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Posts Tagged "particle physics"

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Particle Physics Informs the Ultimate Questions

Editor’s Note: Author and Fermilab Senior Scientist Don Lincoln is set to teach “Mysteries of the Universe” from October 13 – 24 for Scientific American’s Professional Learning Program. We recently talked with Dr. Lincoln about why he became a physicist and his motivations to share what he discovers. When I was a young boy, I [...]

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Expeditions

Neutrinos on Ice: How to Keep Cool in Thin Air

ob_tube

Editor’s Note: Welcome to ANITA, the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna! From October to December, Katie Mulrey is traveling with the ANITA collaboration to Antarctica to build and launch ANITA III, a scientific balloon that uses the entire continent of Antarctica for neutrino and cosmic ray detection. This is the fourth installment in a series, “Neutrinos on Ice,” documenting that effort. [...]

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Expeditions

Neutrinos on Ice: How to Build a Balloon

The first stage of ANITA construction. (Photo Credit: Christian Miki)

Editor’s Note: Welcome to ANITA, the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna! From October to December, Katie Mulrey is traveling with the ANITA collaboration to Antarctica to build and launch ANITA III, a scientific balloon that uses the entire continent of Antarctica for neutrino and cosmic ray detection. This is the third installment in a series, “Neutrinos on Ice,” documenting that effort. [...]

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Expeditions

Neutrinos On Ice: The Journey South

View of Antarctica from the C-17 airplane. (Credit: Katie Mulrey)

Editor’s Note: Welcome to ANITA, the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna! From October to December, Katie Mulrey is traveling with the ANITA collaboration to Antarctica to build and launch ANITA III, a scientific balloon that uses the entire continent of Antarctica for neutrino and cosmic ray detection. This is the second installment in a series, “Neutrinos on Ice,” documenting that [...]

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Expeditions

Neutrinos on Ice: Detection Balloon Heads to Antarctica

An artist's depiction of a cosmic ray air shower. Credit: Simon Swordy (U. Chicago), NASA.

Editor’s Note: Welcome to ANITA, the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna! From October to December, Katie Mulrey is traveling with the ANITA collaboration to Antarctica to build and launch ANITA III, a scientific balloon that uses the entire continent of Antarctica for neutrino and cosmic ray detection. This is the second installment in a series, “Neutrinos on Ice,” documenting that [...]

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Guest Blog

U.S. Particle Physics Program Aims for the Future

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Main Ring and Main Injector as seen from the air. (Credit: Reidar Hahn/Fermilab)

In the last few years, stories have abounded in the press of the successes of the Large Hadron Collider, most notably the discovery of the Higgs boson. This has led some to speculate that European research is ascendant while U.S. research is falling behind. While there is no argument that U.S. particle physics budgets have [...]

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Observations

Scientists Find First Neutrinos from Distant Space [Video]

IceCube

The world has heard the first faint whispers of the most powerful cataclysms in the universe. Scientists working on the IceCube experiment in Antarctica report that they have found 28 neutrinos that must have come to earth from explosions in the distant universe—the first time scientists have found neutrinos coming from outside our own solar [...]

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Observations

5 Unanswered Questions That Will Keep Physicists Awake at Night

Orion Nebula photo

Physics is all about probing the most fundamental mysteries in nature, so it’s no surprise that physicists have some very basic questions about the universe on their minds. Recently, Symmetry Magazine (published by two U.S.-government funded physics labs) asked a group of particle physicists to name the open questions in physics they most want answers [...]

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Observations

The Fingerprints the Higgs Leaves Behind

The Higgs at Last

Tomorrow, the Nobel prize in physics will most likely be awarded to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert. Along with other researchers, the two physicists are credited with the 1964 introduction of the then-theoretical Higgs field—a fluid that permeates every corner of the universe and gives each particle a distinct mass. The physical manifestation of this [...]

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Observations

Particles and the People Who Love Them: Documentary Shows Human Side of Large Hadron Collider

Particle Fever poster

Full disclosure: I cried at a movie about particle physics. And I wasn’t alone. As the film showed footage of the July 4, 2012 announcement of the Higgs boson discovery, I noticed the woman next to me wiping her eyes just as I was doing the same. I was at a screening of the new [...]

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Observations

Move Over, Space Shuttle: There’s a New Science Giant Cruising the U.S. This Summer

Muon g-2 storage ring

When NASA flew the shuttle prototype Enterprise through New York City last year, all we had to do was look out our windows at Scientific American one morning to watch it cruise past. Countless Americans got a look at one of the decommissioned shuttles as NASA paraded them around the country en route to their [...]

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Observations

It’s Official: We’ve Found the Higgs Boson–but Which One?

Potential Higgs to photon decay event as seen by the CMS experiment at the LHC

When last we checked in on the hunt for the Higgs, physicists weren’t yet ready to call the deal done. They were only willing to say that they had discovered a new particle—some sort of boson—and that this new boson was “Higgs-like.” Their reticence hinged on the measurement of the new particle’s spin, a fundamental [...]

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Observations

Have Scientists Found 2 Different Higgs Bosons?

Higgs boson

A month ago scientists at the Large Hadron Collider released the latest Higgs boson results. And although the data held few obvious surprises, most intriguing were the results that scientists didn’t share. The original Higgs data from back in July had shown that the Higgs seemed to be decaying into two photons more often than [...]

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Observations

Relative Masses of 7-Billion-Year-Old Protons and Electrons Confirmed to Match Those of Today’s Particles

100-m dish of Effelsberg radio telescope

The mass of the proton in relation to its much lighter counterpart, the electron, is known to great precision: the proton has 1836.152672 times the mass of the electron. But has it always been so? Quite possibly, according to new research which taps the cosmos as a vast fundamental-physics laboratory. A study of a distant [...]

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Observations

Why Do Physicists Care So Much about Finding the Higgs Boson?

higgs boson event display

If you’ve read anything about the Higgs boson, you probably know that this particle is special because it can explain how fundamental particles acquire mass. Specifically, evidence of the boson is evidence that an omnipresent Higgs field exists—one that slows particles down and makes them heavy. But there’s a misconception that sometimes creeps into this [...]

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Observations

New Higgs Results Bring Relief—and Disappointment

Potential Higgs to photon decay event as seen by the CMS experiment at the LHC

This past July, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider announced that they had discovered a new particle that looked much like the long-sought-after Higgs boson. In fact, the Higgs-like particle they found was nearly perfect—based on the available data, it looked almost exactly like what the Standard Model of Particle Physics predicts the Higgs to [...]

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Symbiartic

Physics Hasn’t Looked This Hot Since The Big Bang

13-032FEATURE

The ATLAS detector at CERN is overwhelming to mere mortals like myself. It’s one of four detectors along the Large Hadron Collider designed to detect the most fundamental particles in our universe. It sits in a cave 92 meters below ground, is over 45 meters long and weighs a mere 7000 metric tons (that’s equivalent [...]

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Talking back

Higgsteria: We Didn’t Need No U.S. Supercollider

“Europe Overtakes U.S. in Physics Pursuing God Particle,” the headline blared. The Bloomberg News story declared that the home of Galileo and Newton has recaptured the lead in physics with its pursuit of the Higgs boson, a place in the scientific firmament that was once indisputably owned by the birthplace of Benjamin Franklin. The story [...]

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