Perspectives of particles

Scientists are tracking the movements of subatomic particles called muons to uncover the inner worlds of pyramids, volcanoes and more. Emily Conover reported in Muony Open Doors (SN: 23.04.22, p. 22).

Reader and longtime subscriber John Evald praised of Conover “Nice and detailed” reporting. “She warned us about concepts and investigations that are honestly new to me,” Ewald wrote. “She took us through these things at a pace that allowed me to get out [at the end] to say, “There is no such particle.” ”

Ewald I also appreciate that the editor ‘s note gave an inside look at how the idea for of Conover feature blossomed (CH: 23.04.22, p. 2). Editor Nancy Shut writes that physicists sometimes consider muons an inconvenience because they interfere with many experiments. But Conover noticed an exciting trend: scientists are rethinking annoying particles as useful detection tools. Shut up “Added information so I learned from her writing,” Ewald wrote.

Dynamic brain

A study linked COVID-19 to reduced gray matter in olfactory-related parts of the brain, but it is not yet clear whether the changes are harmful or permanent. Laura Sanders reported in “COVID-19 can change a person’s brain” (CH: 23.04.22, p. 8).

The news coverage of the study, with headlines about brain damage and shrinkage, has worried many in the public, Sanders reported. But the brain usually transforms throughout life – including adolescence and pregnancy – and these changes are not necessarily a cause for concern. Some readers were relieved to learn that the brain is not so static. “The fact that the brain is constantly changing its shape due to various stimuli makes me feel less worried about the changes in COVID,” the Facebook user Bel Vedere wrote. “It would certainly be interesting to see a long-term follow-up to these studies.”

The story also calmed the reader’s mind Lynn Mullins. After seeing alarming coverage of the survey results, “it is reassuring that the answers will not be available for some time”, Mullins wrote.

Online corner

As part of Scientific news“In honor of the centenary, we created a test to test our readers’ knowledge of 100 years of scientific history. The test, published on our website in late April, asked people to know when 15 titles were published in the last century.

An article included in the quiz “Earth is a kettle for soup” was published in (spoiler warning!) In 1932 and reported on the idea of ​​geologist Arthur Holmes on how continents can float on “boiling” rock (SN: 9/10/32, p. 162). At that time, the theory of plate tectonics did not yet exist. reader Martin Capain asked why the piece did not refer to the continental drift theory of meteorologist Alfred Wegener, which dates back to 1912.

This story, written by Frank Towne, “focuses mainly on the issue of heat loss on Earth – not on the idea of ​​continental drift,” says the special projects editor. Elizabeth Quill.

But Town I did omission in the mention of the theory: “This is the mountain folds thrown on the edge of the continents,” said Prof. Holmes; because he is one of those geologists who believes in the theory of displacement and migration of continents, mostly advocated by the great German scientist von Wegener.

Quill he does not claim to know what is going on in Town’s mind, “and his choice to reflect probably has a lot to do with what has caught the attention of scientists in his circle in this snapshot of time,” she said. “But the lack of emphasis on continental drift may have something to do with how controversial the idea was.” Looking back at the emergence of plate tectonics as a unifying theory, Carolyn Grammling reports that debates between “mobilists” who support continental drift and “fixists” who oppose it raged in the 1920s. In the following decades, many geologists turned their attention to other issues, until interest in the idea revived in the 1950s, when new data from the ocean floor emerged (SN: 16.01.21, p. 16).

Online readers scored an average of 7.8 out of 15 points in the title quiz. Do you think you will get more? Take the test yourself.

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