Download PDF by James Trefil Physics Professor: 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does
By James Trefil Physics Professor
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Extra resources for 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either
At any given stage in the development of a science, however, there is some experiment that must be done, some machine that must be built if progress is to continue. The SSC was that machine for high-energy physics in the twenty-first century. It was designed to deal with a number of questions, the most important of which was the nature of mass. Mass remains one of the most mysterious properties in the universe. We know, for example that the electron has mass, and we can even measure it to several decimal places.
Some physicists are taking a new look at existing accelerators, trying to substitute cleverness for power and see if they can conduct experiments that will shed some light on the nature of the Higgs. For example, there are proposals to use existing machines to make large numbers of particles containing the rarer quarks, the hope being that with a large number of data points some features will emerge that aren't evident today. Others are pinning their hopes on a new machine to be built at the Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.
In two areas of science this question has been taken beyond idle speculation and into the realm of serious debate: cosmology and evolutionary theory. In cosmology, the question is usually framed in terms of the fundamental constants of nature. If the gravitational force, for example, or the charge on < previous page page_53 next page > < previous page page_54 next page > Page 54 the electron were different, what would the universe be like? In particular, would it have been possible for an intelligent being to develop and ask a question like this?
101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either by James Trefil Physics Professor