Archive for June 21, 2014

Knit your own Neutralino

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on June 21, 2014 by telescoper

I thought I’d give you a sneak preview of something soon to feature at the forthcoming Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. With input from particle physicists from the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex, the inestimable Dorothy Lamb has designed a “Knit your own Neutralino” pack, which contains a knitting pattern and embellishments (wool not included), that can be used to construct a plushie representing the lightest neutralino, χ01, a candidate for the dark matter that pervades the Universe.

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Here are some examples, as produced by Dorothy herself:

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Here are some more elaborate variations, representing (I think) different types of chargino.

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Whatever they are, they’re a lot of fun and in my opinion more than a little bit camp!

I think we should introduce knitting as part of the “transferable skills” element of our physics courses. If we did, Dorothy would definitely graduate with first class honours!

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Music for the Solstice

Posted in Music with tags , on June 21, 2014 by telescoper

Well, in case you didn’t realize, the summer solstice (when the Sun reaches its most northerly point in the sky) occurred at 11.51 BST today. I guess that means it’s all downhill from here. Anyway, this gives me some sort of excuse for me posting a piece of music I’ve loved ever since I was a young child for its energy and wit. It’s the Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was written by Felix Mendelssohn when he was just 17 years old, and even so it’s his Opus 21. This performance is by the Leipzig Genwandhausorchester conducted by Kurt Mazur. Enjoy!