Tomorrow Fermilab researchers will power down their Tevatron particle collider for the final time, marking the end of an era. But for some, that era is so over anyhow. Hadrons, like last season's handbag, have had their time in the spotlight. The next hot trend in physics is muons, and all the cool kids know it.
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.
European researchers working at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France, have trapped the largest number of neutrons ever held in place at one time. But while they’ve smashed the previous record (also held by the ILL), it’s still not quite enough, the lead researcher tells BBC. Still, the new approach that got researchers this far may be able to trap far greater numbers of neutrons with a little finessing.
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.
Fermilab’s Tevatron collider runs out of money and time at the end of this month, but physicists there say that they are on track to establish whether the Higgs can exist within the most likely predicted mass range before their September 30 deadline. That’s not the same as actually finding the Higgs boson of course, but physicists say they’ll either rule out the possibility of its existence or not by month’s end.
The latest news from the Large Hadron Collider: scientists still cannot explain why we’re all here. In the most detailed analysis of strange beauty particles — that’s what they’re really called — physicists cannot find supersymmetric particles, which are shadow partners for every known particle in the standard model of modern physics. This could mean that they don’t exist, which would be very interesting news indeed.
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.
For a nation that prides itself on "firsts," America's 2011 is shaping up pretty poorly. Two American firsts will experience their lasts this year: the space shuttles, the first and only reusable space vehicles of their kind, will retire this week, and Fermilab's Tevatron--once the world's most powerful particle collider--will cease smashing in September. While all good things must come to an end, neither of these world-beating technologies has a homegrown successor to pick up where its predecessor left off. With regularity, the "firsts" are happening elsewhere these days.
For those of us who grew up on Big Science--where big projects regularly hit big milestones that were a big deal--these are strange days. I want to see Americans build the first fusion reactor. Actually, I want to see American robots build it, and I want them do it on the moon.
Japan's "T2K," one of our favorite neutrino experiments (we're keen on several), might have just cracked the mystery of why matter triumphed over antimatter after the Big Bang (they should have canceled each other out).
America’s grand particle smasher may not go out with a bang after all. A bump in data at the Tevatron, reported earlier this spring, turns out to be a false alarm — not a new particle or a new force of nature.