Tag Archives: physics

New Smart Puppy Episodes!

8232Holy hairball! Smart Puppy and Friends are back – this time enlisting friends from around the globe to have fun and introduce viewers to the basics of some fascinating facets of material science.


No, really it’s a goofy romp, and you might learn something you didn’t know you could learn from a talking Labrador puppy and some cuddly kittens.

With guest vignettes featuring Nobel Laureates smashing computer drives and tossing soccer balls, and Tel-Aviv University’s impresario of levitation Boaz Almog pulling some hijinks with a fantastic frozen flying saucer – Smart Puppy and Friends have a blast showing off some of the weird and wonderful things stuff can do when their inquisitive friends around the world get a hold of them.

Watch Smart Puppy now!


Listen to Voices from History…Literally

Vitaliy Fadeyev (left) and Carl Haber with some of the wax cylinders,
and acetate and shellac discs, which will be studied with methods under
development at Berkeley Lab.

Imagine a voice reaching across more than a hundred years to whisper right into your ear. What if this voice belonged to a significant historical figure who, until now, had remained mute to the generations that followed?

That’s exactly what a team of digital restoration experts and physicists, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory‘s Carl Haber, did when it melded science with high-resolution digital restoration techniques to turn back the sands of time and restore the voice of Alexander Graham Bell from a previously unplayable recording. The restoration process will lead to the recovery of many fragile recordings, allowing us to form a deeper connection to history.

Carl Haber and his colleagues at the UC-operated Berkeley Lab have been plugging away at their technique to bring century-old recordings of music and spoken word from the Library of Congress back to life.  You can learn all about the science behind this amazing process from Haber himself in these two UCTV videos from 2005 and 2009.

“Imaging the Voices of the Past: Using Physics to Restore Early Sound Recordings”

“Hot Technology – Cool Science”


In Memoriam: Reach for the Stars with Sally Ride

UCTV's "Reach for the Stars with Sally Ride"

Sadly, we learned today that Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, UC San Diego Professor Emeritus, and an advocate for science education, passed away at her home in San Diego. She was 61.

The UC San Diego campus, where Ride became Professor of Physics in 1989 (and where UCTV is based), is already relatively quiet this summer break, but the news of Ride’s premature passing due to pancreatic cancer has created a more somber tone. Her loss will obviously also be felt at the San Diego-based company she founded, Sally Ride Science, which provided science education materials and assistance to teachers and schools.

In February 2011, Ride visited UC Berkeley to deliver the UC Berkeley Physics Regent’s Lecture titled “Reach for the Stars with Sally Ride.” In the talk, she advocates for a stronger foundation of math and science education by describing her own path into the space program. There’s no better way to honor this distinguished woman’s memory than listening to her heartfelt dream that every student — not just future rocket scientists — learn to love math and science.


Higgs Boson Discovery? NOT. Yet….But your search is over.

CMS data showing mass range excluded and possible for the Higgs boson, December 2011
CMS data showing detail of lower mass range excluded and possible for the Higgs boson, December 2011

By Rich Wargo
UCSD-TV science producer

Here it is, the latest interpretation of the largest dataset from the CMS that was officially released this morning.

After weeks of leaks, rumors and speculation it has been officially announced that the Higgs boson has been further cornered into a very narrow sliver of mass around 125GeV by independent results from both the CMS and ATLAS detectors. This is consistent with the Standard Model and previous postulates made before the acquisition of humanity’s most powerful particle accelerator.

Is this the first evidence of the Higgs boson? It could well be, perhaps. But it is still not yet a discovery.


What do these mean?

What do they show?

And how did thousands of scientists get to this point in the search for the Higgs boson?

In this UCTV video exclusive,  UC San Diego Physics Professor Vivek Sharma, director of Higgs research for the CMS detector, explains the massive efforts to discover the Higgs Boson using the LHC at CERN.

Since the search began in March 2010, I have been fortunate (very fortunate) to be able to conduct an unprecedented series of exclusive interviews with Vivek Sharma; UC San Diego Professor of Physics and director of Higgs research for the CMS, or Compact Muon Solenoid detector.

He is also one of two people responsible for combining all results from both the CMS and ATLAS detectors – both involving teams of University of California physicists.

In excerpts from some of these interviews Professor Sharma, ok, Vivek, shares his insights from his unique perspective as one of the key figures at the very heart of this gargantuan effort. He provides a detailed, comprehensive but clear and accessible layman’s guide to how this massive team of researchers conducted the science and produced these results, what they look for, what they see, how they (may have) cornered the Higgs, and why they do what they do.

You will be able to understand what this shows, and why it is no longer evidence for the Higgs boson.

Golden channel ZZ event
Not the Higgs. Why?

And you will be able to understand why this could be evidence for the Higgs boson.

Evidence of the Higgs boson?

You will also understand what the seemingly all-too-complex “Brazilian Flag” (above, apologies to Brazil) states so eloquently about hundreds of trillions of proton-proton collision events, putting them all in terms of the chances that what we are seeing might finally be evidence of the “God Particle”.

But more importantly, you will get a sense of why Vivek, and collectively, we, sift through this chatter and noise to find the signal of the Higgs boson, a signal that speaks to something that has always been, and will always remain, at the core of each of us.


Reach for the Stars with Sally Ride

On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride rocketed into space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. As the first American woman to fly in space (and now a professor of physics at UC San Diego), Ms. Ride knows just how important a solid math and science education is in making dreams like hers a reality. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of 18 year-olds are showing up for college or career unprepared.

In this inspiring UC Berkeley talk, Professor Ride describes her own path into the space program and discusses the need to improve science and math education for all students — not just future rocket scientists.

In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1……..