A Particle Full of Charm

The Xicc++ particle will become a tool to observe the strong force in another light.

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By Shelby Traynor

Collage by Alex Hanson using an image representing the new particle observed by LHCb, containing two charm quarks and one up quark. (Image credit: Daniel Dominguez/CERN)

Almost two-hundred metres beneath the France-Switzerland border, physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider have observed a new particle. A charming particle. They’ve been on the look-out for him for some time, and now they’ve got him— Xicc++.  

The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but this guy is more than meets the eye. He’s heavy. He’s charming. He’s a subatomic particle, and he’s a real catch. CERN’s particle smasher— based near Geneva, Switzerland— spotted the fellow during the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment, or the LHCb experiment for short.

Xicc++ is the elusive brother of the proton, neutron, and of a number of other composite subatomic particles. These particles are all a part of the same family, because they’re all made up of three quarks. What are quarks, you ask? Well, let’s dive in. Continue reading “A Particle Full of Charm”

Instagram Photo Diary: Museum of Science

Documenting a day at the Museum of Science, with a special spotlight on the POPnology exhibit.

Photos and text by Alex Hanson

My mom and I took a trip to the Museum of Science in Boston yesterday, and had a total blast interacting with the exhibits and taking photos along the way. Below, find my Instagram photo diary of the trip. 

Continue reading “Instagram Photo Diary: Museum of Science”

“We Are All Matter, and We All Matter”

In class last week, Melody pointed out her love of a sentence on the final page of the paper.

By Alex Hanson

This semester I have been granted the absolute highest honor of taking a class with my friend and HERpothesis collaborator Melody Xu. Our class focuses on feminist science studies,  science and technology studies, and tinkering in technoscience. Last week, we read a paper called “Animal Performances: An Exploration of Intersections between Feminist Science Studies and Studies of Human/Animal Relationships,” by Lynda BirkeMette Bryld, and Nina Lykke. The title is a bit intimidating, and the text offers theoretical concepts that required me to reread several paragraphs, but it is overall a really interesting look at the way feminist science studies can apply to human’s relationship and perception of animals. (If you’re interested, you can find the paper here!)

In class last week, Melody pointed out her love of a sentence on the final page of the paper: “We are all matter, and we all matter.” In the context of the paper, it is addressing each individual’s ability to blur the separation between humans and animals. On it’s own, I think this quote is beautiful because it connects humans to the rest of the universe as “matter”— that inanimate “stuff” that makes up everything but also feels very separate from us as human individuals— and addresses the individual power we hold because we are made up of that matter. Since Melody brought it up in class, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I made this image of the quote in order to do its some justice with bright colors and a bold font.

Saran Toure On Interning At The American Museum of Natural History

“I get to inspire them to think deeper and encourage them to deepen their interests. Those people are the reason I show up at the museum every weekend.”

Interview by Alex Hanson
Photo: Saran working at the museum. Courtesy of Saran Toure.
One of my favorite place in New York City is the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Naturally, I find myself there often, and on one of my most recent visits I met Saran Toure, a high school student and Saltz Intern at AMNH. Saran was posted at the upper level of the Hall of Ocean Life, at a cart fitted with tanks of plankton, dishes, and magnifying glasses. She was answering questions from museum visitors as well as facilitating plankton observation and dishing out amazing facts about the tiny sea creatures, including the fact that jellyfish are a type of plankton! I was struck by Saran’s impressive ability to share her knowledge in a fun and engaging way, so I caught up with her in an email interview in December to ask her about her amazing internship and her goals for the future.

Continue reading “Saran Toure On Interning At The American Museum of Natural History”

One Year of HERpothesis

Celebrating our contributors!

Featured image by Charlotte Southall

Hey all!

Today marks one year since HERpothesis launched as an online publication. It’s been an absolute honor to work with the women who have contributed their writing and art to the site. They see the world in so many colors and dimensions intersecting at a million points. Highlighting these intersections, fascinations, and illuminations with them, in their words, and with their art, is the most fun project I could ask for. It brings me such joy to work with these amazing ladies— their ages range from early teens to early twenties, their interests bridge STEM and the arts, and they’re tackling the big questions with curiosity and humor. I want to give them a big thank you for making HERpothesis what it is, and to thank all their friends, family, and fans for reading, sharing, and discussing their work.

Below, I want to give a shout out to every lady who has contributed to HERpothesis in the past year.  Continue reading “One Year of HERpothesis”

Catching Up With Sci Chic

An interview with Sci Chic founder Erin Winick.

Interview by Alex Hanson

Feature Image: Women sporting Sci Chic jewelry, provided by Erin Winick

Back in February, mechanical engineering student Erin Winick introduced HERpothesis to the fashionable side of science when she shared the story behind Sci Chic, her jewelry line inspired by STEM. Now, Sci Chic is a little more than a year old and has grown exponentially in both reach and the products offered. Erin has done an amazing job creating a business, a brand, and bringing STEM to the masses through Sci Chic. I caught up with her to ask about Sci Chic’s development and her goals for the future.

Alex: You last wrote about Sci Chic for HERpothesis in February. How has Sci Chic developed, as a creative pursuit, since then?

Erin: We have grown and branched out a lot! We have really worked to build a community around Sci Chic and bring in women in STEM collaborators, include more areas of science, and sell in more places than just our website. We have included more earth science and math jewelry, as examples.

How have your goals changed since you started Sci Chic?

We have moved on from just trying to prove our idea to trying to reach a larger audience! We have products we have gotten awesome feedback on, know how to 3D print our products, and are set up to grow. Now we are working on building more videos, blogs, educational materials and ways for people to experience Sci Chic. We want to increase the prominence of science inspired fashion and spark every day conversations about science. Continue reading “Catching Up With Sci Chic”

Out of This World

Spacey illustrations by Sonja Katanic.

Illustrations and Captions by Sonja Katanic

Couch Surfing

When you finally feel at home somewhere, your new habitat, and it’s just in time for you leave. The feeling of floating there, suspended in this state, this longing to stay forever is unbearable.

day-13

Space Girl

This is a piece of art I did that is completely different to any self-portraits I’ve ever done. It is not who I am, nor who I will be. It is my ideal, who I wish I could be. Unshackled of any earthly responsibilities, the epitome of calmness and serenity, and most importantly, anxiety-free. She is a character I think about a lot, and one I even created a constellation in the sky for.

space-girl-web-size.jpg

Find more of Sonja’s art on her Instagram page @spicy_astro_babe.