Monday, March 30, 2009

question 3 for the physicist

----update Sept. 2010----
This is one of my favorite posts. I enjoy visiting Fermilab and that cool spiral picture (see below) was taken from their website.   I have driven by that piece of outdoor art many times.  I guess it to be 30 - 40 feet tall.

Blogging offers you the chance to discover new people from strange far away places like Wisconsin (hey it's far from somewhere). One blogger I've discovered with a very interesting blog is Mrs. 4444 (I wonder if there's some physics related thing to this number). She is a teacher and she offers up this Saturday Sampling so that readers can find interesting posts easily.

I thought this post should be added to the selection. Let me know if you agree it was a good choice. thanks

Saturday Sampling

----end of update----

einstein quote

Above is slide #3 from a presentation by Dr. Pier Oddone that I was fortunate to attend.

It's a great quote and one that everyone should think about.

The mysterious

Any parents out there might remember when their toddlers possessed that special wonder of the world. Remember when they would start to ask why all the time. Some people (physicist, artists, etc.) manage to hold on to the wonder and mystery, but it's too bad that many lose it or maybe it's even driven away by our culture.

Everyone probably wishes more people would be interested in their own interests. Birds of feather flock together is a truism. So I wish more people took interest in science and Fermilab.

I suspect more people in Chicagoland don't know of it than do. Even worst in my opinion, they don't care when they do hear about it.


Last friday I took advantage of being close to Fermilab and attended the presentation (great value for $5). Fermilab which can be seen often from the air when flying in/out of Ohare, is worth a visit. In addition to the physics they have a natural praire and a herd of buffalo.

Right now it has the most powerful operating particle accelerator/smasher in the world. Soon the CERN (a fun clip about CERN) facility will come online and surpass the energy levels at Fermilab.

But for the next year or so, Fermilab could actually find the next big thing in physics, the Higgs particle. However, most bets (I suspect physicists gamble all the time) are on CERN finding it.

From the presentation I learned the lab is working many different experiments beyond looking for the Higgs particle. One program centers on neutrinos which are strange particles flying through us all the time. Fermilab blasts a stream of neutrinos to a massive detector in a mine located just south of the Canadian border of Minnesota. Strange thing is they shoot this stream through the earth - no tunnel needed.

Their study of neutrinos will hopefully explain why our universe is matter instead of antimatter.

But as Dr. Oddone points out the biggest discoveries will be those that nobody expected - the

At the end of the presentation, I was lucky enough to ask question #3.

Here's the lecture video (it's over an hour but you can skip ahead)
The Future of Particle Physics & Fermilab, Dr. Pier Oddone March 27, 2009
For those that might recognize my voice, here's how to jump ahead to my question.

  1. Click the above link to the streamed video
  2. Start the clip (it might start automatically)
  3. Click on the "thumbnail" button in the upper right corner
  4. Go to the last slide (page 40 of 40)
  5. Click on last slide
It should go to the last slide and start playing from there. The Q&A starts right after he finishes. I tried moving the video ahead just a little but that didn't seem to work for me. My question is the third question about the Obama administration. You don't see me - only hear my voice.

Share a smile


Allison said...

Great job Dad! As a elementary school teacher we teach and encourage the students to ask questions. I once read an educational book that mentioned teachers too often are the ones asking the questions and the students need to be the ones asking the questions. The best is when the students use the phrase, "I wonder..." Also, many students would tell you their favorite subject is science. Fortunately, my school district has a very hands-on science curriculum and we do not use a science text book (only supplemental reading material). My school also hosts a summer program called "Camp Invention." There is hope!

lisleman said...

@allison thanks - yes hope is eternal
It's good to know many people do care and see the importance of this.
The media can distort things so it's hard to know if science is gaining or losing ground in the public.

We need technical educated people to work on the energy problems ahead.

Robin Easton said...

I love what you shared here about mystery. I am a great lover of mystery. I think it is why I love exploring the unknown and have walked much of my life off the beaten path. There is so much magic and mystery to be found there. I also think my love of the the great mystery is why I don't always like all the answers told to me. I love to discover them myself...even if there are no answers and I am simply left in awe of the mystery of it all. Beautiful post, my friend. Robin

lisleman said...

@robin easton thanks
As we learn more, we find there is so much more we don't know.
thanks for the visit.

Lilly said...

Lisleman, I thought the ipod present for the Queen was apthetic. Truly she is in her mid 80s for goodness sakes. Stupid and trying to be clever no doubt. Thats my opinion anyway, he he!!

lisleman said...

@lilly thanks for answering my question about the Ipod gift (left on your blog)

I did a short post on this gift on my other blog change gov luv, but I didn't reference it in my comment so I understand why this ended up here.

I like comments so great.

gaelikaa said...

Well, I'm not really a science person lisleman, but you know I do think we must try and broaden our horizons and go boldly into areas which are out of our comfort zone. This was a worthy addition to Saturday Sampling.

Incidentally, I'm stopping by from there on this occasion.

Christy Killion said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Although at times I struggle to grasp physics, I completely understand about the wonder and mystery of science. Well, before I just changed jobs, I worked in an immunology lab. Sometimes I think the public in general brushes off on science because they don't understand the words being spoken, and rather than simplify the language some scientists just keep and converse within their own little group. One of my coworkers could not grasp the concept of taking the tiny part of the immune system we focused on and expanding how our findings could effect the entire body / an auto-immune disease. But when I expanded that thinking for my dad, he truely grasped the wonder that comes when you understand how everything works together. Great post, and thanks for adding it to Saturday Sampling!

Emily said...

Ugh, feeling too sick to get this (or maybe not smart enough on a good day?) but wanted to let you know I stopped by:-)

lisleman said...

thanks for sharing your story and thoughts.
I agree that even if you don't completely understand the science you can still be amazed and in wonder about it. Truth be told the scientists don't have it all figured out and that's why the research continues. I'm convinced all the various industries have they own lingo. Even bloggers have lingo.

Mrs4444 said...

Dang it! It requires a plugin that my computer won't allow right now. (Sorry about that.) I really enjoyed this post; your passion for the subject matter leaps off the page (or computer screen, I guess). I also found your "seriousness" a little disarming (in a good way, haha). I think Dave (42N) would really appreciate this post, so I'll let him know!

lisleman said...

thanks - don't bother with plugin - I only linked it because I thought people that know me might recognize my voice asking that question.
If you are interested in this subject you should check out their web site.

42N said...

Great blog post. Thanks Mrs. 4444 for directing me here. Its the God particle stuff and other mysteries that I hope CERN and Fermilab can discover.

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