By Ann FinkbeinerPosted 01.06.2012 at 1:01 pm 30 Comments
in the beginning of the beginning, the exploding hot universe was full of elementary particles, but the particles had no mass. The universe also contained force fields, and one of those fields, the Higgs, cooled and condensed into a quantum liquid. The liquid dragged on the other particles, giving them mass. The liquid rippled, and the ripples formed a new particle, called the Higgs.
An interesting piece in Universe Today over the weekend takes the dark matter out of the hunt for dark matter, but you're probably going to want to approach this one carefully--or as Universe Today says, "put on your skeptical goggles and set them to maximum." An Italian mathematician has done some creative number crunching and accounted for the force that holds galaxies together without the need for dark matter.
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.