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Monday, 20 June 2016

Introducing Alice

Hello all, I’m Alice and I’m the new SEPnet intern at Things We Don’t Know. I’ve just finished my third year studying physics at Royal Holloway, University of London, so I’ve just got my masters year left to go.

photograph of Alice Wayne

My interest in physics started in secondary school when I was taught about fundamental particles and forces. At that time, science had found neither the Higgs boson nor the Graviton, and I decided then that I would study physics and contribute toward the search. We’ve now found the Higgs boson, but as the Graviton still eludes us, I am writing my Research Review on the work that has been done so far at CERN to find it, or at least, to find where it isn’t.

TWDK interested me as it seemed to be the only place writing about concepts that we don’t understand, rather than those we do (or think we do). This position appealed to me as it means I can help rectify the public reaction to something being “not understood”. When the consensus of the scientific community is that a certain concept or phenomena is not understood, it is not the same as the scientific community denying its existence - at no point did scientists think that bees were unable to fly!

I don’t know if any of you have ever played the game “Why?”, but the rules are quite simple: you go about your daily life, and every time someone makes a statement, you ask “Why?” This keeps going until you have a satisfactory answer, or until your unfortunate opponent has to admit that they don’t know.

TWDK feels like the perfect compromise at the end of the game - we don’t know the answer, but here, explained as simply and fully as possible, is what we know so far, and why we don’t have a definitive answer. I have always enjoyed writing, as well as researching areas that I am not always familiar with, so I’m hoping to bring this enthusiasm to the articles and posts that I write for Things We Don’t Know.