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Everyday science

Wrestling over the best subatomic particle, hitchhiker’s guide to Stephen Hawking, where are the women Brian?

09 Mar 2018 Hamish Johnston


Physicists are usually a staid bunch, but not so in this video from the US’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory — in which some of the lab’s leading scientists fight their corner for their favourite subatomic particle. After watching the video, you can take part in the “Subatomic Smackdown” by casting your ballot for either the photon, electron, neutron or proton. You have until 30 March to make your vote count.

Yesterday, BBC Radio 4 broadcasted the first episode of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Hexagonal Phase, which it describes as the “sixth series of the cult science fiction comedy, based on Eoin Colfer‘s book And Another Thing… with additional unpublished material by Douglas Adams”. As well as having a subtitle that should make condensed-matter physicists laugh out loud, none other than Stephen Hawking plays The Guide Mark II in the radio drama. You can listen to a clip of Hawking’s performance or enjoy episode one (of six) in its entirety.

Finally, yesterday was International Women’s Day so you might have thought that celebrity physicist Brian Cox would have mentioned a few female scientists in his article in The Guardian today about science tourism. But incredibly, no women are mentioned. To add insult to injury, Cox is pictured in front of a radio telescope – and Jocelyn Bell Burnell used a radio telescope (ok, a different one) to observe the first pulsar.

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