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Friday, April 26, 2013

Samsung Short Essay Contest on How Technology Helps Us Learn

Samsung is sponsoring a short essay contest for high school students.  You can write and submit a 300-word essay: An essay up to 300 words on what you think about technology advancements and how it will change the way we learn in the future. Is it for the better?

This could be fun.  This is also only about a single page essay on any technology you wish to address.  Give it a try.  Five scholarships of $1000 will be given to those papers judged as being the best.  Just let me know if you have an interest, and the link above allows you to sign up for the contest. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Possible Hints of Dark Matter

Check out current results from two experiments, that show first hints of evidence for dark matter.  This is a proposed explanation for the observed motions and structures of galaxies, which cannot be explained by the amount of observable matter astronomers measure.  It will be an exciting story to follow over the coming months and years, as more data is collected and analyzed and scrutinized by physicists.

Possible Discrepancy in the Size of a Proton - IF Real, New Physics???

New measurements of the size of a proton, using a new method of muon interactions with protons rather than electron interactions for protons, reveals a ~4% discrepancy in the proton radius between the two methods.  Physicists are trying to figure out if this is due to some mistake being made with the muon experiment, or possibly some misunderstanding of systematic uncertainties in the experiment, or other 'boring' explanations for the difference.  The story can be found here.

However, if this result and difference hold after all the investigations are completed and are statistically significant, then this could be an indication of new physics beyond the current Standard Model theory, which is the foundational theory in particle physics for the past five decades.  Time will tell as the current experiments, as well as new experiments being designed and run to check these results, are completed over the next 5-10 years.

This is a wonderful example of how science works.  Experimental results are published in peer-reviewed journals, and are scrutinized by the scientific community.  When a discrepancy comes up with well established and well tested ideas over long periods of time, one needs to seriously and open-mindedly look at all possible explanations for the discrepancy. Results must be reproducible by independent groups.  Possible new explanations must be considered and tested and debated.  It is a slow process, but the goal is to uncover the truths in Nature, if at all possible, based on physical evidence.  This makes for the excitement that scientists encounter in their research programs!