Thought for the month

“You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young." "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen.” From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Author (1952-2001)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Absolute spheroids (almost)

A group from the Centre for Cold Matter at Imperial College have made the most accurate measurement yet of the shape of the electron.The group studied the motion of electrons inside Ytterbium Fluoride and from this work, which spanned more than a decade, they conclude that the electron differs from being perfectly round by less than 0.000000000000000000000000001 cm. As they helpfully point out, this means that if the electron was magnified to the size of the solar system, it would still appear spherical to within the width of a human hair. The Editor is intrigued by Imperial's recent press statement that said the researchers are now planning to measure the electron's shape even more closely.

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