Science Insight – Heard about the GOD particle?

International scientists at the CERN physics research center near Geneva claim to have found signs of Higgs Boson, an elementary sub-atomic particle believed to have played a vital role in the creation of the universe after the Big Bang. Two independent experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva have turned up signs of the so-called “God particle.” Why the name? Well, under what is known as the Standard Model of Physics, the Boson is believed to be the component that gives mass and energy to matter in our everyday lives.

The Large Hadron Collider, by the way, is a vast underground particle accelerator that costs US $215,000 an hour to run. It is designed to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang to allow particles such as the Higgs Boson to be found and studied. The experiments have not yet turned up enough data to confirm the Higgs Boson’s existence. But if the claim is true, scientists say the finding of this elusive particle will be one of the top scientific achievements of the past 50 years.

Join the hunt for the GOD particle. With all the action packed information unfolding, we decided to provide you a list of books in the Seattle Public Library catalog that can provide you background information. Rarely do we get the opportunity to promote some of our older book selections. Don’t fret that some of these readings are dated back to the 80s. Scientists have speculated and searched for this jewel for a long time.

The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? by Leon M. Lederman

Sneaking A Look at God’s Cards: Unraveling the Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics by G. C. Ghirardi

Particle Physics: The Quest for the Substance of Substance by L. B. Okunʹ

Elementary-particle Physics: Revealing the Secrets of Energy and Matter

Particle Physics in the Cosmos: Readings from Scientific American Magazine

The Ideas of Particle Physics: An Introduction for Scientists by J. E. Dodd

Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures by Richard P. Feynman

From Atoms to Quarks: An Introduction to the Strange World of Particle Physics by James S. Trefil

The Quark Machines: How Europe Fought the Particle Physics War by Gordon Fraser

The Wizard of Quarks: A Fantasy of Particle Physics by Robert Gilmore

Newest Selections

The Fallacy of Fine-tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us by Victor J. Stenger

Gravity: How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives by Brian Clegg

Knocking on Heaven’s Door How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World by Lisa Randall

Physics Demystified by Stan Gibilisco

Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything by Margaret Wertheim

A Zeptospace Odyssey: A Journey into the Physics of the LHC by Gian Francesco Giudice

Collider: The Search for the World’s Smallest Particles by Paul Halpern

The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider by Don Lincoln

Science Insight – Pacific Northwest “Adapter” Author

Rebecca Stefoff is referred to as an “adapter” author who writes nonfiction for young adults, with an emphasis on science and history. Her gift is interpreting complex subjects and writings to make them understandable to the average reader. Thus, her focus is the young audience. Through her books, readers can explore topics as varied as ghosts, robots, bacteria, evolution, women pioneers, ancient ruins and forensic crime solving. Over the course of her career as a freelance writer Rebecca has also written romance novels, celebrity biographies, reference works and even a self-help book. In addition, she has adapted the works of historian Howard Zinn and science writer Charles C. Mann, for young audiences.

After growing up in Indiana, Rebecca moved to Philadelphia for graduate school. Later she moved to the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Portland, Oregon. Rebecca published her first books when she was in college and has been writing ever since. She is the author of more than 150 books. The Seattle Public Library catalog contains at least 79 books in which she has authored or collaborated. Continue reading “Science Insight – Pacific Northwest “Adapter” Author”

Science Insight – Quest to find Consciousness

For a long time, consciousness has been the subject of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, cognitive science and other disciplines in the natural and social sciences and the humanities. What is the nature of consciousness? Asking the question is simple, but determining the answer is not. Consciousness can seem utterly familiar, even mundane. People excuse themselves for “unconsciously” ignoring someone they know or profess that they seek to “expand their consciousness.” But a true understanding of the phenomenon remains elusive. How do the brain’s physical systems work together to create the subjective experiences of the mind and the self-reflective, private thoughts that make us who we are?

What is clear, however, is that consciousness is formed by external stimuli, to which we are exposed throughout life—when we taste wine, recognize a face or listen to a John Coltrane saxophone solo. All of these events trigger a sequence of processes that we experience as coherent, inner and subjective states of sentience called qualia—a key term in consciousness studies. Continue reading “Science Insight – Quest to find Consciousness”

Science Insight – Science Databases

DNA sculpture at Seattle Science Center - photo courtesy of Jay L.Gale Science in Context (formerly The Science Resource Center) is a one-stop science database for all your science-related research needs. This in-depth, curriculum-oriented, resource focuses on key concepts taught in school classrooms, including…

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Health and Medicine
  • Math and Technology
  • Physics and Astronomy

In addition to these six major subjects, the revamped database main page provides access to approximately 390 preselected topics ranging from “abortion and family planning” to “zoology.” It also presents more complex topics such as “reflection, refraction, diffraction and wave interference.” Searchable content includes images, academic journals, experiments, news, magazines, statistics, videos, audio plugs and websites.

Choose the topic “evolution” and you Continue reading “Science Insight – Science Databases”

Science Insight – Secrets of Human Success

Our latest edition of Scientific American (August 2010) contains a special report titled “Origins” that details  “the untold story of our salvation,”  also known as ‘Secrets of Our Success.”  No, it’s not about key leadership success secrets, nor is it about succeeding in business.  It’s about how once humans almost went extinct, yet … we made it!  Lucky for us!!

Our hominid ancestors can be described as extremely diverse, and the  lineage is not linear, but rather jagged and filled with dead ends.  As modern humans we represent the youngest of this lineage.  Scientists estimate humans branched off from their common ancestor with chimpanzees about 5–7 million years ago. Several species and subspecies of Homo evolved and are now extinct.

The first humans were intelligent and thriving. Scientist believe that like the gorilla and the chimpanzee of today, they were strong, able to hold their own without tools in the jungle or savannah grasslands.

Current research suggests the first tool users were isolated bands of these able-bodied hominids. Through chance, accident and disease, tools would be developed many times and then the knowledge was lost.  At some point in the distant past, a thread of culture developed that didn’t die out, but developed and occasionally flared up into a coherent technology, but populations were probably small and scattered. Again chance, accident or disease would destroy an emerging technology, but still some thread of the emerging technology would persist.

If you are intrigued Continue reading “Science Insight – Secrets of Human Success”