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Tag archives: particle physics

The race to find the electric dipole moment

The University of Montreal actually has an ivory tower!

Congress HQ: the University of Montreal actually has an ivory tower!

By Hamish Johnston at the 2013 CAP Congress in Montreal

Yesterday I had lunch with Jeff Martin of the University of Winnipeg, who is a member of an international team that aims to measure the electric dipole moment (EDM) of the neutron at TRIUMF in Vancouver.

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BBC radio celebrates 101 years of cosmic rays

By Hamish Johnston

AMS is a modern version of Hess's balloon experiment. (Courtesy: NASA)

AMS is a modern version version of Hess’s balloon experiments. (Courtesy: NASA)

The BBC’s Melvyn Bragg has lots to talk about. Over the past few months he has chatted about the Icelandic sagas, water, Gnosticism, and much more on his Radio 4 programme In Our Time. So he can be forgiven for missing a centenary and celebrating cosmic rays 101 years after they were discovered by the Austrian physicist Victor Hess.

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Cash sought to finish Salam film

By Matin Durrani

I have always felt a bit uncomfortable about the “heroic” view of science – the idea that the most significant progress depends on the work of individual geniuses. Unfortunately, this is the way in which many people view scientific history, with the contributions of lesser mortals dismissed and swept aside.

However, it is fair to say that some physicists do stand head and shoulders above all others – none more so than Abdus Salam, who was (and still is) Pakistan’s only Nobel prize-winner.

Now two Pakistani film producers, Omar Vandal and Zakir Thaver, are creating a feature-length documentary about Salam’s scientific contributions – but they need your help to finish the job.

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What’s new with the ILC?

By Tushna Commissariat

Are you suffering from particle-collider withdrawal symptoms now that the LHC has begun its long shutdown? If so, you will be pleased to learn that you can focus your attention elsewhere.

The International Linear Collider Collaboration has posted an updated version of its 2013 Technical Design Report on the arXiv preprint server. It’s a short and sweet overview of the collider’s design, including “detailed descriptions of the accelerator baseline design for a 500 GeV e+e llinear collider, the R&D program that has demonstrated its feasibility, the physics goals and expected sensitivities, and the description of the ILD and SiD detectors and their capabilities”.

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What do you most hope the LHC will discover after it is switched back on in 2015?

By James Dacey

Photo of CMS detector

Admiring the insides of the CMS detector at CERN.

My colleague, Hamish Johnston, has just returned from a trip to CERN, where he was granted access to the insides of the Large Hadron Colider (LHC), which is currently being upgraded. He has shared some great photos from his trip on the Physics World Facebook page, including some snaps of the interior of the detector experiments.

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First light at the NOvA neutrino detector

Burst of particles created when a muon interacts with the NOvA Far Detector. (Courtesy: NOvA collaboration)

Burst of particles created when a muon interacts with the NOvA Far Detector. (Courtesy: NOvA collaboration)

By Hamish Johnston

Deep in the North Woods in Minnesota the snow is starting to melt, and the giant NOvA Far Detector is coming to life. Designed to register the arrival of neutrinos that will be created 810 km away at Fermilab near Chicago, the detector has recorded its first 3D images. These are not of neutrinos, but of the trajectories of fast-moving particles that are created in a process that begins with a cosmic ray colliding with Earth’s atmosphere.

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Particle physics comes alive on a tablet

Home page of The Particles app. (Courtesy: Science Photo Library)

Home page of The Particles app. (Courtesy: Science Photo Library)

By Hamish Johnston

The physicist and best-selling author Frank Close has joined forces with Michael Marten – founder of the Science Photo Library (SPL) – and CERN Courier editor Christine Sutton to create a new app about particle physics. Called The Particles, the app is billed as an introduction to the Standard Model and is aimed at a wide audience that includes professional physicists, students and even amateur enthusiasts.

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Don Glaser: 1926–2013

Don Glaser

Don Glaser giving a talk at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2010.
(Courtesy: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

By Michael Banks

The US physicist Don Glaser has died at the age of 86. Glaser was instrumental in inventing the bubble chamber – a vessel filled with a superheated transparent liquid such as liquid hydrogen that can be used to detect electrically charged particles moving through it. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for this work in 1960, aged just 34.

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What exactly will be upgraded at the LHC?

Lots of work to be done on the LHC (Courtesy: CERN)

Lots of work to be done on the LHC (Courtesy: CERN)

By Hamish Johnston

It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride for physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. When the collider was first switched on in 2008 it suffered a major explosion when a superconducting connector failed – and was shut down for over a year for repairs. Then in 2010 the LHC began taking data and the excitement about the imminent discovery of the Higgs boson grew and grew – and then on 4 July last year, CERN physicists announced the discovery of a Higgs-like particle.

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Hunting the Higgs

By Michael Banks in Boston

“It looks like a Standard Model Higgs,” remarks Christopher Hill from Ohio State University. “Everything we have measured has strengthened that position.”

Last year, researchers working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN reported they had found a Higgs-like particle with an energy of around 126 GeV.

Yet while the Higgs looks like that predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics, further measurements were needed before researchers could be sure.

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