Last week's bombshell physics news--those superluminal neutrinos that CERN's OPERA experiment clocked moving faster than the speed of light--are already getting the rigorous vetting that OPERA's researchers were hoping for. And some physicists are already rejecting the notion that CERN's neutrinos broke the cosmic speed limit outright.
By Sean KanePosted 09.30.2011 at 5:17 pm 6 Comments
Today, the Tevatron accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory just outside Chicago has closed, ending its 28 years of smashing protons into antiprotons. The reasons for closing the 3.9 mile particle accelerator ring in Batavia, Illinois include budgetary constraints and its unfortunately obsolete status after the completion of CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
The accelerator's closing was celebrated by a live webcast of the shutdown and a lab-wide party. Lizzie Wade was there live to see the closing, and mourn the loss of America's greatest particle smasher along with the scientists.
So far, the only thing moving faster than light is speculation. But in the wake of last week’s baffling neutrino news out of CERN, physicists are crunching numbers to test whether these ghostly particles really can move faster than photons. Physicists at Fermilab are re-examining some old data to help answer the question.
Don't go throwing out your physics texts just yet, but there's some strange and unprecedented news brewing at CERN today that could potentially undo large parts of the Standard Model, and it has nothing to do with particle collisions at the LHC or elusive god particles. Physicists running routine neutrino experiments between CERN's Geneva HQ and the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy 455 miles away have found that their neutrinos seem to be traveling faster than the speed of light. That's right: faster than the fastest known speed in the universe. It's certainly not something we could have predicted when putting together our latest FYI, which investigates whether anything can move faster than light.
We know, we’ve been hearing rumors about interesting “data bumps” for months now, but this is big news — over the weekend the world’s two greatest particle smashers announced tantalizing hints that the Higgs boson may soon be within reach.
Scientists working on the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) at Cern’s particle physics laboratory had very exciting quarter hour recently. The team conjured and contained atoms of antihydrogen for a full 1,000 seconds--that’s nearly 17 minutes and 10,000 times longer than they were previously able to keep antimatter around before it disappeared in burst of particle-on-particle annihilations.
Friday’s space shuttle launch will be much more than the final hurrah for the shuttle Endeavour. Riding in its cargo bay is a massive and controversial physics experiment that could help answer some of the most confounding mysteries in science. With the delivery of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space shuttle’s penultimate mission could turn out to be one of its greatest achievements.
The Large Hadron Collider is now officially the world's most powerful particle accelerator
By Jennie WaltersPosted 04.22.2011 at 1:59 pm 8 Comments
The LHC smashed a record-breaking number of particles at midnight Geneva time last night, setting a new standard for beam intensity. CERN replaced Fermilab’s former record of 4.024 × 1032cm-2s-1 with a smug 4.67 × 1032cm-2s-1. That’s a lot of zeros, ranging somewhere in the billions of billions. Of billions.
Like all good marathons, the race to find the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider began with much fanfare but has now left spectators with little to do but wait until someone nears the finish line (at which point things will become very exciting again). But there’s reason to think LHC researchers at may have the finish line in sight: Scientists and administrators there are seriously considering extending the LHC’s current research run by an extra year through the end of 2012.
The milestones just keep coming over at the Large Hadron Collider. The latest: CERN researchers have glimpsed for the first time the so-called quark-gluon plasma that existed in the early universe before things cooled enough for neutrons, protons, and all the matter in the universe as we know it to form. Via heavy lead ion collisions underway at the LHC over the last month, researchers have recreated the conditions in the universe just a billionth of a second after the Big Bang.