The ICHEP conference opened today in Seoul. This is the most well-attended conference in particle physics around, with usually over 1000 participants.
The week-long event dictates the deadline of particle physics and astrophysics experiments around, as every collaboration wants to show updated results of their searches and measurements in that venue, to have a share of the spotlights. This means that you can bet the month of June was a hectic one for ATLAS and CMS collaborators alike (but also those of LHCb and ALICE, just to mention the main four CERN endeavours).
Happy Birthday Higgs boson! The discovery of the last fundamental particle of the Standard Model was announced exactly 6 years ago at CERN (well, plus one day, since I decided to postpone to July 5 the publication of this post...).
In the Standard Model, the theory of fundamental interactions among elementary particles which enshrines our current understanding of the subnuclear world, particles that constitute matter are fermionic: they have a haif-integer value of a quantity we call spin; and particles that mediate interactions between those fermions, keeping them together and governing their behaviour, are bosonic: they have an integer value of spin.
1. Imitation or enactment
2. The act or process of pretending; feigning.
3. An assumption or imitation of a particular appearance or form; counterfeit; sham.
Well, high-energy physics is all about simulations.
We have a theoretical model that predicts the outcome of the very energetic particle collisions we create in the core of our giant detectors, but we only have approximate descriptions of the inputs to the theoretical model, so we need simulations.
Neutrinos, the most mysterious and fascinating of all elementary particles, continue to puzzle physicists. 20 years after the experimental verification of a long-debated effect whereby the three neutrino species can "oscillate", changing their nature by turning one into the other as they propagate in vacuum and in matter, the jury is still out to decide what really is the matter with them. And a new result
by the MiniBoone collaboration is stirring waters once more.
Living in Padova has its merits. I moved here since January 1st and am enjoying every bit of it. I used to live in Venice, my home town, and commute with Padova during weekdays, but a number of factors led me to decide on this move (not last the fact that I could afford to buy a spacious place close to my office in Padova, while in Venice I was confined to a rented apartment).
A paper by B. Fornal and B. Grinstein
published last week in Physical Review Letters is drawing a lot of interest to one of the most well-known pieces of subnuclear physics since the days of Enrico Fermi: beta decay.
Like sex, Stephen Hawking was and is mainly a cheap way to obtain publicity. They still publish posthumously now to keep it going. The media feast on the occasion of his parting was not enough, sadly also here at Science2.0 by the usual suspects. I refused participation, because there is just nothing good to say, but the “he just dead, you can’t say that”-period has passed now, too. Let’s be scientific: Hawking’s main contribution was sitting in a wheelchair!
Frank D. Smith (Tony Smith for his friends) has been following this blog since the beginning. He is an independent researcher who is very interested in phenomena connected with the top quark and the Higgs boson. He has a theory of his own and he has been trying to check whether LHC data is compatible or not with it. His ideas are reported here as a guest post, as a tribute to his faithfulness to this site. Of course the views expressed below are his own, as I retain a healthy dose of scepticism to any bit of new physics apparent in today's data... Also, I will comment in the thread below to inform the reader of what my ideas are on his interpretation of public LHC results.
These days the use of machine learning is exploding, as problems which can be solved more effectively with it are ubiquitous, and the construction of deep neural networks or similar advanced tools is at reach of sixth graders. So it is not surprising to see theoretical physicists joining the fun. If you think that the work of a particle theorist is too abstract to benefit from ML applications, you better think again.
Relativity is a form of symmetry and for that reason already of fundamental importance for science. Symmetry means: You can change something in some quite fundamental way, for example rotate the whole circle, and yet, the result is in some other important way the same, the circle is in all ways we can notice as it was before the rotation. The law of the conservation of energy is such symmetry: We transform local chemical energy into non-local kinetic energy and back, yet its mass stays the exact same throughout. We usually call ‘Relativity’ a symmetry that involves transforming the observer/describer and his perspective. They are mainly: