Scientists in the US LHC Accelerator Research Program have successfully tested superconducting magnets needed to increase LHC collisions tenfold.
In the past four years, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have accomplished unprecedented feats of physics, all with their particle accelerator working at half its design capacity.
The future is looking even brighter, literally. (more…)
Lunchtime prose, to file under musings.
A group of five sparrows are chirruping insistently as I scrape the last of the rice from my Tupperware in the early afternoon sunshine. They hop en masse from the ground up to a low-hanging tree branch, twittering and fussing. I can’t tell if they are playing or fighting, but it’s loud.
One of them has a crust in its beak, and he flies up to the next highest branch, his feathery posse in hot pursuit, their soft brown bodies bunch frantically together. (more…)
I’m in the midst of writing a piece for Symmetry Magazine where I explain what a force carrying particle is in 60 seconds. This may sound simple, but when I started asking the detailed questions, I found myself in the middle of Quantum Field Theory, which is a scary but fascinating place to be.
This was a version I wrote (with help from rock star physicist Sean Carroll) that is probably a little too complicated for the general public, but I’d like to post it here because it introduces the mind bending concept of field vibrations and digs a little deeper than the published piece. Stay posted for the “official” version on Symmetry Magazine next week. (more…)
As promised, here’s my newest Symmetry article on the origin and science of penguin diagrams. And, in an unexpected turn of events, Symmetry took the joke, too!
Two physicists walk into a bar and start playing a game of darts. One turns to the other and says, “Let’s make a bet. If you lose this game, you have to use the word ‘penguin’ in your next paper.”
This may sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but it is actually the reason that, in 1977, a certain type of drawing in particle physics became known as the “penguin diagram.”
Theorists and physicists from the LHCb experiment at CERN told the tale last week at a Google+ Hangout. CERN theorist John Ellis (pictured above) was the scientist who took the penguin bet. He did not play his best game of darts that day.
Read this in full: The march of the penguin diagrams
So we all know what Penguin Diagrams are, right?
What are they teaching kids in school these days.
Well, if you must know, Penguin Diagrams are these diagrams that….err….well you’re just going to have to wait for my next article which is completely devoted to Penguin Diagrams — what they are, the crazy phenomenon they describe and how they got that funny name. The piece should be out in the next week, unless my editor hates it, in which case I’ll just put it here for all of my readers. (hah)
But I’m posting a little early because today John Ellis told me a joke.
On June 1, 1983, physicists at CERN’s proton–antiproton collider called a press conference and made a long-awaited announcement: They had directly observed the Z boson.
The discovery was greeted with both jubilation and sighs of relief as it confirmed the electroweak theory, a cornerstone of the Standard Model of particle physics upon which physicists had been relying for some time.
Just a few months previous, CERN researchers had announced the discovery of the W boson. Together, these two bosons carry the weak force, which is responsible for the radioactive decay of particles.
Read the full story here: http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/may-2013/three-decades-of-the-z
The CERN website ran a version of this article here: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/updates/2013/05/thirty-years-z-boson
Art and science are both professions that move humanity forward, says the artist, Xavier Cortada from Florida International University of Architecture. In collaboration with CMS physicist Pete Markowitz, Cortada dreamed up a series of banners, which artistically interpret a different combination of particles into which theorists predicted the Higgs boson would decay—two photons, two Z bosons, two W bosons, two bottom quarks and two tau leptons.
Today they hang from the ceiling at Point 5, home of the CMS detector at CERN.
Read the full article and check out high resolution photos of the banners here: http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/may-2013/a-banner-day-at-the-lhc