Finding the God Particle

Number one on many scientists' 2011 to-do list is to find the Higgs boson—a particle so important to science that it's been dubbed the "God particle."

This fundamental particle, thought to give mass to all particles, has been theorized since 1964, but never detected. That, however, could soon change. "If nature is kind to us we will find it next year," particle physicist Christoph Rembser told LiveScience. Where is this confidence coming from? Rembser works at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, where the world's largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, went online in September 2008. Part of the motivation for building this behemoth machine (its underground ring spans 17 miles, or 27 kilometers, in circumference) was to find the Higgs boson.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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