Posts Tagged ‘ CERN ’

Higgs boson: Scientists find signs of missing ‘God particle’

“Scientists said they had found signs of the Higgs boson, an elementary particle believed to have played a vital role in the creation of the universe after the Big Bang”.
First of all I would like to explain what is the Higgs boson particle and why do people call it the ‘god particle’ before presenting its whole report.

What is the Higgs boson?

This particle is named after Peter Higgs, an Edinburgh University physicist, the Higgs boson particle is crucial to understanding the origin of mass and it has been called “the brick that built the universe,” “the angel of creation” and “the god particle.” It is thought to have emerged from the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago and have brought much of the rest of the flying debris together to form galaxies, stars and planets.

Why do people call it the ‘god particle’?

Its theistic nickname was coined by Nobel prizewinning physicist Leon Lederman, but Higgs himself is no fan of the label. According to Higgs, it wasn’t even Lederman’s choice to call it the god particle: “He wanted to refer to it as that ‘goddamn particle’ and his editor wouldn’t let him.”

Now, What Report says:

GENEVA: Scientists said on Tuesday they had found signs of the Higgs boson, an elementary particle believed to have played a vital role in the creation of the universe after the Big Bang.

Scientists at the CERN physics research centre near Geneva said, however, they had found no conclusive proof of the existence of the particle which, according to prevailing theories of physics, gives everything in the universe its mass.

“If the Higgs observation is confirmed… this really will be one of the discoveries of the century,” said Themis Bowcock, a professor of particle physics at Britain’s Liverpool University.

“Physicists will have uncovered a keystone in the makeup of the Universe… whose influence we see and feel every day of our lives.”

The leaders of two experiments, ALTAS and CMS, revealed their findings to a packed seminar at CERN, where they have tried to find traces of the elusive boson by smashing particles together in the Large Hadron Collider at high speed.

“Both experiments have the signals pointing in essentially the same direction,” said Oliver Buchmueller, senior physicist on CMS. “It seems that both Atlas and us have found the signals are at the same mass level. That is obviously very important.”

Fabiola Gianotti, the scientist in charge of the ATLAS experiment, told a seminar to discuss the findings. She said “I think it would be extremely kind of the Higgs boson to be here, but it is too early” for final conclusions, she said. “More studies and more data are needed. The next few months will be very exciting… I don’t know what the conclusions will be.”

While its discovery would cement current knowledge about particles such as electrons and photons, results of work at CERN could also prove it does not exist. Such an outcome would undermine the foundations of accepted theories of the make-up of the universe.

“If the first inklings of the Higgs boson are confirmed, then this is just the start of the adventure to unlock the secrets of the fundamental constituents of the Universe,” said Stephen Haywood, Head of the Atlas Group at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The ATLAS results were followed by explanation of the second experiment, CMS.

“We are homing in on the Higgs,” said Claire Shepherd-Themistocleus, Head of the CMS Group at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

“We have had hints today of what its mass might be and the excitement of scientists is palpable. Whether this is ultimately confirmed or we finally rule out a low mass Higgs boson, we are on the verge of a major change in our understanding of the fundamental nature of matter.”

Struggling to cope with demand from Higgs-hunters. “It can still happen that it is a fluctuation, but all we see from both experiments is compatible with what we would expect for a Higgs signal to build up,” said Buchmueller.

“But we really need the data from next year to be sure of what we’re seeing.”

References: Times of India (The article published in  Times of India on 13th dec 2011 under the heading – Higgs boson: Scientists find signs of missing ‘God particle’)

Scientists Report Second Sighting of Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos…

Few scientists are betting against Einstein yet, but the phantom neutrinos of Opera are still eluding explanation.

Two months after scientists reported that they had clocked subatomic particles known as neutrinos going faster than the speed of light, to the astonishment and vocal disbelief of most of the world’s physicists, the same group of scientists, known as Opera, said that it had performed a second experiment that confirmed its first results and eliminated one possible explanation for how the experiment could have gone wrong.

But the group admitted that many questions remain. “This is not the end of the story,” said Antonio Ereditato of the University of Bern in Switzerland, the spokesman for the collaboration, explaining that physicists would not accept the result that neutrinos could go faster than light until other experiments had come up with the same conclusion. “We are convinced, but that is not enough in science,” he said.

Other physicists said they remained skeptical that the universe was about to be overturned.

The speed of light was established as the cosmic speed limit, at least for ordinary matter in ordinary space, in 1905 by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity (now known as special relativity), foreclosing the possibility of time travel into the past or of timely travel to other stars.

Neutrinos, though ghostly in many regards — they are able to traverse planets and walls of lead like light through a window, and to shape-shift from one of three varieties of the particle to another along the way — are part of the universe, and so there was no reason to expect that Einstein’s stricture should not apply to them as well.

But over the course of the last three years, in experiments designed to investigate this shape shifting, neutrinos produced at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and beamed underground to the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, an underground facility about 450 miles away, arrived about 58 billionths of a second sooner than would a light beam, according to Opera. The group is based at Gran Sasso, which is near L’Aquila; CERN is in Geneva.

When these results were presented to a meeting at CERN in September, after a prairie fire of blog rumors, they were greeted by fierce skepticism. Among the problems with the original experiment, scientists said, was that the neutrinos were produced in bursts 10,000 billionths of a second long — much bigger than the discrepancy in arrival time.

Last month CERN retooled so that the neutrinos could be produced in shorter bursts, only 3 billionths of a second long, making it easier to match neutrinos at Gran Sasso with neutrinos at CERN, and the experiment was briefly repeated. The neutrinos still arrived early, about 62 billionths of a second early, in good agreement with the original result and negating the possibility, the Opera team said, that the duration of the neutrino pulse had anything to do with the results.

Physicists said the new paper had answered some of the questions about the experiment, but many remain: for example, about how the clocks were synchronized between Geneva and Gran Sasso, and how the distance between them was ascertained. “It does appear that they have done a good job,” said John Learned, a neutrino physicist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa who was not involved in the experiment. But, he added, “If there is a deep systematic error in the calculation of expected time difference, this remains.”

Alvaro de Rujula, a CERN theorist, said there were two interpretations of the experiment. “One is that they have stumbled upon a revolutionary discovery; the other, on which I would place my bet, is that they are still making and not finding the very same error.”

In the meantime, Einstein sleeps peacefully.

Asked if he had seen any interesting theoretical explanations of how neutrinos could violate the speed of light among the papers that have been flooding the internet these past two months, Dr. Ereditato demurred. “That’s not our business,” he said. “A good experimentalist tries to be as cool as possible.”

Dr. Learned and Dr. de Rujula both said there were no convincing theories out there yet. “The theory papers are amusing in that it more and more points out how very much trouble this result will cause, if verified,” Dr. Learned said in an e-mail.

He added, “Fun!”

BY DENNIS OVERBYE
“A version of this article appeared in print on November 19, 2011, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos Are Seen Again by Scientists.”