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Particle physics

— Science

Quantum black hole study opens bridge to another universe

By - October 6, 2013 5 Pictures
Physicists have long thought that the singularities associated with gravity (like the inside of a black hole) should vanish in a quantum theory of gravity. It now appears that this may indeed be the case. Researchers in Uruguay and Louisiana have just published a description of a quantum black hole using loop quantum gravity in which the predictions of physics-ending singularities vanish, and are replaced by bridges to another universe. Read More
— Science

Revamped Fermilab neutrino beam offers hope for new physics

By - September 14, 2013 8 Pictures
Particle physicists have been eagerly awaiting the first trials of the new Main Injector neutrino beam at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the US. This new facility is the result of reconfiguration of the Fermilab particle accelerators in the wake of the shutdown of the Tevatron in 2011. The new beam source is now online, and is well on route to becoming the world's most intense focused neutrino source. Read More
— Science Feature

Dark matter, WIMPS, and NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer data

Recently the media has been saturated with overly-hyped reports that NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) may have detected dark matter. These claims may have some justification if the word "may" is shouted, but they rest on a number of really major assumptions and guesses, some of which are on weak and shifting soil. So just what was seen in the experiment, and what are the possible explanations? Read More
— Science

Japan frontrunner to get International Linear Collider

By - December 24, 2012 7 Pictures
According to Nature, Japan is the frontrunner for the planned International Linear Collider (ILC), for which Europe and the United States are also in the running to host. Scientists and engineers are already examining potential sites in the island nation for the US$7 to $8 billion machine, which is intended to complement the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The head of the global design effort for the ILC, physicist Barry Barish, presented finalized blueprints at a ceremony in Tokyo earlier this month. Read More
— Science

There's CO2 in them thar hills (…the cosmic rays told me)

By - November 22, 2012 1 Picture
An international research team has been given the novel task of developing a practical means of monitoring underground stores of CO2 using none other than cosmic rays. The research hinges on the detection of the muons that occur as cosmic rays interact with the Earth's atmosphere, but which can penetrate several kilometers beneath the Earth's surface. It's thought that the approach could save significant amounts of money compared to alternative techniques. Read More
— Science

Who ordered that? An unexpected new particle shakes the Standard Model

By - September 19, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Research Watch Feature

Is it or isn't it? The Higgs boson story

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
— Science

New boson discovered, probably Higgs

By - July 4, 2012 1 Picture
Numbers are yet to be crunched and the data analysis goes on, but one thing appears to be certain: scientists at CERN have discovered a new boson, and it's probably the Higgs particle, the missing particle of the Standard Model which is thought to lend all matter its mass. Both the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN observe a new particle with mass between 125 and 126 GeV, comfortably within the band of possible Higgs masses previously identified. Read More
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