How did life begin? The answer to this big question may lie in a 17-mile tunnel that spans the border of Switzerland and France, where a collaboration of scientists at CERN are building an experiment to understand how matter is put together. The Standard Model, informed by Einstein's theory of general relativity, describes how tiny particles like protons and electrons interact--you can think of it like the Lego blocks of the universe. But the theory failed to account for gravity. So inside this tunnel, called the Large Hadron Collider, researchers recreated the conditions at the birth of the universe, hurling particles together and recording their momentum and energy. This led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the so-called god particle, in 2012. The Higgs is the predicted but initially unproven particle that gives other particles their mass--without the Higgs Boson, mass fundamentally doesn't exist. Now, the Collider is receiving significant upgrades. The tunnel is so large, researchers ride bicycles to their destination during its construction. When it reopens, it will be experimenting on everything from antimatter to dark energy. Dark matter is believed to interact with regular matter only through gravity, and by creating mass, the Higgs Boson could be the key to understanding how. I had the mind-blowing opportunity to visit the tunnel last week at #WCSJ2019, where the most fun fact I learned was that the birth of the universe didn't have a smell. #sciencejournalism
Brain’s packed with new science ideas and body’s ready to cool off—that’s a wrap for a wonderful week in #Lausanne, many thanks to #wcsj2019.
Early on a South African morning, the kind where the sky was more big than blue and camelthorn trees loomed like giants, we set off with trucks and a helicopter to find and capture wild kudu. Thanks to @Scientific_American, I had the opportunity to shadow this rare multi-discplinary research that's trying to understand how climate models impact disease. (You can read more about the volatile dynamics between weather, land use, humans, and wildlife at link in bio.) Climate change is complicating and hastening how illnesses spread, with unforeseen and potentially dramatic consequences—making this kind of research more important than ever. A little late to posting this on social media, but many thanks to the Association of Healthcare Journalists Awards and the Bricker Award for Science Writing in Medicine for their recognition, and for helping spread the word. And a huge thanks to the EcoHealth Alliance team for allowing me to tag along on some hairy—literally—field work. (Sound on for the cutest lamb noises.) #climatechange #disease #science #reporting
Medical research is starting to acknowledge the social causes of disease. Since people of color often lack access to healthcare systems, a big part of this is leaving clinical settings—like bringing cancer screenings to barbershops. But an even bigger part is asking questions about how America’s disparities dictate who gets sick in the first place. More @pacificstand. Link in profile.
Don’t know unless you ask. #thereyouare
We're in a new abnormal, but the problems aren't going to impact everyone equally. Particulate matter, found in wildfire smoke, has no safe threshold. But the health impacts are cumulative, meaning you're more likely to get sick if you're already exposed to air pollution where you live or work. Effects include preterm births, dementia, heart disease, and early death. Tarik Benmarhnia, an environmental epidemiologist, puts it simply. “#Wildfire is going to exacerbate existing inequalities.” Link to more: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/d3bwe7/the-lingering-effects-of-wildfires-will-disproportionately-hurt-people-of-color?fbclid=IwAR1Z5S5L8DRuKdCEGFYzUFWssxxzDwkwLGe4F8AeVoMCUCDZtWuHTlNHyUU . #climatechange #onassignment @vice
“People were hopeful that the United States would have a heart and open the doors,” @maxwhocares writes. To better understand the people who are being politicized at the Mexican border, follow his coverage @gothamist.
Lijepa naša domovino, indeed. #TeamCroatia #still #worldcup2018 #velebitnationalpark
Mark Twain thought watermelon is what the angels eat. But this traditional 4th of July snack is also an #immigrant story: Watermelons were originally cultivated in Africa. Archaeologists have found seeds at a 5,000 year old settlement in Libya, and Egyptian paintings of the melon have been found on 4,000 year old tombs. While it was probably bitter back then—the sweetness was been bred—its usefulnesses as water storage made it popular. Hippocrates, once trade brought watermelons to Greece, used it as a cure for heatstroke. And its seeds likely arrived in the U.S. with slaves. As climate change brings record heat-levels, considering the ways we're all connected—and the universal importance of safe drinking water—seems pretty crucial to finding true #independence. #july4th #america #watermelon #independenceday
Somebody’s waiting for his blueberry pancakes. #cabinmorning #wisconsin #summer #whatthefluff