HHMI Workshop 2012

Thinking Big and Small

Whitman College


In this workshop we'll think really big and really small---from the nature of the universe as a whole to the biggest machine built by humans in order to detect the very smallest stuff in existence.

Below I've provided links to several excellent resources on the grab bag of topics we'll explore within cosmology and particle physics.

The Size of the Universe (and our place within it)

  • Video commissioned by the American Museusm of Natural History that zooms out from Earth's surface to the furthest reaches of the universe that scientists have been able to map thus far.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History site associated with their Evolving Universe exhibit.
  • A virtual tour of the universe with several activities (left-hand sides of pages) that could be adapted for the classroom, developed by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Expansion of the Universe

  • Cosmology tutorial written by folks who work on the WMAP experiment, one of the most important cosmology experiments of the last few decades.
  • TED talk by Nobel Prize winner George Smoot on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)---the very uniform bath of radiation left over from the Big Bang---and the evolution of the universe.
  • Fun "one minute" video on the observed accelerating expansion of the Universe.

Black Holes

Large Hadron Collider

  • Take a "tour" of the Standard Model of particle physics, particle accelerators and detectors, and/or the motivation for the LHC at The Particle Adventure.
  • Explore the CERN LHC public webpage as well as the webpages of the largest two discovery experiments at the LHC, ATLAS and CMS.
  • Though it's slightly dated, I think the brochure found here (beware: it takes a while to download) gives a fairly complete overview of the LHC.