Peter Dizikes: Writings on Science and Society

Basic Theory of Matter Is Tried, Tested, and…
Scrutinizing the Standard Model of physics
By Peter Dizikes. The Boston Globe, May 28, 2007

For the young post doctoral physicist, it was a moment of high drama.

Jocelyn Monroe, just eight years out of college, stood in a lecture hall in MIT’s Building 35 before more than 50 people in her field. Those scientists, who had anticipated the results for a decade, were waiting to hear whether she and her colleagues had punched a hole in the basic theory of the universe’s ingredients.

If Monroe announced that the research team she’d worked on had confirmed the existence of a tiny piece of matter known as a sterile neutrino, scientists might be compelled to re-think the standard model of physics, a deeply logical arrangement of the 12 known sub atomic particles (including neutrinos) and the forces governing them. What had been clear and orderly about the universe could become more hazy and messy.

If no evidence for the sterile neutrino existed, however, scientists could continue their work without having to account for any strange, new paradigm-disturbing particle.

“Remember this moment,” MIT physicist Peter Fisher told Monroe, “because you may only have one chance in your career to tear down the standard model.”

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My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Slate, Salon, Technology Review, and numerous other publications. You can learn more about me here.


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The New York Times, June 29, 2008

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The Boston Globe, June 8, 2008

Joseph Needham's Grand Question
Seed, May/June 2008

Pure Science
The New York Times, April 13, 2008

Nature Nurtures Learning
The Boston Globe, December 31, 2007

Genes Open New Frontier in Privacy Debate
The Boston Globe, September 24, 2007

Cambridge Scientists Put on a Show
Nature Network Boston, May 1, 2007

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The Boston Globe, January 29, 2007

Genome Human
The New York Times, July 30, 2006

Galileo Groupies
Slate, February 3, 2006


Peter Dizikes: Writings on Science and Society


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Photo credit: Flickr user alb Marcos, via a Creative Commons license