Seven smashing atom smashers

Publication:   Date: August 7, 2008   View Article

The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile-round atom-smasher on the French-Swiss border, has been 14 years and several billion dollars in the making. The machine is designed to rev up opposing beams of particles to nearly the speed of light and smash them together. The debris will help scientists probe some of the deepest questions in science. Learn more about the LHC and six more atom-smashers that were at the cutting edge of science in their day.

Stardust’s Space Cargo Thrills Scientists

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 19, 2006   View Article

Scientists say they’re thrilled and awed by their first glimpse at the comet particles and samples of interstellar dust returned by the Stardust spacecraft.

Stardust’s canister of samples dropped safely to Utah’s desert floor Sunday.

Stardust Space Capsule to Touch Down Sunday in Utah

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 13, 2006   View Article

If all goes according to plan, Stardust—a space capsule carrying a cargo of comet and interstellar dust particles—will scream into Earth’s atmosphere Sunday, deploy a series of parachutes, and drift down to the Utah desert.

Expected to land at 3:12 a.m. local time, the cargo may reveal answers to fundamental questions about comets, the origins of the solar system, and the building blocks of life.

Southwest Rodent Boom to Cause Deadly Hantavirus Outbreak?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 6, 2005   View Article

Heavy rains that drenched parts of the southwestern U.S. last winter and spring will likely drive an outbreak of deadly Hantavirus in 2006, according to a biologist who studies rodents that carry the disease.

Hantavirus causes bleeding, kidney failure, and lung infections. People catch the disease after they inhale infected particles of dried rodent dung and urine. About 36 percent of all reported human cases are fatal.

Scientists Ponder Universe’s Missing Antimatter

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 6, 2005   View Article

Why is the universe dominated by matter? It is among the most perplexing questions to face particle physicists, scientists who study the tiniest building blocks of the universe.

Theories of physics require that for every particle of matter created at the big bang—the cosmic explosion that marked the beginning of the universe—so too was its antiparticle equivalent, or antimatter, said Persis Drell, a particle physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in Menlo Park, California.

New Nano Brushes Keep the Tiny Tidy

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 17, 2005   View Article

Even at the nano-scale—where machines and materials can be the size of atoms and molecules—there are messes to sweep, walls to paint, tubes to unclog, and electronics to power. And now there’s a way to make the tiniest of brushes to do these chores.

Made with bristles more than a thousand times smaller than a human hair, they are the tiniest brushes in the world. Yet they are durable and flexible enough to perform any brushing chore.

Space Dust Flooding Our Solar System

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 27, 2003   View Article

A flood of interstellar dust is breaching the sun’s weakened magnetic shield and drifting into the solar system, according to European astronomers.

The interstellar dust particles measure about one-hundredth the diameter of a human hair. The bits are thought to supply the building blocks of all solid bodies in the galaxy, including the planets and humans.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach