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Elementary particles

High-energy particle collision similar to those which may be giving us a glimpse of a new ...

In the mid-1930s, physicists thought they knew all the subatomic particles of nature - the proton, neutron, and electron of the atom. However, in 1936 the muon was discovered - a new particle having such surprising properties that Nobel laureate I.I. Rabi quipped "Who ordered that?" when informed of the discovery. Evidence that a new light boson may exist has recently been published. If the discovery is confirmed, such a boson is not part of the Standard Model of Particle Physics - potentially leading to another "Who ordered that?" moment for physicists.  Read More

A recent study of gamma-ray bursts (that originate from the collapse of a massive star) fi...

A recent study of gamma-ray bursts by Professor Robert Nemiroff and his colleagues at Michigan Technological University provides the first strong evidence concerning the small-scale smoothness of spacetime. Oddly, this examination of the very small is accomplished by measuring a handful of gamma-rays after they traveled over ten billion light years.  Read More

Artist's impression of a proton-proton collision producing a pair of gamma rays (yellow) i...

The recent discovery at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) of a massive particle "consistent with" the predicted properties of the Higgs boson hit the news with the force of a hurricane. But the phrase "consistent with" suggests that the CERN observation may also be "consistent with" other types of particle. Is it or isn't it? We're going to attempt to clarify the situation for you.  Read More

Will antimatter fuel the interstellar spacecraft of the future? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Antimatter propulsion is the Holy Grail of spaceflight. When matter and antimatter react, the energy produced is several billion times larger than the thermomechanical energy resulting from burning a kilogram of a hydrocarbon fuel. Now a high school student has developed a new magnetic exhaust nozzle that would double the velocity of an antimatter-powered rocket.  Read More

Majorana fermions might be the sole component of the dark matter in our Universe (Photo:

Physicists at the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, have achieved a milestone that might soon revolutionize the world of quantum computing, quantum physics, and perhaps shed new light on the mystery of the dark matter in our universe. Experimenting with nanoelectronics, a group led by Prof. Leo Kouwenhoven has succeeded in detecting the elusive Majorana fermion in the laboratory, without the need for a particle accelerator.  Read More

CERN's new exhibition, the 'Universe of Particles' will introduce the intriguing world of ...

Do you know your quarks from your leptons? Need to brush up on wave-particle duality? CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has announced that it will open a permanent “Universe of Particles” exhibition on the ground floor of its incredible conference center - the Globe of Science and Innovation. The exhibition is designed to provide visitors with a fascinating insight into the world of particles and will feature a display on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest accelerator – or as CERN describes it, “one of the most sophisticated scientific tools ever built to explore new territories of knowledge.”  Read More

Swedish researchers develop digital color x-rays

May 23, 2007 The advantages of color x-rays may not be immediately obvious but the developments in this field led by researchers at Mid Sweden University promise some exciting new possibilities for medical diagnoses much smaller x-rays doses for patients, much higher resolution and the ability to detect tumors at a much earlier stage. Digital color x-rays are based on the same advanced technology that is used when nuclear physicists look for new elementary particles. The greatest scientific challenge in constructing a color x-ray camera is to be able to shrink the large-scale detection equipment used by nuclear physicists to the microscopic format. The readout electronics for each pixel in the camera’s picture sensor must be squeezed into an area of 55 x 55 µm, and what’s more be x-ray safe.  Read More

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