One of the funniest misnomers in particle physics is the naming of coupling strength parameters of the fundamental interactions as "constants".
We speak of a fine structure constant (alpha) to address one of the most important parameters of electromagnetism; and we call "strong coupling constant" the coupling strength parameter alpha_s of QCD. But these are not constants at all! In fact, they are parameters that show a quite distinct dependence on the energy of subatomic processes.
I remember a funny shirt I once saw at a physics conference - it gave 10 tips on what to do when "everything else fails". Here is the list:
10. Subtract Infinity
9. Add heavy fermions
8. Set all fermion masses to zero
7. Invent another symmetry
6. Throw it on the lattice
5. Blame it on the Planck scale
4. Recall the success of the SM
3. Invoke the Anthropic Principle
2. Wave hands a lot, speak with a strong accent
1. Manipulate the data
Yesterday I worked from scratch at a problem which certainly others have already solved in the past. I have mixed feelings with such situations: on one side I hate to reinvent the wheel, especially if there is an easy way to access a good solution; on the other I love to invent new ones...
Anyway this time I have decided I will ask you for some help, as collectively we may have a better idea of the optimal solution to the specific problem I am trying to address. But before I explain the problem, let me give you some background on the general context.
Searches for new physics at the LHC
In metals like copper and aluminium, conduction electrons move around freely, in the same way as particles in a gas or a liquid.
But when impurities are introduced into the metal's crystal lattice, electrons cluster together in a uniform pattern around the point of interference, resembling the ripples that occur when a stone is thrown into a pool of water. Scientists have now discovered how to strengthen these Friedel oscillations and focus them, almost like using a lens, in different directions.
They've discovered (Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6558) that at a range of 50 nanometers, these "giant anisotropic charge density oscillations" are many times greater than normal.
A week ago I offered readers of this blog to review a paper I had just written, as its publication process did not include any form of screening (as opposed to what is customary for articles in particle physics, which receive multiple review stages). That's not the first time for me: in the past I did the same with other articles, and usually I received good feedback. So I knew this could work.
I have been given the privilege of publishing during the Beta test period in the Open Access journal The Winnower
for no cost but my time and care. I was also given assistance by the International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics
to publish my work on massive star formation there. A work unrelated to the first two, on the LCDM model is in press at ScienceOpen Research
. All of these are Open Access Journals. Two have open peer review and all have post publication commenting.
Bringing the concept of peer review to another dimension, I am offering you to read a review article I just wrote. You are invited to contribute to its review by suggesting improvements, corrections, changes or amendments to the text. I sort of need some scrutiny of this paper since it is not a report of CMS results -and thus I have not been forced by submit it for internal review to my collaboration.
The LHCb experiment collaborators at the Large Hadron Collider have announced discovery of two new particles in the baryon family.
The particles, known as the Xi_b'- and Xi_b*-, were predicted to exist by the quark model but had never been seen before. A related particle, the Xi_b*0, was found by the CMS experiment at CERN in 2012.
A whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons has been created using a spiral laser beam.
Polaritons are hybrid particles that have properties of both matter and light. The ability to control polariton flows in this way could aid the development of completely novel technology to link conventional electronics with new laser and fibre-based technologies.
Polaritons form in semiconductors when laser light interacts with electrons and holes (positively charged vacancies) so strongly that it is no longer possible to distinguish light from matter.