Dream of the Dragon

Category: Physics

Atomic Speak (Kimota)

by Justin

This made every meal an ordeal for Dirac: he had no talent for languages, and his father was an unforgiving teacher. Whenever Dirac made a slip – a mispronunciation, a wrongly gendered noun, a botched subjunctive – his father made it a rule to refuse his next request. This caused the young Dirac terrible distress. Even at that time, he had digestive problems and often felt sick when he was eating, but his father would refuse him permission to leave the table if he made a linguistic error. Dirac would then have no option but to sit still and vomit. This did not happen just occasionally, but over and over again, for years.

-fromĀ The Strangest Man: The Secret Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

I was/am working on a piece about the final collisions at the Tevatron, the premiere atom smasher in this country. That sprawling beast of a story, about the history and legacy of the sprawling underground beast that is the Tevatron, dominated the past three months. Particle physics is a lovely and dangerous subject for writers. Read the rest of this entry »

Broad strokes and big dreams.

by Justin

It’s been days of dense, often incomprehensible science. Thrilling, magical, and unlikely. The theoretical madness of particle physics becomes so much more real when you’re face to face with the machinery designed to unravel the universe into its fundamental components. The LHC detectors are more swoon-worthy than you can imagine.

Much, much more on that to come. Complete with photos and videos and all that goodness. But when I sat down to write this evening, I was more interested in communicating the value of the work here at CERN. That puzzle is the reason physicists here will find time to talk to a budding journalist. They want to sell the product that fills them with passion and pleasure. A pursuit that inspired a 27 kilometer underground tunnel that collides hadrons.

Into a stream of consciousness, saving the physics for another day: Read the rest of this entry »