Why 2012 Could Solve the Universe's Mysteries
It's springtime and you know what that means. The Large Hadron Collider is back up and running, now with more energy than ever. The collider has already set new world energy records.
What's the Latest Development?
If you're a physics fan, springtime means a new season of exciting discoveries from the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, located beneath the French-Swiss border. "2012 looks set to be a vintage year for particle physics," said Sergio Bertolucci, director of research at the LHC's home lab CERN. Scientists have increased the power levels at which they smash together fundamental particles, "sending them speeding toward each other at energies of 4 teraelectron volts (TeV), creating a collision energy of 8 TeV—a new world record."
What's the Big Idea?
What do the physicists who operate the LHC expect to find this year? Nothing more than the answers to our most puzzling physical questions. Among them are the existence of the Higgs boson as well as particles predicted to exist by a physics theory called supersymmetry. "If supersymmetric particles are discovered, they may offer an explanation for the mystery of dark matter, the invisible stuff thought to make up most of the matter in the universe." Ultimately, the collider will run at 7TeVeach, producing a collision energy of 14 TeV. The power-up will require the machine to shutdown for refurbishment at the end of the year.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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