# How does an eraser work?

### What happens when you write?

Although we call the black stuff in pencils “lead,” it’s not the real metal known as lead. It’s actually a mineral called “graphite,” which is made up of carbon. When you write with a pencil, graphite particles from the pencil rub off and stick to the fibers of the paper you’re writing on.

### What do erasers do?

When you rub an eraser across a pencil mark, the abrasives in the eraser gently scratch the surface fibers of the paper to loosen the graphite particles. The softeners in the eraser help to prevent the paper from tearing. The sticky rubber in the eraser grabs and holds on to the graphite particles.

### The physics

Erasers work because of friction.

As the abrasives in your eraser are rubbed against paper, friction produces heat, which helps the rubber become sticky enough to hold onto the graphite particles. As the rubber grabs the graphite particles, small pieces of combined rubber and graphite get left behind. That’s the “stuff” you brush off of your paper when you’re finished erasing.

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# Questions and Answers: The Higgs Boson

As I told you shortly before, we’ll be answering all questions we receive from you guys on the site here, so everybody can benefit; again, if you have any scientific questions, to throw them our way and we’ll get them as soon as possible

### Question: What the heck is a Higgs Boson, and why should we care?

This one’s tricky. First of all, we don’t know if the Higgs boson is real; if it were real, it would be an elementary particle, meaning that it has no other substructure – it isn’t built of anything else, it is one of the building blocks of the Universe.

We don’t know a lot of things about the Universe we live in, but we’re trying to figure them out. That’s why physicists postulated the Standard Model: a theory concerning electromagnetic, weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which, if proven true, would solve a lot of questions about regarding the particle world. So far, the Higgs boson is the only particle predicted in the Standard Model which hasn’t been found yet, so confirming or disproving its existence would be very important for our understanding of particles; it would be a huge step forward in the world of physics, and although there are no practical direct benefits, in the long run, we will greatly benefit from this discovery.