Physics

The CMS Collaboration at the LHC collider has recently measured a non-negligible rate for the fraction of Higgs boson decays into muon-tau pairs, as I reported in this article last summer. The observation is not statistically significant enough to cause an earthquake in the world of high-energy physics, and sceptics like myself just raised a gram of eyebrows at the announcement - oh yeah, just another 2-sigma effect. However, the matter becomes more interesting if there is a theoretical model which allows for the observed effect, AND if the model is not entirely crazy.

There is no more important universal problem in the Standard Model of elementary particles than the problem of mass and mixing flavor hierarchies.

The mainstream theoretical approach for treating it is to probe different group-symmetry flavor models. For decades, this math approach has not led to established flavor theory.

Is seems reasonable at this time to view flavor concept as related to new physics fundamental paradigm that should be firstly approached by simple means of semi-empirical phenomenology as exampled by physics history of e.g. quantum mechanics (Plank, Einstein, De-Broglie, Rutherford, Bohr, ...).

Neutrinos almost never interact, 10,000,000,000,000 neutrinos pass through your hand every second but fewer than one actually makes contact with any of the atoms inside us. 

When neutrinos do interact with another particle, it happens at very close distances and involves a high-momentum transfer.  Mostly. Physicists have found evidence that these tiny particles might be involved in a weird reaction, even for neutrinos. A paper in Physical Review Letters shows that neutrinos sometimes can also interact with a nucleus but leave it basically untouched - inflicting no more than a "glancing blow" - resulting in a particle being created out of a vacuum.


Apologizing for the silence of last week, due not so much to Christmas holidays but to my working around the clock to write a grant proposal, I wish to show you today a graph which describes very well the complexities of modern day frontier theoretical calculations. That graph is the collection of some of the Feynman diagrams that have to be calculated in order to evaluate a property of the electron called its "anomalous magnetic moment".


Frozen cold but not the way beyond absolute zero. Flickr/kriimurohelisedsilmad , CC BY-NC-SA

By Tapio Simula, Monash University


Let's take a look back through the past 12 months of quantum physics research. sharyn morrow/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

By Felix Pollock and Kavan Modi of Monash University.

The past year has provided some of the most interesting developments in quantum mechanics to date. The field is more than 100 years old and has been tested to unimaginable precision, yet some of its most striking statements are still being debated.

The advent of open access (OA) publishing has lead to a proliferation of journals which offer a peer reviewed publication venue for a nominal charge.  Some of these journals are associated with scholarly associations.  Such as Physical Review X.  Others are not, such as a journal I published in called the International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics (SCRIP) or the journals published by Elsevier, and other such companies. 
Science is what scientist do. And the scientific method is the method scientists follow. A tautology you say? Not according to George Ellis and Joe Silk. In an opinion paper in Nature under the title 'Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics' Ellis and Silk argue that string theorists and cosmologists contributing to inflationary cosmology are rapidly turning physics into "a no-man's-land between mathematics, physics and philosophy that does not truly meet the requirements of any". The two authors play the 'testability card' and claim the high ground of scientific integrity, thereby dismissing a vast body of contemporary science as unscientific.

If you think of quantum physics in terms of information about a system, it is a lot less complicated, according to a new paper. In that context, features of the quantum world previously considered distinct  -  wave-particle duality and the quantum uncertainty principle - are different manifestations of the same thing.