15 December 2012

Practical Benefits of Particle Physics #8

A team at Los Alamos has a plan for using cosmic rays to examine the remains of the Fukushima nuclear reactors.
In a paper in Physical Review Letters, researchers compared two methods for using cosmic-ray radiography to gather images of nuclear material within the core of a reactor similar to Fukushima Daiichi Reactor No. 1. The team found that Los Alamos’ scattering method for cosmic-ray radiography was far superior to the traditional transmission method for capturing high-resolution image data of potentially damaged nuclear material. 

To find a place where you can see the stars...

... take a look at Clear Dark Sky, which includes a stargazing weather forecast and the Dark Sky Finder.

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
     or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
     or can you guide the Bear with its children? 
Job 33:31-33 (ESV)

Common Ground between Climate Skeptics and Conservationists

From the New York Times:

Town managers attribute the new resolve mostly to a yearlong competition sponsored by the Climate and Energy Project, which set out to extricate energy issues from the charged arena of climate politics.

If the heartland is to seriously reduce its dependence on coal and oil, ... the issues must be separated. So the project ran an experiment to see if by focusing on thrift, patriotism, spiritual conviction and economic prosperity, it could rally residents of six Kansas towns to take meaningful steps to conserve energy and consider renewable fuels.
"How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!" -Psalm 133:1

You went to the Creation Musem?!?

Yes, several interested friends and I, including my roommate Chris, drove to the Creation Museum in Kentucky from Columbus. Some readers of this blog may not have heard of this Museum; others may see it as a beacon of truth in a sea of lies; others may see it as a beacon of lies misleading and corrupting American minds. All of these groups are probably asking the same question: Why did you go?

We made our visit on Dec. 8, 2008.  As a professional scientists (a physics graduate student at the time), I was rather hesitant to pay an admission fee to an institution that directly attacks as fraudulent many conclusions of my field, which is also partially why I have waited so long to publish this entry.  Two of the friends with whom I went were also graduate students in physics and astrophysics.  The rest were not scientists and had varying levels of agreement with young Earth creationism, so I thought it would be good for them to tour the museum with scientists. Several other fairly well-known scientists have visited the museum, including Daniel Phelps, President of the Kentucky Paleontological Society,  Lawrence Krauss, a group from the Ninth North American Paleontological Convention, and P. Z. Myers.  So, I thought I would join their ranks.

You can get some idea of the negative reactions this museum has received from most scientists via a collection of responses collected by P. Z. Myers.  I don't have much more to add to them.  My photos are in the album below.  The photo at the top of this post really summarizes the message of the museum: science is destroying the church and moral foundation of this nation.  As I physicist and a Christian, I disagree.

07 December 2012

Moons and Jupiter

From Fermilab Today Nov. 30, 2012: "The moon loomed large Wednesday night. This photo shows our moon, Jupiter and Jupiter's three moons as seen from the patio of the Users' Center. Click to enlarge and let it load— the photo is high-resolution. Zoom in on Jupiter (at roughly 11 o'clock relative to the moon) to see Jupiter's bands and its moons. Photo: Marty Murphy, AD"

Marty is a colleague and softball teammate. Actually, Jupiter has more than three moons, but only three are visible in this photograph.