Candid Camera as Psychology Experiment
A British psychology professor is working with European and American foundations to inspire young people toward a career, and lifestyle, in the physical and human sciences.
What's the Latest Development?
British psychology professor Tom Stafford recently took to the streets of Berlin to make some important points about how the mind works and that science, in general, is a very human activity. One experiment Stafford performed is an old "Candid Camera" gag in which a man asks a passerby for directions and when two men carrying a door pass between them, the man asking for directions is switched out for another man with substantially different physical characteristic. About half the time, the person giving directions fails to notice they are now talking to a completely different person.
What's the Big Idea?
Professor Stafford is on a mission to make science more accessible to the man on the street, and perhaps more importantly, the child on the street. Aware that Europe and America have produced fewer science graduates than Asia in recent decades, Stafford wants to make science fun and applicable to daily life. The event in Berlin, in which Stafford participated, was sponsored by BMW and the Guggenheim Foundation. It is just one example of an increasing number of "mobile labs" and "experiential science" meant to spur young people's interest in science as a discipline and way of life.
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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