Recreating the Big Bang
The world's most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, will shortly begin to recreate conditions that existed just instants after the big bang.
What's the Latest Development?
In the coming four weeks, the Large Hadron Collider will begin smashing lead ions together at super-high speeds, creating extremely hot and dense conditions similar to those just instants after the big bang. "Lead ion collisions at the L.H.C. last year showed hints of producing a quark-gluon plasma, an exotic state of matter in which quarks—normally bound in pairs or triplets—are able to wander freely." Until now, the L.H.C. has been hunting the Higgs boson, a particle believed to give mass to matter.
What's the Big Idea?
Scientists want to get closer than ever before to the moment of the big bang and will obtain about ten times as much data this year compared to last. This will allow them to better study the rare quark-gluon plasma state in more detail. "They want to better probe how the behaviour of matter changes with temperature near the quark-gluon plasma state." After it temporarily shuts down during the winter months to save energy, the collider will reopen next year with even more power in hopes of finding the Higgs boson.
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A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
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