Particle physics

Physics Feature

A long way from everything: The search for a Grand Unified Theory

The recent confirmation of gravity waves observed by the LIGO project represents a huge breakthrough in physics, verifying Albert Einstein's predictions regarding the effect of mass on space and time and supporting his general theory of relativity published in 1916. But what of his other grand hypothesis? Einstein's unified field theory consumed the last 30 years of his life without resolution, but how much closer have we come to a theory that brings every known force in the universe together into a single, all-encompassing frame of reference? Read More


This is what it sounds like when protons collide

When you think about it, the particles being slammed into each other at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility in Switzerland are kind of like people in a mosh pit at a rock concert. But that's not the only thing the particle accelerator has in common with music. Apparently, if you take the data coming from one of the LHC's collision chambers and fool with it a bit, you can actually listen to music being made by protons colliding. That's exactly what a new project called the Quantizer has done – and you can listen in.Read More


Meson f0(1710) could be so-called “glueball” particle made purely of nuclear force

Terms to describe the strange world of quantum physics have come to be quite common in our lexicon. Who, for instance, hasn't at least heard of a quark, or a gluon or even Schrodinger's cat? Now there's a new name to remember: "Glueball." A long sought-after exotic particle, and recently claimed to have been detected by researchers at TU Wien, the glueball's strangest characteristic is that it is composed entirely of gluons. In other words, it is a particle created from pure force.Read More


Terahertz radiation to enable portable particle accelerators

Researchers at MIT in the US and DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) in Germany have developed a technology that could shrink particle accelerators by a factor of 100 or more. The basic building block of the accelerator uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves and is just 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long and 1 mm (0.04 in) thick, with this drastic size reduction potentially benefitting the fields of medicine, materials science and particle physics, among others.Read More


CERN develops miniature linear accelerator for medical use

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is where the miraculous meets the impractical. In addition to probing the secrets of the Universe at the subatomic level, it also has potential for a variety of medical applications. Unfortunately, with a circumference of 27 km (16.7 mi) the LHC is so unwieldy that it would be about as practical as using Big Ben for a wristwatch. In the hopes of creating something a bit more useful for the medical fraternity, CERN engineers have come up with a miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) that, at 2 m (6.5 ft) long, is small enough to be set up in hospitals for medical imaging and radiotherapy applications.Read More


Massless particle discovery could radically accelerate electronics

An exotic particle theorized more than 85 years ago has finally been discovered. Dubbed the "Weyl fermion", it is a strange but stable particle that has no mass, behaves as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, and is claimed to be able to create completely massless electrons. Scientists believe that this new particle may result in super-fast electronics and significant inroads into novel areas of quantum computing.Read More


Large Hadron Collider limbers up after two-year overhaul

Restarting the world's largest particle accelerator after a two-year overhaul isn't just a matter of throwing a switch and making sure the lights go on. It's an eight-week process of baby steps – one's that involve billions of electron volts. But the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) took a major step forward this week as the CERN team fired up two counter-rotating proton beams that were injected into the LHC using the Super Proton Synchrotron, then accelerated to an energy of 450 GeV each.Read More


Large Hadron Collider back on line

As the saying goes, you can't keep a good particle accelerator down. In Switzerland, CERN has announced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is back online after a major overhaul and refit. This power-up of the most powerful particle accelerator in the world marks the culmination of two years of work and months of testing, resulting in a significant boost in performance for the giant collider's "season 2." Read More


The lighter side of dark matter

In spite of substantial scientific investigation and convincing indirect evidence, dark matter still eludes direct detection and its existence essentially remains a tantalizing, but unproven, hypothesis. Notwithstanding this, nearly 85 percent of the predicted mass of the universe remains unaccounted for, and dark matter theory is still the prime contender to explain where it may be. Researchers at the University of Southampton have theorized the existence of a new "lighter" dark matter particle in an effort to help unravel the mystery.Read More


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