The online journal of Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon.

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Spacetime Report

Posted on Jan 4, 2010 by billsimmon in astronomy, science, TV | 0 Comments

Ed. note: I’ve been doing these weekly Spacetime Reports at The Contrarian for a while now and I’m going to cross post them here for a while too since things have been a bit slow. Enjoy…

Unfortunately, the new year has produced precious little in the way of interesting cosmological tidbits so far. I did scrounge up the link below, which is a little 2010 science preview, but in the meantime I’ll take the opportunity to recommend a BBC series that occasionally runs on Discovery’s Science Channel here in the states. The show is called Horizon, but when it runs on The Science Channel, they always change the name to whatever the episode is called. So for instance, last week they ran a Horizon episode about Stephen Hawking’s Information Paradox. The episode was called, appropriately enough, Stephen Hawking’s Information Paradox, and that’s how The Science Channel listed it in the program guide. So you can’t just search the listings for “Horizon,” which is too bad because it’s a really fantastic science documentary show. It’s basically the British Nova, only way better. According to Wikipedia, there have been over 1000 episodes of the show produced since 1964 and I have no idea how to go about intentionally watching them. You basically have to luck into seeing them on The Science Channel. I just watched one last night about gamma ray bursters called Death Star. It’s really great. Good hunting!

And New Scientist predicts that in the search for the elusive Higgs Boson, CERN is likely to turn up a neutralino or two…

No one has ever seen one, but it is predicted by the theory of supersymmetry, which fixes many problems that plague the standard model. Supersymmetry doubles the number of elementary particles, adding one heavier super-partner for each standard-model particle.

All supersymmetric particles produced in the early universe would have long since decayed into the lightest such particle, the neutralino. And the neutralino, it turns out, is a perfect candidate to account for dark matter – the mysterious stuff that far outweighs ordinary matter in the universe.

It would be easier to spot than the Higgs, and it might even make its presence felt in 2010. If it does, it would solve two problems at once: confirming supersymmetry and answering the mystery of what makes up the universe’s missing mass. The Higgs would have to take a back seat.


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