graphene the Ubiquitous

Every once in a while, a (revolutionary-in-hindsight) scientific discovery is made that’s at first treated as an anomaly, and then verified. Once established as a credible find, it goes through a period where it is subject to great curiosity and intriguing reality checks – whether it was a one-time thing, if it can actually beContinue reading “Graphene the Ubiquitous”