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Archive for May, 2009

The Niagara Falls

Now, in an inspiring HDTV film, we probe the secrets of Niagara Falls. From helicopter and speedboat, at high-tech labs and at rope’s end, we join earth scientists as they struggle to piece together the epic life story of North America’s most celebrated natural wonder. We experience the Falls that daredevils and stunters could never tame — the Niagara that is a vertical battleground between water and rock.

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(Video hosted on Youtube.)
The Niagara Falls.

ost think of it as a vision eternal, but in fact, Niagara’s life has been a geological blink of the eye. Only a hundred and twenty five centuries ago it was unleashed, born of the last glacial surge that swept the continent. Since then, it has traveled more than seven miles upriver, cutting the Earth’s crust like a knife. Its relentless procession has granted scientists a breathtaking window into the past. Soon enough, they’ve discovered, the Falls and its raging rapids will see to their own destruction. But not without leaving their lasting impression on the world, and on Niagara’s admirers.

The Niagara Falls are voluminous waterfalls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The falls are 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles (120 km) south-southeast of Toronto, Ontario, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. Niagara Falls is composed of two major sections separated by Goat Island: Horseshoe Falls, the majority of which lies on the Canadian side of the border, and American Falls on the American side. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the main falls by Luna Island. Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age), and water from the newly-formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than six million cubic feet (168,000 m³) of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost 4 million cubic feet (110,000 m³) on average. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America. The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 1800s.

The view of the Falls is best from the Canadian side. You can reach the this side of the Falls from Buffalo by crossing the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie and then driving north for 20 minutes. Another popular entry point is from Niagara Fall NY, which has crossing the Rainbow Bridge. This leads right into the heart of town. There is scenic drive and a recreational trail which stretches for 56 km (35 miles) from Fort Erie, past the Falls and to Fort George, which is just outside Niagara-on-the-Lake. The route features parkland and historic sites. Niagara Falls is a 90-minute drive from Toronto. Using this route you’ll pass through the Niagara region, which is known for having more than 60 wineries. Many are open to the public for tours and tastings, and some feature restaurants.

Large Hadron Collider – Brian Cox

“Rock star physicist” Brian Cox talks about his work on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Discussing the biggest of big science in an engaging, accessible way, Cox brings us along on a tour of the massive complex and describes his part in it — and the vital role it’s going to play in understanding our universe.

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(Video hosted on Youtube.)
Large Hadron Collider – Brian Cox

hysicist Brian Cox has two jobs: working with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and explaining big science to the general public. He’s a professor at the University of Manchester. Based at the University of Manchester, Brian Cox works at CERN in Geneva on the ATLAS experiment, studying the forward proton detectors for the Large Hadron Collider there. He’s a professor at the University of Manchester, working in the High Energy Physics group, and is a research fellow of the Royal Society.

He’s also become a vital voice in the UK media for explaining physics to the public. With his rockstar hair and accessible charm, he’s the go-to physicist for explaining heady concepts on British TV and radio. (If you’re in the UK, watch him on The Big Bang Machine.) He was the science advisor for the 2007 film Sunshine. He answers science questions every Friday on BBC6 radio’s Breakfast Show. “If people don’t have an understanding of what science is and what scientists do, then they can tend to think that global warming, for example, is just a matter of opinion.”

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons’ – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, but what’s for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator, as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe. For decades, the Standard Model of particle physics has served physicists well as a means of understanding the fundamental laws of Nature, but it does not tell the whole story. Only experimental data using the higher energies reached by the LHC can push knowledge forward, challenging those who seek confirmation of established knowledge, and those who dare to dream beyond the paradigm.

In gedachten

In gedachten zijn wij bij Gerrit. Moge alles goed komen…..

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Video hoosted on Youtube.com

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