Posts Tagged ‘Phil Plait’

My 25 Mundane Neutrino Explanations

Today I had the most fun I’ve ever had on Twitter, thanks to the OPERA experiment working out of CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

The blogosphere is ablaze with news that they seem to have detected neutrinos traveling faster than light.  If true, it would be the biggest science news of the century, overturning one of the most fundamental concepts in physics.  There is obviously much skepticism amongst scientists.  For a typically insightful explanation, check out Bad Astronomer Phil Plait‘s post:  Faster-than-light travel discovered? Slow down, folks

The Twitter fun began when a discussion between two physicist/mathematician-types, Blake Stacey (@blakestacey) and S.C. Kavassalis (@sc_k) led Blake to tweet:

@sc_k Maybe we need to counterbalance the HEP blogohedron with a Twitter meme? e.g., #mundaneneutrinoexplanations

Then he spun out a few funny examples of more mundane explanations for the unusual neutrino measurement:

  • #CERN physicists did arithmetic on old Pentium computers
  • #CERN physicists let undergrads near the experiment
  • Calculations done by visiting Americans who still don’t get the metric system.

…  all with the #mundaneneutrinoexplanations hashtag appended.

I think I was the first one to follow his lead with:

  • Forgot to carry the one
  • Confused neutrino with one sent later
  • Study published by Wakefield et al

Then @drskyskull and @physicsdavid and others joined in (even astophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Bad Astronomer) and, before you know it, the Twitterverse was alive with funny explanations, some of which may be as likely as superluminal neutrinos.  I ended up spitting out about 25 of them, which I present here, as they were tweeted, in reverse chronological order (so start from the bottom).  Enjoy!




Hawking, Space Colonization and Jupiter Impacts on

“Science Comedian: Talking Hawking, the Moon and Beyond” – our newest video essay is up on, as part of their celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It’s about Stephen Hawking and space colonization.

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Why is Science Important?

Alom Shaha has made a wonderful 28-minute film entitled “Why is Science Important?”

Shaha is a physics teacher at an inner city school in the UK, and also a TV producer who specializes in science programs.  The film was made to be broadcast on Teachers TV (a UK cable channel) but it’s also available online in excellent HD quality – and can even be shared and embedded, as seen below (you can view a larger size if you click over to his site).

The website also contains “a collection of thoughts from leading scientists, public figures …and you.”  Add your thoughts on why science is important and they’ll appear alongside the thoughts of Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, SETI’s Seth Shostak, LabLit’s Jennifer Rohn, and many others.

Visit Alom’s YouTube Channel – sciencefilms – to see more answers to the question “Why is Science Important?” as well as some of his other films.

Why is Science Important?
Bad Astronomy blog
Seth Shostak

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