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Posts tagged "particle physics"
thenewenlightenmentage:

Diamond: Britain’s answer to the Large Hadron Collider
At the Diamond particle accelerator in Oxfordshire, experiments using beams of light 10,000 times brighter than the sun have implications for the fight against cancer, improved air safety and energy efficiency.
The darling of particle physics might be the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern, but as a practical tool it’s no match for the UK’s Diamond Light Source. Located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory campus at Harwell in Oxfordshire, Diamond is an alchemist’s dream, a place where beams of light 10,000 times brighter than the sun are deployed to probe the nature of everyday things.
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thenewenlightenmentage:

Diamond: Britain’s answer to the Large Hadron Collider

At the Diamond particle accelerator in Oxfordshire, experiments using beams of light 10,000 times brighter than the sun have implications for the fight against cancer, improved air safety and energy efficiency.

The darling of particle physics might be the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern, but as a practical tool it’s no match for the UK’s Diamond Light Source. Located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory campus at Harwell in Oxfordshire, Diamond is an alchemist’s dream, a place where beams of light 10,000 times brighter than the sun are deployed to probe the nature of everyday things.

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scienceyoucanlove:

How do bubble chambers detect particles?

A bubble chamber often contains liquid hydrogen. Charged particles entering the chamber would interact with the electrons transferring some of their energy via the Coulomb force. This initiated boiling and thus led to bubbles being formed. The electrons of the hydrogen atoms thus acted as the detectors within the chamber. Only charged particles cause tracks in bubble chambers, as neutral particles will not interact via the Coulomb force.

However, we do not just want to see a beam of particles passing through a chamber. We want to see what happens when nuclear particles interact with each other. The beams of particles interact with the protons of the liquid hydrogen in the bubble chamber and so the bubble chamber contains both the detector particles and the target particles.

How are the particles moving?

The beams of particles are parallel to begin with. Some may then undergo collisions and the path will change. So you need to look for beams that do not go directly from one side of the picture to another.

What charge is the original beam?

If we are not told what the original beam is we may sometimes be able to tell what its charge is from just looking at the picture.

A visible beam has to be made up of charged particles. These will be bent within a magnetic field and so the direction of curvature will tell you the charge of the particle. Often a beam will collide with an electron, knocking it on with more energy than usual. This then leaves a track of its own within the detector that is quite distinctive.

There are often a few examples of this appearing on a picture and this shows the way that the negative charges are bent in the magnetic field. You can then compare this with the direction of curvature of the particle beam to determine the charge of those particles. Using Fleming’s left hand rule you can also deduce the direction of the magnetic field in or out of the picture.

Knowing the direction of the magnetic field you can then find the charges of all particles.

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christinetheastrophysicist:

Physicists plan to build a bigger LHC

When Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) started up in 2008, particle physicists would not have dreamt of asking for something bigger until they got their US$5-billion machine to work. But with the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, the LHC has fulfilled its original promise — and physicists are beginning to get excited about designing a machine that might one day succeed it: the Very Large Hadron Collider (VLHC).

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(via kenobi-wan-obi)

Exotic particles called neutrinos have been caught in the act of shape-shifting, switching from one flavor to another, in a discovery that could help solve the mystery of antimatter.

Neutrinos come in three flavors — electron, muon and tau — and have been known to change, or oscillate, between certain flavors. Now, for the first time, scientists can definitively say they’ve discovered muon neutrinos changing into electron neutrinos.

The discovery was made at the T2K neutrino experiment in Japan, where scientists sent a beam of muon neutrinos from the J-PARC laboratory in Tokai Village on the eastern coast of Japan, streaming 183 miles (295 km) away to the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector in the mountains of Japan’s northwest.

The researchers detected an average of 22.5 electron neutrinos in the beam that reached the Super-Kamiokande detector, suggesting a certain portion of the the muon neutrinos had oscillated into electron neutrinos; if no oscillation had occurred, the researchers should have detected just 6.4 electron neutrinos.

Strange Particles Shape-Shift From One Flavor to Another

Physicists Find Way to Measure Earth’s Rarest Element

A fundamental property of the rarest element on Earth, astatine, has been discovered for the first time, scientists say.
Astatine occurs naturally; however, scientists estimate much less than an ounce in total exists worldwide. For a long time, the characteristics of this elusive element were a mystery, but physicists at the CERN physics laboratory in Switzerland have now measured its ionization potential — the amount of energy needed to remove one electron from an atom of astatine, turning it into an ion or a charged particle.
The measurement fills in a missing piece of the periodic table of elements, because astatine was the last naturally occurring element for which this property was unknown. Astatine, which has 85 protons and 85 electrons per atom, is radioactive, and half of its most stable version decays in just 8.1 hours, a time called half-life. In 1953, Isaac Asimov estimated the worldwide total of astatine in nature was 0.002 ounces (0.07 grams).

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Physicists Find Way to Measure Earth’s Rarest Element

A fundamental property of the rarest element on Earth, astatine, has been discovered for the first time, scientists say.

Astatine occurs naturally; however, scientists estimate much less than an ounce in total exists worldwide. For a long time, the characteristics of this elusive element were a mystery, but physicists at the CERN physics laboratory in Switzerland have now measured its ionization potential — the amount of energy needed to remove one electron from an atom of astatine, turning it into an ion or a charged particle.

The measurement fills in a missing piece of the periodic table of elements, because astatine was the last naturally occurring element for which this property was unknown. Astatine, which has 85 protons and 85 electrons per atom, is radioactive, and half of its most stable version decays in just 8.1 hours, a time called half-life. In 1953, Isaac Asimov estimated the worldwide total of astatine in nature was 0.002 ounces (0.07 grams).

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Detectors zero in on Earth’s heat: Geoneutrinos paint picture of deep-mantle processes.

A window on the deep Earth opened unexpectedly in 2011, when Japan’s nuclear reactors were shut down after the Fukushima disaster. Before the closure, an underground particle detector called KamLAND based in Kamioka, Japan, was monitoring a torrent of neutrinos streaming from dozens of nearby nuclear reactors, seeking clues to the nature of these hard-to-catch subatomic particles. After those plants fell silent, KamLAND scientists could see more clearly a signal that had largely been obscured: a faint trickle of neutrinos produced inside the planet.

Neutrinos are generated in stars, reactors, and deep in Earth’s crust and mantle by the radio­active decay of elements such as uranium and thorium. KamLAND reported the first tentative detections of these ‘geoneutrinos’ in 2005 (ref.1). But last month at a conference in Takayama, Japan, KamLAND scientists reported seeing them in meaningful quantities — as did a team at the Borexino neutrino detector at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory near L’Aquila, Italy.

These detections are not just curiosities. Geoneutrinos offer the only way to measure one of Earth’s internal heat sources. The total heat flow, measured with sensors in deep mines and amounting to 47 terawatts (TW) of power, drives everything from plate tectonics to Earth’s magnetic field. Some of it comes from the decay of radioactive elements, the rest is primordial heat left over from when Earth was formed by the violent collision of planetary building blocks.

But no one knows the proportions. Geologists assume that Earth contains the same amount of radioactive elements as certain primitive meteorites, but they aren’t sure. “We’re after trying to understand how Earth was built,” says William McDonough, a geologist at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Ultimately, geoneutrino researchers would like multiple detectors spaced around Earth, so that they could perform a sort of tomography on the mantle. That could help scientists to discern between models that favour the uranium and thorium being spread throughout the mantle, versus those in which the elements are concentrated near the core–mantle boundary. Such a difference could help to determine where and how long heat will continue to flow to drive geological processes such as plate tectonics — and how long it will take Earth to cool.

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In an unprecedented gesture in the history of particle physics, Sergio Bertolucci, Director of Research, announced this morning that CERN is going to do something unusual: give away fundamental particles.

“Given the interest manifested over the past years by the general public for the Higgs boson search, we felt that we had to give some back as a token of appreciation”, said Dr Bertolucci. “As CERN, we have always believed in sharing the results of our research, and the time has come to make that tangible. This is our way of saying thanks for the incredible level of enthusiasm that has greeted this discovery”. The new particle’s discovery was announced at a special seminar on 4 July last year.

Both the ATLAS and CMS experiments have generously accepted to donate some of their precious Higgs bosons. Particles such as Higgs bosons are created from the energy released in proton-proton collisions in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). However, Higgs bosons are extremely rare, being created only once out of one million million such collisions.

“We hope the lucky few who will receive a Higgs boson will cherish them as much as we do”, said Dr Bertolucci.

Each boson will come with a complete set of instructions on how to properly care for it. To enter this lottery, please send an e-mail to Higgs.lottery@cern.ch. A Higgs boson will be sent to the ten lucky winners chosen randomly from all requests received within 24 hours of publishing this post.

cristinterrill:

Physicists at an underground laboratory have caught an ultra-rare particle in the act of reappearing.

For only the third time, scientists have detected elementary particles called neutrinos in the act of changing from one type, called muon, to another, called tau, on the several-hundred-mile trip between two laboratories.

(continued at Tau Neutrino, Ultra-Rare Particle, Observed For Third Time In CERN Experiment)

understandingtheuniverse:

The standard model describes all of the known particles of matter and how they are affected by 3 particular forces (I will explain these 3 forces later). To start, I’m going to assume that I have to explain everything from scratch so sorry if you already know some of this. Almost everything we see around us consists of matter, and specifically atoms. Atoms are made up of 3 particles: electrons, protons and neutrons. Now, as you may know, electrons are attracted to the protons in the nucleus of the atom. They attract each other because they are of opposite charge. There is a name for the force of attraction between oppositely charged particles; it is called the electromagnetic force. This is one of the three forces that I mentioned above. The nucleus of the atom is not just comprised of protons though. In most atoms, neutrons are also present in the nucleus. The neutron, as the name might suggest, has no charge i.e. it is neutral. This means that it is not affected by the electromagnetic force. However there is a force at play that keeps the nucleus of the atom together (remember the protons and the neutrons make up the nucleus). This force is called the strong nuclear force. So we know that the strong nuclear force is what keeps protons and neutrons together, but does it do anything else? In fact, it does.

First I’m going to write down the definition of an elementary particle:

An elementary particle is a particle that is not known to have any substructure.

Basically this means that we cannot break elementary particles down any further than they already are i.e. they are indivisible.  Atoms were once thought to be indivisible but we now know that we can divide them into protons, electrons and neutrons. Similarly, we have found that protons and neutrons can be broken down into simpler, smaller particles. This means that protons and neutrons are not elementary particles. These particles are known as quarks. Now, back to the strong nuclear force: As I said, the strong nuclear also has another job. That job is to hold quarks together within protons and neutrons.

I have yet to talk about the third force involved in the standard model. It is called the weak nuclear force. It is fairly obvious from the name that it is weaker than the strong nuclear force and that it is also involved in the goings-on of the nucleus of the atom. The weak nuclear force is what makes radioactive decay possible. Radioactive decay involves the emission of alpha, beta or gamma radiation from the nucleus (read a post about those here). It also enables the fusion of hydrogen nuclei (essentially just a proton and a neutron) to form helium nuclei during a process called nuclear fusion.

That really is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the standard model. Therefore I want to say a few more things about it. The standard model consists of 12 particles of matter. The names of these particles are the : Up quark (see above for mention of quarks), Down quark, strange quark, charm quark, top quark, bottom quark, electron, electron neutrino, tau, tau neutrino, muon, muon neutrino.

This all seems rather confusing and I won’t go in to a description of each. Essentially, all of the particles mentioned above are elementary particles. That is why the proton and neutron are not mentioned. In fact a proton consists of 2 up quarks and 1 down quark. Also, a neutron consists of 1 up quark and 2 down quarks. You might be wondering what the difference between all the different kinds of quarks are. The main differences between them are their charge and their mass. Here is a table of properties of the different types of quarks if you are interested: x

Now I won’t bother going into explanations of the other particles but I will mention that for each force mentioned above (weak nuclear, strong nuclear and electromagnetic), there is a force associated with it. Particles that ‘carry’ the weak nuclear force are called W and Z bosons. They ‘carry’ the force because they allow the force to interact between two particles that are not in direct contact. The particles move from one to the other, allowing the force to act between them. The particles that carry the strong force are called gluons and the particles that carry the electromagnetic force are called photons. Also, there is the (in)famous Higgs boson that gives all other elementary particles mass.

This depicts all of the particles that I have mentioned and it is a summary of the whole standard model: 

image

abluegirl:

Particle physics comes alive on a tablet
The physicist and best-selling author Frank Close has joined forces with Michael Marten – founder of the Science Photo Library (SPL) – and CERN Courier editor Christine Sutton to create a new app about particle physics. Called The Particles, the app is billed as an introduction to the Standard Model and is aimed at a wide audience that includes professional physicists, students and even amateur enthusiasts. The app organizes particles by type, presenting them as slices in an interactive pie chart. Click on a particle type – say leptons – and you get a list of leptons. Click again on the tau particle and a description of the particle and how and when it was discovered appears. A concise description of the particle’s properties such as spin, mass, etc, is also available behind a data tab. The app is illustrated using pictures from the SPL and Michael Marten has done a great job of selecting appropriate images. The sections on many particles are illustrated using actual data such as bubble chamber images or collision reconstructions. Rather than being just eye candy, these data are often accompanied by comprehensive captions describing exactly what is being detected and how. Not surprisingly, the app has a section devoted to the Higgs boson, which SPL says will be updated as new information arrives from the Large Hadron Collider. The Higgs section includes an animation of a collision event at the ATLAS detector as well as information on the most important decay channels of the Higgs particle. Beyond particles, the app also has brief biographies of important particle physicists as well as information about colliders and experiments. The trio take a somewhat personal approach to the biographies – correcting what they perceive as injustices. In the entry for Satyendra Bose, the app points out that although the Indian physicist didn’t win a Nobel prize for his pioneering work on Bose–Einstein statistics, several prizes have been since been awarded to others working in that field. Any complaints? An Android version would be great for my phone. The app is available for the Apple iPad, Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface.
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abluegirl:

Particle physics comes alive on a tablet

The physicist and best-selling author Frank Close has joined forces with Michael Marten – founder of the Science Photo Library (SPL) – and CERN Courier editor Christine Sutton to create a new app about particle physics. Called The Particles, the app is billed as an introduction to the Standard Model and is aimed at a wide audience that includes professional physicists, students and even amateur enthusiasts.

The app organizes particles by type, presenting them as slices in an interactive pie chart. Click on a particle type – say leptons – and you get a list of leptons. Click again on the tau particle and a description of the particle and how and when it was discovered appears. A concise description of the particle’s properties such as spin, mass, etc, is also available behind a data tab.

The app is illustrated using pictures from the SPL and Michael Marten has done a great job of selecting appropriate images. The sections on many particles are illustrated using actual data such as bubble chamber images or collision reconstructions. Rather than being just eye candy, these data are often accompanied by comprehensive captions describing exactly what is being detected and how.

Not surprisingly, the app has a section devoted to the Higgs boson, which SPL says will be updated as new information arrives from the Large Hadron Collider. The Higgs section includes an animation of a collision event at the ATLAS detector as well as information on the most important decay channels of the Higgs particle.

Beyond particles, the app also has brief biographies of important particle physicists as well as information about colliders and experiments. The trio take a somewhat personal approach to the biographies – correcting what they perceive as injustices. In the entry for Satyendra Bose, the app points out that although the Indian physicist didn’t win a Nobel prize for his pioneering work on Bose–Einstein statistics, several prizes have been since been awarded to others working in that field.

Any complaints? An Android version would be great for my phone. The app is available for the Apple iPad, Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface.

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cozydark:

Why is the Universe Dominated by Matter, Not Anti-Matter? |

A collaboration with major participation by physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has made a precise measurement of elusive, nearly massless particles, and obtained a crucial hint as to why the universe is dominated by matter, not by its close relative, anti-matter.

The particles, called anti-neutrinos, were detected at the underground Daya Bay experiment, located near a nuclear reactor in China, 55 kilometers north of Hong Kong. For the measurement of anti-neutrinos it made in 2012, the Daya Bay collaboration has been named runner-up for breakthrough of the year from Science magazine.

Anti-particles are almost identical twins of sub-atomic particles (electrons, protons and neutrons) that make up our world. When an electron encounters an anti-electron, for example, both are annihilated in a burst of energy. Failure to see these bursts in the universe tells physicists that anti-matter is vanishingly rare, and that matter rules the roost in today’s universe.

“At the beginning of time, in the Big Bang, a soup of particles and anti-particles was created, but somehow an imbalance came about,” says Karsten Heeger, a professor of physics at UW-Madison. “All the studies that have been done have not found enough difference between particles and anti-particles to explain the dominance of matter over anti-matter.”

But the neutrino, an extremely abundant but almost massless particle, may have the right properties, and may even be its own anti-particle, Heeger says. “And that’s why physicists have put their last hope on the neutrino to explain the absence of anti-matter in the universe.”

Heeger and his group at UW-Madison have been responsible for much of the design and development of the anti-neutrino detectors at Daya Bay. Jeff Cherwinka, from the university’s Physical Sciences Laboratory in Stoughton, Wis. is chief engineer of the experiment and has overseen much of the detector assembly and installation. The construction of the experiment was completed this fall and data-taking started in October using the full set of anti-neutrino detectors. continue reading

sagansense:

Supercharging the search for secrets of the universe

image 1: The Large Hadron Collider at CERN faces a two-year shutdown so engineers can ramp up its maximum energy.
image 2: Proton-proton collisions during the search for the Higgs boson. Photo: AFP
image 3: A collision event between two lead ions in the Large Hadron Collider as observed by the ALICE detector. Photo: Supplied
image 4: A simulated black hole created by the Large Hadron Collider. Photo: Supplied

When it comes to shutting down the most powerful atom smasher ever built, it’s not simply a question of pressing the off switch.

In the French-Swiss countryside on the far side of Geneva, staff at the Cern particle physics laboratory are taking steps to wind down the Large Hadron Collider. After the latest run of experiments ends next month, the huge superconducting magnets that line the LHC’s 27km-long tunnel must be warmed up, slowly and gently, from -271 Celsius to room temperature. Only then can engineers descend into the tunnel to begin their work.

The machine that last year helped scientists snare the elusive Higgs boson - or a convincing subatomic impostor - faces a two-year shutdown while engineers perform repairs that are needed for the collider to ramp up to its maximum energy in 2015 and beyond. The work will beef up electrical connections in the machine that were identified as weak spots after an incident four years ago that knocked the collider out for more than a year.

The accident happened days after the LHC was first switched on in September 2008, when a short circuit blew a hole in the machine and sprayed six tonnes of helium into the tunnel that houses the collider. Soot was scattered over 700 metres. Since then, the machine has been forced to run at near half its design energy to avoid another disaster.

The particle accelerator, which reveals new physics at work by crashing together the innards of atoms at close to the speed of light, fills a circular, subterranean tunnel a staggering eight kilometres in diameter. Physicists will not sit around idle while the collider is down. There is far more to know about the new Higgs-like particle, and clues to its identity are probably hidden in the piles of raw data the scientists have already gathered, but have had too little time to analyse.

But the LHC was always more than a Higgs hunting machine. There are other mysteries of the universe that it may shed light on. What is the dark matter that clumps invisibly around galaxies? Why are we made of matter, and not antimatter? And why is gravity such a weak force in nature? “We’re only a tiny way into the LHC programme,” says Pippa Wells, a physicist who works on the LHC’s 7000-tonne Atlas detector. “There’s a long way to go yet.”

The hunt for the Higgs boson, which helps explain the masses of other particles, dominated the publicity around the LHC for the simple reason that it was almost certainly there to be found. The lab fast-tracked the search for the particle, but cannot say for sure whether it has found it, or some more exotic entity.

“The headline discovery was just the start,” says Wells. “We need to make more precise measurements, to refine the particle’s mass and understand better how it is produced, and the ways it decays into other particles.” Scientists at Cern expect to have a more complete identikit of the new particle by March, when repair work on the LHC begins in earnest.

By its very nature, dark matter will be tough to find, even when the LHC switches back on at higher energy. The label “dark” refers to the fact that the substance neither emits nor reflects light. The only way dark matter has revealed itself so far is through the pull it exerts on galaxies.

Studies of spinning galaxies show they rotate with such speed that they would tear themselves apart were there not some invisible form of matter holding them together through gravity. There is so much dark matter, it outweighs by five times the normal matter in the observable universe.

The search for dark matter on Earth has failed to reveal what it is made of, but the LHC may be able to make the substance. If the particles that constitute it are light enough, they could be thrown out from the collisions inside the LHC. While they would zip through the collider’s detectors unseen, they would carry energy and momentum with them. Scientists could then infer their creation by totting up the energy and momentum of all the particles produced in a collision, and looking for signs of the missing energy and momentum.

One theory, called supersymmetry, proposes that the universe is made from twice as many varieties of particles as we now understand. The lightest of these particles is a candidate for dark matter.

Wells says that ramping up the energy of the LHC should improve scientists’ chances of creating dark matter: “That would be a huge improvement on where we are today. We would go from knowing what 4 per cent of the universe is, to around 25 per cent.”

Teasing out the constituents of dark matter would be a major prize for particle physicists, and of huge practical value for astronomers and cosmologists who study galaxies.

“Although the big PR focus has been on the Higgs, in fact looking for new particles to provide clues to the big open questions is the main reason for having the LHC,” says Gerry Gilmore, professor of experimental philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

“Reality on the large scale is dark matter, with visible matter just froth on the substance. So we focus huge efforts on trying to find out if dark matter is a set of many elementary particles, and hope that some of those particles’ properties will also help to explain some other big questions. So far, astronomy has provided all the information on dark matter, and many of us are working hard to deduce more of its properties. Finding something at the LHC would be wonderful in helping us in understanding that. Of course one needs both the LHC and astronomy. The LHC may find the ingredients nature uses, but astronomy delivers the recipe nature made reality from.”

Another big mystery the Large Hadron Collider may help crack is why we are made of matter instead of antimatter. The big bang should have flung equal amounts of matter and antimatter into the early universe, but today almost all we see is made of matter. What happened at the dawn of time to give matter the upper hand?

The question is central to the work of scientists on the LHCb detector. Collisions inside LHCb produce vast numbers of particles called beauty quarks, and their antimatter counterparts, both of which were common in the aftermath of the big bang. Through studying their behaviour, scientists hope to understand why nature seems to prefer matter over antimatter.

Turning up the energy of the LHC may just give scientists an answer to the question of why gravity is so weak. The force that keeps our feet on the ground may not seem puny, but it certainly is. With just a little effort, we can jump in the air, and so overcome the gravitational pull of the whole six thousand billion billon tonnes of the planet. The other forces of nature are far stronger.

One explanation for gravity’s weakness is that we experience only a fraction of the force, with the rest acting through microscopic, curled up extra dimensions of space. “The gravitational field we see is only the bit in our three dimensions, but actually there are lots of gravitational fields in the fourth dimension, the fifth dimension, and however many more you fancy,” says Andy Parker, professor of high energy physics at Cambridge University. “It’s an elegant idea. The only price you have to pay is that you have to invent these extra dimensions to explain where the gravity has gone.”

The rules of quantum mechanics say that particles behave like waves, and as the LHC ramps up to higher energies the wavelengths of the particles it collides become ever shorter. When the wavelengths of the particles are small enough to match the size of the extra dimensions, they would suddenly feel gravity much more strongly.

“What you’d expect is that as you reach the right energy, you suddenly see inside the extra dimensions, and gravity becomes big and strong instead of feeble and weak,” says Parker. The sudden extra pull of gravity would cause particles to scatter far more inside the machine, giving scientists a clear signal that extra dimensions were real.

Extra dimensions may separate us from realms of space we are completely oblivious to. “There could be a whole universe full of galaxies and stars and civilisations and newspapers that we didn’t know about,” says Parker. “That would be a big deal.”

Atom Smasher Creates New Kind of Matter

Collisions between particles inside the Large Hadron Collider atom smasher have created what looks like a new form of matter.

Image: A proton collides with a lead nucleus, sending a shower of particles through the CMS detector. Credit: CERN

The new kind of matter is called color-glass condensate, and is a liquidlike wave of gluons, which are elementary particles related to the strong force that sticks quarks together inside protons and neutrons (hence they are like “glue”).

Scientists didn’t expect this kind of matter wouldresult from the typeof particle collisions going on at the Large Hadron Collider at the time. However, it may explain some odd behavior seen inside the machine, which is a giant loop where particles race around underneath Switzerland and France.

When scientists sped up protons (one of the building blocks of atoms) and lead ions (lead atoms, which contain 82 protons each, stripped of their electrons), and crashed them into each other, the resulting explosions liquefied those particles and gave rise to new particles in their wake. Most of these new particles, as expected, fly off in all directions at close to the speed of light.

But recently scientists noticed that some pairs of particles were flying off from the collision point in correlated directions.

"Somehow they fly at the same direction even though it’s not clear how they can communicate their direction with one another. That has surprised many people, including us," MIT physicistGunther Roland, whose group led the analysis of the collision data along with Wei Liof Rice University, said in a statement.

Continue..

discoverynews:

Higgs Boson Likely a ‘Boring’ Boson: “The thing with physicists is that they love discovering something unexpected, strange or exotic. This mindset is what makes physics, and indeed all science disciplines, awesome. But in light of the grand announcement of the probable discovery of the elusive Higgs boson in July, it looks like the particle that was discovered is likely a “standard” Higgs boson. As in, it’s a little bit boring.


OK, it’s not really boring. The Higgs boson could never be boring. Just a little, um, antisocial? Find out more.

Will the Real Higgs Please Stand Up? (Infographic)

Physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland have observed evidence of a new subatomic particle. Further research will try to determine if it is the elusive Higgs boson, thought to be responsible for giving matter its property of mass.

In the Standard Model of physics, matter is made up of small particles called fermions (including quarks and leptons). Forces such as electromagnetism are carried by bosons.

Physicists use electromagnetic fields to whip beams of protons around and around, accelerating them to nearly the speed of light. This gives the protons enormous kinetic energy. Finally the beams are allowed to intersect, and where protons collide, their energy is released. New particles – some of them very short-lived – are formed from this energy.

As Albert Einstein discovered, mass can be defined as a quantity of energy. Subatomic particle masses are given as amounts of electron volts (the energy of a single electron accelerated by a potential difference of one volt). The newly discovered particle - possibly the Higgs boson – is found to have a mass of about 125 billion electron volts. Other particles, such as photons, have no mass at all.

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