Understanding Science 01If you ever want a truly humbling experience, try reading the CERN COURIER, which is the International Journal of High-Energy Physic produced for CERN by IOP Publishing Ltd.   I have browsed through it before only understanding glimpses of what they are discussing.  Some articles leave me feeling like a giant blank canvas, but when I do understand a few tidbits, there is a certain strange feeling of accomplishment like I had just survived climbing some high steep cliff.  One certainly develops a new appreciation for the people who do truly understand what is written within its pages.

So some of you may ask, where or how did I gain access to such a journal of intense technology?  Well, you know that technology expert that we are always bragging about…. Bill Sikkens, well, he receives it, and that is because he is a quantum physicist.   So all that hubbub about him being an expert isn’t a marketing ploy or drama, it’s real.  So he had me read an article from the latest issue of the CERN Courier because it is about technology and the kind of technology that the rest of us regular folks can get excited about.  The only problem was after I read it, I wasn’t sure I understood enough to have anything to say.

So here’s my take on the article….

Participants at the WAG 2013 meeting basically discussed a massive group effort from labs all over the western hemisphere to study gravity and antimatter.  It appears that different facilities can observe different levels or aspects of the study and the scientists have to go through many intricate procedures to create the right environment to be truly sure they are measuring what they think they are measuring.  Apparently electromagnetic fields can mess up the measurements.  One thing to remember about science is that in order for a scientific idea to be considered “real” – it has to be able to be created over and over consistently and predictably.  For example, one could say that all wood burns, but if one truly tried to burn all wood by just throwing it into the fireplace, they would come across a few difficulties such as wet wood does not burn well.  Scientific methodology would take into consideration these variations of circumstance of how well the wood burns and what causes these variations, and that is how the scientific process works: Observations, documentation, and measurements of the situation in question.

Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera in the mid 1960’s.

Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera in the mid 1960’s.

So how is this article exciting to the rest of the regular population?  Well from what I understand these experiments are the basics needed for developing those cool cars that the cartoon family The Jetsons used to speed around their ultra high level modern apartment complex.  Or perhaps develop the awesome Landspeeder that Luke Skywalker had on Tatooine.    So if technological development is taking us closer to having those kinds of vehicles?!  Yah, I’m excited.  So if you wish to read the details of how scientists are currently working with antimatter, gravity, laser beams, and radioactive sodium, please feel free to pick up the March 2014 edition of the CERN COURIER and while you are at it, you might want to grab a physicist too to help explain some of it.

G. Winkler © 2014
Technology Artist  – Cumulus Technology