The CERN particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland has made huge discoveries in particle physics over the last few years. Unfortunately, it seems that CERN is also home to some hateful scientists (via Towleroad):
The LGBT group at CERN – the home of the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator – has been targeted with a prolonged campaign of homophobic abuse.
LGBT CERN members have had posters defaced with abuse including the German word “schwein” (pig) and text suggesting that gay people should be “put to death.”
At least one researcher has been disciplined after they were caught on camera defacing the posters.
British physicist Aidan Randle-Conde, who founded CERN’s LGBT group, told the Sunday Times:
“The continuing defacing of our posters is an unacceptable campaign of hate and intolerance. We do keep a track of how many posters get taken down or defaced and over a two-week period roughly one-third can be removed. I don’t know who is responsible, although it is probably the work of a few people. In some cases there have been religious texts attached to the posters.”
Despite the intervention of CERN director general Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the abuse of LGBT staff has continued.
A CERN spokesperson said: “CERN considers that these acts are unacceptable, and strongly condemned on various occasions. This is in our DNA not only words, and is clearly reflected in our core values and in our code of conduct. Homophobic behaviour is clearly not welcome at CERN and will not be tolerated.”
It is upsetting to see this type of hate and bias amongst scientists. Hopefully this issue will be resolved and the responsible parties will be fired. Ain’t nobody got time for hate when doing science.
Faith, by definition, is the belief in something despite insufficient knowledge to be certain of its veracity.
Yet in every case, there are two key components that make the prediction scientific:
The prediction, or the belief that the outcome can be accurately predicted, is predicated on the existence of quality evidence.
As the evidence changes — as we obtain more, newer and better evidence — and as the full suite of evidence expands, our predictions, postdictions and entire conceptions of the Universe change along with it.
There is no such thing as a good scientist who isn’t willing to both base their scientific belief on the full suite of evidence available, nor is there such a thing as a good scientist who won’t revise their beliefs in the face of new evidence.
I have a family member that teases me because I always ask about the evidence behind claims, assertions, etc. I guess years spent on a science PhD and postdoc will engrain a desire for evidence in you, but that desire has nothing to do with faith…
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 recognises Takaaki Kajita in Japan andArthur B. McDonald in Canada, for their key contributions to the experiments which demonstrated that neutrinos change identities. This metamorphosis requires that neutrinos have mass. The discovery has changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and can prove crucial to our view of the universe.
Many people assume that, as a successful surgeon, he (Carson) has a solid knowledge of technical, medical, and scientific issues.
It is one thing to simply assert that you don’t choose to believe the science, in spite of a mountain of data supporting it. It’s another to mask your ignorance in such a disingenuous way, by using pseudo-scientific, emotion-laden arguments and trading on your professional credentials. Surely this quality, which reflects either self-delusion or, worse still, a willingness to intentionally deceive others, is of great concern when someone is vying for control of the nuclear red button.
Have you ever wished you could hide under an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter or conceal your car with a Klingon cloaking device like in Star Trek? In a special bonus episode of Reactions, we celebrate the International Year of Light by exploring the science behind light, sight and invisibility. Though we can’t make ourselves invisible yet, some promising research may light the way – or rather, bend the light away.
The Large Hadron Collider, famous for finding the Higgs boson, has now revealed another new and rather unusual particle. Teams at the LHC, the world’s largest particle accelerator, recently began a second run of experiments using far more energy than the ones that found the Higgs particle back in 2012. But another of the groups, LHCb, have also been sifting through its data from the billions of particle collisions of the first run of the LHC, and now think they’ve spotted something new: pentaquarks.
Pentaquarks are an exotic form of matter first predicted back in 1979. Everything around us is made of atoms, which are mode of a cloud of electrons orbiting a heavy nucleus made of protons and neutrons. But since the 1960s, we’ve also known that protons and neutrons are made up of even smaller particles named “quarks”, held together by something called the “strong force”, the strongest known force in nature in fact.
Experiments in 1968 provided the evidence for the quark model. If protons are hit hard enough, the strong force can be overcome and the proton smashed apart. The quark model actually explains the existence of more than 100 particles, all known as “hadrons” (as in Large Hadron Collider) and made up of different combinations of quarks. For example the proton is made of three quarks.
All hadrons seem to be made up of combinations of either two or three quarks, but there is no obvious reason more quarks could not stick together to form other types of hadron. Enter the pentaquark: five quarks bound together to form a new type of particle. But until now, nobody knew for sure if pentaquarks actually existed – and, although there have been several discoveries claimed in the last 20 years, none has stood the test of time.
The intricate dance of the J/psi and the proton CERN
Pentaquarks are incredibly difficult to see; they are very rare and very unstable. This means that if it is possible to stick five quarks together, they won’t stay together for very long. The team on the LHCb experiment made their discovery by looking in detail at other exotic hadrons produced in the collisions and they way these break apart. In particular, they looked for the Lambdab particle, which can decay into thee other hadrons: a Kaon, a J/psi, and a proton.
The J/psi is made of two quarks and the proton is made of three. The scientists discovered that for a short period of time these five quarks were bound together in a single particle: a pentaquark. In fact, through detailed analysis of the data, they actually discovered two pentaquarks and have given them the catchy names Pc(4450)+ and Pc(4380)+.
Why is this important?
The discovery answers a decades-old question in particle physics and highlights another part of the mission of the LHC. Discoveries of new fundamental particles such as the Higgs boson tell us something completely new about the universe. But discoveries like pentaquarks give us a more complete understanding of the rich possibilities that lie in the universe we already know.
By developing this understanding, we may get some hints about how the universe developed after the Big Bang and how we’ve ended up with protons and neutrons instead of pentaquarks making up everyday matter.
With the LHC now colliding protons at almost twice the energy, scientists are ready to tackle some of the other open questions in particle physics. One of the main targets with the new data is Dark Matter, a strange particle which seems to be all around the universe, but has never been seen. Testing the current understanding of quarks, the strong force and all the known particles at this new energy is an essential step towards making such discoveries.