Tag Archives | Physics

God Particle Proves Elusive

CMS_41For those of you following the “God Particle” saga, the scientists at CERN disappointed us all at today’s much hyped news conference. Nick Collins reports for the Telegraph:

At a specially-arranged seminar at the Cern laboratory in Geneva, researchers presented clues in their data which suggest experts may have pinned down the “God particle” at last.

Scientists remained cautious about their findings and insisted they did not represent an official discovery, but admitted the results were “intriguing”.

The two teams searching for the Higgs boson at the LHC said they had found hints which point towards a Higgs boson with a mass between 124 and 126 gigaelectronvolts (GeV).

A mass of 125 GeV is equivalent to about 130 times the weight of a proton found in the nucleus of an atom.

The team working on the ATLAS detector said there was only a one per cent likelihood their results occurred by chance rather than reflecting a real effect, while the CMS team quoted a figure of about five per cent.

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A Glimpse Of The God Particle

A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson. (CERN)

A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson. (CERN)

As an update to this post, physicists the world over are all ashiver at the prospect of the elusive Higgs boson particle being announced tomorrow. Via ExtremeTech:

Tomorrow, at 9am EST, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland are expected to announce, with fairly strong certainty, that they have observed the Higgs boson “God” particle at a mass-energy of 125 GeV.

For just over a week, rumors have been rife that observations with 2.5 to 3.5 sigma certainty (96% to 99.9%) have been made. For it to be declared an actual discovery, however, a sigma level of five has to be recorded. A score on the higher end of the range, towards 3.5, would definitely have particle physicists, engineers, scientists, and philosophers jumping around excitedly, though. Perhaps more importantly, LHC has two detectors at the end of its 17-mile-long particle acceleration tunnel, and both have reportedly seen the Higgs boson: the CMS detector with sigma 2.5, and ATLAS with sigma 3.5.

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Has the “God Particle” (the Higgs Boson) Been Discovered?

HiggsDavide Castelvecchi reports in Scientific American:
Rumors are flying about a December 13 update on the search for the long-sought Higgs boson at Europe's Large Hadron Collider. The physics buzz reached a frenzy in the past few days over the announcement that the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva is planning to release what is widely expected to be tantalizing — although not conclusive — evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson, the elementary particle hypothesized to be the origin of the mass of all matter. Many physicists have already swung into action, swapping rumors about the contents of the announcement and proposing grand ideas about what those rumors would mean, if true. "It's impossible to be excited enough," says Gordon Kane, a theoretical physicist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
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Time Reversal: A Simple Particle Could Reveal New Physics

Time ReversalShelley Littin writes in Space Daily:
A simple atomic nucleus could reveal properties associated with the mysterious phenomenon known as time reversal and lead to an explanation for one of the greatest mysteries of physics: the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe. The physics world was rocked recently by the news that a class of subatomic particles known as neutrinos may have broken the speed of light. Adding to the rash of new ideas, University of Arizona theoretical physicist Bira van Kolck recently proposed that experiments with another small particle called a deuteron could lead to an explanation for one of the most daunting puzzles physicists face: the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe. A deuteron is a simple atomic nucleus, or the core of an atom. Its simplicity makes it one of the best objects for experiments in nuclear physics ...
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CERN’s Neutrinos Travel Faster Than Speed Of Light

EinsteinScientists making discoveries that defy the laws of physics seems to be something of a theme this month. Now the eggheads at CERN say they’ve observed subatomic particles moving faster than the speed of light, which might theoretically allow us to travel back in time. Eryn Brown and Amina Khan report for the LA Times:

Albert Einstein had the idea. A century of observations have backed it up. It’s one of the cornerstones of physics: Nothing travels faster than the speed of light.

But now a team of experimental physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, says that one exotic particle possibly can.

The scientists reached their conclusion after sending streams of tiny, subatomic particles called neutrinos hurtling from an accelerator at CERN outside Geneva to a detector at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, about 450 miles away.

The neutrinos seemed to get there too soon — 60 nanoseconds too soon, give or take — than they should if they’d been traveling at the speed of light.

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Antimagnets That Nullify Magnetic Fields

MagnetVia PES Wiki:

Researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have obtained a formula for building a ” Antimagnet.” that can nullify the magnetic field, a discovery that was published in the New Journal of Physics.

UAB researchers publish in New Journal of Physics a formula to create a device capable of blocking any type of magnetic field. The antimagnet will make it possible for people with pacemakers to undergo magnetic resonances and to control the magnetic fields of technological devices.

Researchers worked to obtain a formula which will cover three objectives. First, an object’s magnetic field will not penetrate the exterior once it is covered by the antimagnet. Second, everything cloaked by the antimagnet will be protected from external magnetic fields and the object inside will be undetectable. Third, all materials used to create the antimagnet must be available, i.e. the antimagnet must be manufactured with the use of existing technology.

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How The Universe (Something) Appeared From Nothing (Video)

Granted this video is a promo for the New Scientist's recent issue on "existence", it's pretty interesting, if you are OK with incomplete answers. (Figuring out how the universe got so large is still a serious head-scratcher.) My takeaway after watching this, is if "something" is not really that different from "nothing" (according to our human perception) then, well, there is still much to ponder ...
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‘Multiverse’ Theory Suggested By Microwave Background

Bubbles_3D“It would be a pretty amazing thing to show that we have actually made physical contact in another universe. It’s a long shot, but it would by very profound for physics” (Prof. Efstathiou). Via BBC:

The idea that other universes – as well as our own – lie within “bubbles” of space and time has received a boost.

Studies of the low-temperature glow left from the Big Bang suggest that several of these “bubble universes” may have left marks on our own.

This “multiverse” idea is popular in modern physics, but experimental tests have been hard to come by.

The preliminary work, to be published in Physical Review D, will be firmed up using data from the Planck telescope.

For now, the team has worked with seven years’ worth of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which measures in minute detail the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the faint glow left from our Universe’s formation.

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Time Travel Proved Impossible

timetravel2Major disappointment, from some jerk scientists who don’t seem to know when to keep their results to themselves. Via Discovery:

Hong Kong physicists say they have proved that a single photon obeys Einstein’s theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light — demonstrating that outside science fiction, time travel is impossible.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology research team led by Du Shengwang said they had proved that a single photon, or unit of light, “obeys the traffic law of the universe.”

The possibility of time travel was raised 10 years ago when scientists discovered superluminal — or faster-than-light — propagation of optical pulses in some specific medium, the team said. It was later found to be a visual effect, but researchers thought it might still be possible for a single photon to exceed light speed.

Du, however, believed Einstein was right and determined to end the debate by measuring the ultimate speed of a single photon, which had not been done before.

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