David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Will We Find New Dimensions?

Question: What might the LHC tell us about the existence of extra dimensions of space?

Lisa Randall: The LHC will hopefully find the Higgs Particle; it hopefully will answer the question about the weakness of gravity and why there are different mass scales in the universe.  What the answer will be, we don’t know, although we’ve conjectured what it might be.  One of the possibilities that I and others have worked on is the idea that there could be extra dimensions of space other than the ones we see the forward, backward, left, right, up, down.  There could be other dimensions and they could be connected to explaining some of these features that we can’t otherwise understand.  We don’t know that that’s right.  Other people conjecture, in fact I’ve worked on it too, the idea that it might be something called supersymmetry, which have doubled the amount of particles in the universe, but again has some chance of explaining why there could be this huge hierarchy of mass scales. 

So there could be various possibilities that we conjecture.  I don’t think anyone feels 100% confident, probably there are some people that do, but we really don’t know what’s there.  That’s why we do experiments.  All these theories have good aspects and bad aspects and so until we actually see how the universe works, sometimes the universe is far more clever than anything we think of.  So these were all possibilities, there’s some finer probability for all of them.  And we certainly want to make sure that the machine will test these ideas that it is capable so we’ve made the right – we tell them what the predictions are, what they should be looking for. 

One thing to keep in mind is the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are very difficult because they are very messy.  There’s many billion events per second and you’ve got to narrow that down and be able to look at the small things that the small predictions have a small probability of what could happen and be able to pull those out.  So, you have to have a very clear idea of what it is that you are looking for.  And that’s why we want to make models and tell them what they should be looking for.  What are the unique features that will identify something that’s new and can tell us what’s really going on at these energy scales?

Question: What is supersymmetry?

Lisa Randall: Well the term – to really understand supersymmetry requires you to know something about quantum mechanics.  Supersymmetry connects together different kinds of particles known as bosons and fermions.  Bosons are particles that like to be in the same place, fermions are particles that don’t like to be in the same place.  And the conjecture is, supersymmetry is that for every particle that we know about is a partner that’s the opposite in the sense that if the Higgs boson is a boson there will be a Higgs Zeno, a partner that’s a fermion.  If there are Gath Bosons there are Gath Genos, if there are fermions, there are partnered bosons.  So it sort of doubles the number of particles which, if you think about it from the point of view of what you’ve seen experimented, is quite dramatic.  If supersymmetry is right and explains what we call weak scale phenomena, this questions about masses and about the hierarchy problem, then we’d be able to see a whole school of new particles when the LHC is running at full capacity.

Recorded on February 17, 2010
Interviewed by Austin \r\nAllen

The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland will test some of physicists’ most radical conjectures, from supersymmetry to extra dimensions of space.

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
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    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

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    • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
    • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

    Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

    Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

    Credit: Neom
    Technology & Innovation
    • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
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