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Particle physics


— Medical

CERN develops miniature linear accelerator for medical use

By - July 29, 2015

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.

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— Science

Massless particle discovery could radically accelerate electronics

By - July 20, 2015 3 Pictures
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
— Science

Large Hadron Collider limbers up after two-year overhaul

By - May 5, 2015 9 Pictures

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.

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Large Hadron Collider back on line

By - April 6, 2015 2 Pictures
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
— Science

The lighter side of dark matter

By - February 1, 2015
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
— Science

Dark matter "particles" could have the mass of a dwarf planet

By - November 5, 2014 2 Pictures
Scientists have struggled for decades to identify the constituent particles of dark matter, but they’ve had little to show for all their efforts. A new study at Case Western Reserve University is now advancing the radical new hypothesis that dark matter may in fact be made not of exotic subatomic particles, but rather of macroscopic objects which would mass anywhere from a tennis ball to a dwarf planet, be as dense as a neutron star, and still be adequately described by the Standard Model of particle physics. Read More
— Science

App turns a smartphone into a pocket-sized cosmic ray detector

By - October 6, 2014 3 Pictures
There are all sorts of apps available for smartphones to show atmospheric phenomena like wind speed, temperature, and rainfall along with other observations for tides and phases of the moon. But how about something really cool like an app for measuring the amount of interstellar cosmic radiation hitting the earth? A professor of physics from the University of Wisconsin thought that would be cool as well, and created an app to turn your smartphone into a cosmic ray detector that works in a similar way to those instruments found in high-tech observatories and mega-expensive laboratories. Read More
— Science

Prime candidate crossed off list in search for dark matter particle

By - May 14, 2014
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Dresden, Germany have analyzed data from the HADES particle detector and concluded that the so-called "dark photons" are not the constituents of dark matter. Dark photons, or U bosons, are hypothetical particles that had thus far been the main candidate for that role, and this new result could make the search for the dark matter particle even more challenging than before. Read More
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