We know more about what dark matter isn’t than what dark matter is.
By Shelby Traynor
Collage by Alex Hanson, using an image of the Coma Cluster
A mile underground, in a converted mine somewhere in South Dakota, scientists have been trying to detect an elusive substance that makes up around 27 per cent of all the mass and energy in the observable universe: dark matter.
For twenty months, from October 2014 to May 2016, the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment was trying to detect dark matter. But at last week’s International Dark Matter Conference (a name I call immediate dibs on in case I start a girl band), Professor of Physics at Brown University Rick Gaitskell said: “What we have observed is consistent with background alone.”
The LUX experiment had failed. Dark matter remains as mysterious as Jess Mariano in season two of Gilmore Girls. Continue reading “Dark Matter: The Jess Mariano of the Universe”
As a framework and approach to social theory and research, A.N.T. is centered around science and technology, but is by no means limited to it.
By Melody Xu
Illustration by Charlotte Southall
The traditional view of science and technology holds that what the two different fields hope to achieve are in stark contrast: Galileo “discovered” the phases of Venus, but these phases existed prior to his “discovery.” Diesel “invented” the diesel engine, which did not exist before his invention. However, the foundation of actor-network theory (A.N.T.) stands on the claim of technoscience, which claims that science and technology share the same type of processes rather than having inherently different methods. In this sense, then, what would be perceived as a discovery (science) or an invention (technology) are constructed by the same type of processes. Both can be mapped out by actor-networks. As a framework and approach to social theory and research, A.N.T. is centered around science and technology, but is by no means limited to it. Continue reading “Technoscience and Scallops: Actor-Network Theory (ANT)”
NASA received a three-second beep to reassure them that the spacecraft had made it into orbit in one piece. Juno project manager Rick Nybakken told the room: “We just did the hardest thing NASA’s ever done.”
by Shelby Traynor
Image credit: NASA/JPL
In Ancient Roman mythology, Jupiter claimed domain over the sky and the thunder. He cloaked himself in cloud to hide his mischief— but his wife, Juno, could see past it all. It’s no accident that NASA named a spacecraft after her (though they did give the craft a backronym in an attempt to cover their sentimental tracks), or that she has been zipping through space at almost 19 miles per second for the past five years, her sights set on Jupiter and it’s mysteries.
Juno snuck its way into Jupiter’s orbit on July 4th. At 11:18 PM Eastern Time the main engine started firing, slowing the spacecraft enough so it could fall into the planet’s orbit. At 11:53 PM, those engines were shut off. Almost four hundred million miles away, NASA received a three-second beep to reassure them that the spacecraft had made it into orbit in one piece. Juno project manager Rick Nybakken told the room: “We just did the hardest thing NASA’s ever done.” Continue reading “Jupiter’s Big Day”
Your Snapchat feeds are about to get STEAM-y (STEAM: that’s STEM, plus art).
HERpothesis is looking for a social media assistant!
Image credit: Summer solstice 2013, taken by Adriana Ortiz
I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying the fabulous coincidence of a strawberry moon and a summer solstice tonight!
To continue with the flavor of tonight’s moon, I’ve got a sweet little HERpothesis update for you. Here’s the deal: I’m looking for a social media assistant for HERpothesis. Right now HERpothesis’s editorial/administrative/social media teams consist of, well, just me. And I would love some help with our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. This would include finding relevant pages to follow and connect with on each platform, pitching ways to expand our social media content, and keeping an eye out for awesome ladies in STEAM that might make great HERpothesis contributors. The commitment would be a few hours total per week, ideally split up into a little bit of work each day. This position would be great for someone in high school or a college underclassman, with an interest in media and/or STEAM fields. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a little bit about yourself, why you’re interested, and ask any questions you may have about the position, HERpothesis, me, who Rey’s parents are, the meaning of life, etc. (I can’t guarantee to know the answer to the meaning of life but I can provide you with plentiful theories about Rey’s lineage.)
Beyond that, keep an eye out for our upcoming HERpothesis Golden Record project, to be released in time for aliens to find it before they invade Earth, hopefully.
Have a great night, and be sure to watch the sunset.
By Julia Arciga
Art by Charlotte Southall
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a chemist. Then I found out I was really, really bad at all things STEM.
No, it’s completely true. I scraped through pre-calc on some kind of miracle. Physics was so intriguing to me, but I would always get those pesky equations wrong—no matter how hard I tried. But my apparent non-affinity for all things science never really stopped me from trying: I once enrolled in a free open course from Yale on Quantum Physics (bad idea, in hindsight). I was a part of my high school’s Science Olympiad club, and got 7th place in competition. I was never a scientific success, but I was just so happy to be surrounded by things that I knew nothing about that I didn’t really care if I embarrassed myself.
I got my start in coding in a completely unusual way: through supermodel Karlie Kloss.
Once upon a time, I also wanted to be a professional model (also a bad idea for me, in hindsight). Karlie Kloss was one of my idols—and she’s still such a muse of mine to this day, although my supermodel dreams are far behind me. I caught wind that she was picking up coding, and I thought that was super interesting: some glamorous fashion goddess was flaunting her geeky side. Mix that with companies like Google and Snapchat moving into my neighborhood of Venice Beach and my dad working on code around the house, and it wasn’t long before I decided to sign up for Codecademy, just to give it a shot. Continue reading “Cracking Code, and Subsequently, Life Itself”