No news on the particle. Sorry. I was referring to the cat. I spent all morning at the University of Pennsylvania Vet School, where poor Higgs was examined and X-rayed. He’s been unable to climb and has experienced some scary looking muscle spasms in his back. The veterinarians suspect a slipped disc, exacerbated by the steroids he takes for his allergies.
Higgs is in good hands at Penn, even though they don’t yet realize they’re working with a famous patient. I brought the laptop but was too nervous to blog from the waiting room.
So, in happier news, February looks like a great month for science lectures. As always seems to happen, the good ones pile up on the same day. Tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb 1) the Academy of Natural Sciences is hosting author Ross MacPhee, who will talk about his book on the race to the South Pole. It starts at 6:30 and it’s free. I have a particular interest in this because I got to go to the South Pole to write a freelance piece. That was back in the late 1990s, during the glory days of science writing when there was travel money and you could hang out with real people and nobody had to stop to "Tweet" anything.
Exactly one hundred years ago, two teams—one British, the other Norwegian—raced for the honor of being the first humans to stand at the South Pole. Roald Amundsen and his Norwegian team won; Robert Falcon Scott and his companions eventually reached the pole but died on their return to base. What motivated this race for glory on the last place on Earth? What was learned at such a cost? Ross D. E. MacPhee, author of Race to The End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole, presents the story of the conquest of the last great geographical prize on Earth and its modern relevance for science and discovery in Antarctica.