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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Physicist Brian Greene Explains New Planets, Higgs Particle

This illustration shows artist's renderings of planets Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f compared with Venus and the Earth. Scientists have found the two Earth-sized planets orbiting a distant star, an encouraging sign for prospects of finding life elsewhere. (AP/Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Astronomers say they’ve found two more earth-sized planets orbiting a distant star. Planet hunters say this is a step toward finding a planet in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone,” a spot neither too cold, nor too hot, which can support water, and possibly life.

“I think it’s tremendously exciting,” physicist Brian Greene told Here & Now’s Robin Young.  “We’ve asked for ages, since we could even think, whether or not we we’re the only life in the universe. And the first step towards really being able to answer that is to try to find other planets that might support life, or at least life as we understand it,” he said.

On earth, meanwhile, physicists have been crashing particles against each other in the Hadron Collider underneath Geneva. They say they may have evidence for the existence of the Higgs particle, the last remaining piece of evidence needed to prove the standard theory of how particle physics works.

Guest:

  • Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and author of, “The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.”

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