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Space-station toilet tour, the Louvre’s particle accelerator and more


By Tushna Commissariat

I’m sure that many of us, while watching videos of astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS), floating around with their halo-like hair, have given much thought to how they shower, wash their hair, brush their teeth and, indeed, poop and pee! Well, you can stop stretching your imagination and take a look for yourself – we spotted this story on the Slate website, where you can see the latest videos from the European Space agency, where Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who is currently on the ISS, gives us a tour of both the toilet (above) and the “shower” area (below). She even demonstrates exactly how to wash your hair in space – it looks rather fuss-free if you ask me!

In other news, I was intrigued to find out that the historic Louvre Museum in Paris has, on site, its very own particle accelerator! Apparently, they have had it since 1988 and it has been used to study art and artefacts, test their authenticity and analyse their chemical composition. Dubbed the “Accélérateur Grand Louvre d’analyse élémentaire”, it lies 15 m below the ground and is the only accelerator in the world whose sole purpose is to study art. To find out more about this proton accelerator and what amazing ancient objects it has carefully studied, read this story on the Symmetry magazine website.

Although people often seem to have short memories, I am sure that most of you will recall the 2011–2012 Opera “faster-than-light”neutrino incident and its ultimate fall-out which included both the collaboration’s spokesperson Antonio Ereditato and its physics co-ordinator Dario Autiero resigning (more background reading here, here and here). In the most recent issue of Nautilus magazine, which is based on the simple but crucial theme of “errors”Ereditato talks to physicist and writer Ransom Stephens about the “impossible result” and how to deal with an incident of that type as a scientist. Read Stephen’s (rather long) feature and then have a listen to what Eraditato had to say to us about it all in a podcast we recorded with him in 2012. 

For a bit of weekend fun, take a look at this A to Z of general relativity that Perimeter Institute have put together, watch this cute animation from the Open University and the Royal Astronomical Society celebrating the International Year of Light; find out why chocolate sometimes takes on that unappetizing white crumb; book your Glastonbury tickets to meet Stephen Hawking and finally, play the amusingly titled video game Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark.

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One comment to Space-station toilet tour, the Louvre’s particle accelerator and more

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