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Theory of Everything

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Source:
Hiding in the Higgs data: hints of physics beyond the standard model


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The good folks at the LHC have not been shy about sharing their results. Indeed, at the end of last year, the bigwigs at CERN called a press conference to announce that they hadn't found the Higgs boson yet, but they were starting to see some signals that might be the Higgs. If only all of us in research could get away with progress reports like that.

OK, that was a very cynical opening to a story that shows the benefits of such openness. The signal seen by the LHC's CMS and ATLAS detectors hinted at a Higgs Boson with a mass in the range of 124-126GeV. But buried in the details are some numbers that, if they hold up, will be impossible to accommodate in the standard model of physics. What does any good theoretical physicist do in these circumstances? Plug the numbers into their favorite model to see if it is still in the running. Something that could not be done had CERN not been so open about its preliminary results.

Get off that branch before it breaks

The details of obtaining the Higgs' mass range contains a huge amount of statistics and modeling of particle production. It is not just that these collisions produce huge numbers of different particles, but that these particles can decay to different particles, and collisions between particles can produce different collision products. You can think of each collision as a measurement on a quantum system, where there is more than one possible result. But the probabilities of each result are governed by the underlying details of the collision.

Unluckily (or, perhaps, luckily), the detectors don't see any of these intermediate particles. Instead, they only detect the relatively stable end products—basically, the LHC detects electrons, positrons, muons, and radiation. It is then a case of figuring out, from large numbers of collisions, what paths were involved in creating the particles we do see.

Each particle could have arrived by a number of different pathways through intermediate particles. Some pathways are more common than others, so we end up with what are referred to as branching ratios. Adding Higgs production to the mix will enhance some branching ratios and suppress others. Luckily, the standard model of physics tells us how to calculate these changes.

This is where the results from CERN are important. The mass of the Higgs Boson fits quite nicely with the standard model, but the branching ratios, according to Cheung and Yuan, are going to be difficult to accommodate. What the CMS results show is that one particular branch must be enhanced by Higgs production, and two others are suppressed. But the standard model suggests otherwise (though it should be pointed out that the data is not certain enough to be clear that the standard model is wrong).

New Physics

This may actually come as a relief to many, because nothing new has been turned up by the LHC so far. Physicists have many proposals for physics beyond the standard model—all motivated by the desire to resolve conflicts between general relativity and quantum electrodynamics. And now everyone is waiting for data from the LHC to help decide which models best reflect the world.

The most popular of these models involves giving every particle a heavy partner to satisfy certain symmetries—the model is called supersymmetry. It turns out that there are a few ways to make supersymmetric models, but physicists have generally favored the simplest. Except that if that model were right, the LHC should have started to see signs of the lightest particles predicted by supersymmetry. Which it hasn't.

So the field appears to be rather open at the moment, with every new data point eliminating someone's favorite model while providing tantalizing hints that someone else's might be right. In this case, the model that's still in the running is a relative of supersymmetry, involving one extra dimension and a lot of new, heavier particles. Now, the production of one particle, called the radion, would have the effect of simultaneously enhancing one branching ratio while suppressing others, in agreement with the LHC data.

This paper can't really come to any clear conclusions because the data from the LHC is not certain enough to support anything definitive. But what this points to is the difficulty in understanding and interpreting data from modern particle accelerators. Even if, in the next year, the LHC pins the Higgs down to 125GeV, it is unlikely that the data will be clear enough to pick a single model for physics beyond the standard model—if, indeed, it provides any support for such a model at all.

I also think that particle physicists get to use the coolest names for their particles.

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Source: New particle discovered at CERN


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ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2012) — Physicists from the University of Zurich have discovered a previously unknown particle composed of three quarks in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator. A new baryon could thus be detected for the first time at the LHC. The baryon known as Xi_b^* confirms fundamental assumptions of physics regarding the binding of quarks.

In particle physics, the baryon family refers to particles that are made up of three quarks. Quarks form a group of six particles that differ in their masses and charges. The two lightest quarks, the so-called "up" and "down" quarks, form the two atomic components, protons and neutrons. All baryons that are composed of the three lightest quarks ("up," "down" and "strange" quarks) are known. Only very few baryons with heavy quarks have been observed to date. They can only be generated artificially in particle accelerators as they are heavy and very unstable.

In the course of proton collisions in the LHC at CERN, physicists Claude Amsler, Vincenzo Chiochia and Ernest Aguiló from the University of Zurich's Physics Institute managed to detect a baryon with one light and two heavy quarks. The particle Xi_b^* comprises one "up," one "strange" and one "bottom" quark (usb), is electrically neutral and has a spin of 3/2 (1.5). Its mass is comparable to that of a lithium atom. The new discovery means that two of the three baryons predicted in the usb composition by theory have now been observed.

The discovery was based on data gathered in the CMS detector, which the University of Zurich was involved in developing. The new particle cannot be detected directly as it is too unstable to be registered by the detector. However, Xi_b^* breaks up in a known cascade of decay products. Ernest Aguiló, a postdoctoral student from Professor Amsler's group, identified traces of the respective decay products in the measurement data and was able to reconstruct the decay cascades starting from Xi_b^* decays.

The calculations are based on data from proton-proton collisions at an energy of seven Tera electron volts (TeV) collected by the CMS detector between April and November 2011. A total of 21 Xi_b^* baryon decays were discovered -- statistically sufficient to rule out a statistical fluctuation.

The discovery of the new particle confirms the theory of how quarks bind and therefore helps to understand the strong interaction, one of the four basic forces of physics which determines the structure of matter.

The University of Zurich is involved in the LHC at CERN with three research groups. Professor Amsler's and Professor Chiochia's groups are working on the CMS experiment; Professor Straumann's group is involved in the LHCb experiment.

CMS detector

The CMS detector is designed to measure the energy and momentum of photons, electrons, muons and other charged particles with a high degree of accuracy. Various measuring instruments are arranged in layers in the 12,500-ton detector, with which traces of the particles resulting from the collisions can be recorded. 179 institutions worldwide were involved in developing CMS. In Switzerland, these are the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute.

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I doubt we'll ever figure it all out, simply because existence is beyond what our brains are capable of understanding. It's beyond any kind of math we can develop. We can no more understand the nature of the universe and what else there might be than my cats can understand calculus. We can, however, develop math and science to mostly explain the properties of what we can observe. Still, it seems like every discovery requires we revise physics, and I suspect that will continue. It won't ever be fully explained.

Just my opinion, and I'd love to be proven wrong in my lifetime and find out what this all is.

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Voyager may exit our solar system much earlier sooner than expected - SlashGear

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Scientists edge closer to proving existence of elusive particle - CNN.com

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CERN has detected a particle, which could be the Higgs boson, press release from this morning:


CERN experiments observe particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson

Geneva, 4 July 2012. At a seminar held at CERN1 today as a curtain raiser to the year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP2012 in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.

“We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage,” said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, “but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.”

"The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” said CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. “The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks."

“It’s hard not to get excited by these results,” said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci. “ We stated last year that in 2012 we would either find a new Higgs-like particle or exclude the existence of the Standard Model Higgs. With all the necessary caution, it looks to me that we are at a branching point: the observation of this new particle indicates the path for the future towards a more detailed understanding of what we’re seeing in the data.”

The results presented today are labelled preliminary. They are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 data still under analysis. Publication of the analyses shown today is expected around the end of July. A more complete picture of today’s observations will emerge later this year after the LHC provides the experiments with more data.

The next step will be to determine the precise nature of the particle and its significance for our understanding of the universe. Are its properties as expected for the long-sought Higgs boson, the final missing ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics? Or is it something more exotic? The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them. All the matter that we can see, however, appears to be no more than about 4% of the total. A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96% of the universe that remains obscure.

“We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.”

Positive identification of the new particle’s characteristics will take considerable time and data. But whatever form the Higgs particle takes, our knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter is about to take a major step forward.


CERN Press Release

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Gravitational lens magnifies earliest galaxy yet seen | Ars Technica



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Unexpected data from the Large Hadron Collider suggest the collisions may be producing a new type of matter


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Collisions between protons and lead ions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have produced surprising behavior in some of the particles created by the collisions. The new observation suggests the collisions may have produced a new type of matter known as color-glass condensate.


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Negative Absolute Temperature for Motional Degrees of Freedom

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Physicists have created a quantum gas capable of reaching temperatures below absolute zero, paving the way for future quantum inventions.

Previously absolute zero was considered to be the theoretical lower limit of temperature as temperature correlates with the average amount of energy of the substance’s particles. At absolute zero particles were thought to have zero energy.

Moving into the sub-absolute zero realm, matter begins to display odd properties. Clouds of atoms drift upwards instead of down, while the atomic matrix’s ability to resist collapsing in on itself echoes the forces causing the universe to expand outwards rather than contracting under the influence of gravity.


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Strong signs Higgs boson has been found: CERN | Reuters

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Scientists find a way to create matter from light

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Our entire Milky Way galaxy is just a dot in this supercluster



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I have a nice anecdote about this LHC, they found a whole bunch of particles when they were using microscope-like systems that needed human intervention, but when they asked themselves if they weren't creating these particles with their thoughts, they tried using a camera instead, and it captured nothing, it is said that they're not revealing this because they're paid to find it and the bureaucrats that are managing this can't figure out anyway.

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For lack of better place, I'm placing this here:

https://www.sciencealert.com/ai-solves-50-year-old-biology-grand-challenge-decades-before-experts-predicted

Quite amazing read.

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I am still blown away by how much the structure of the universe resembles a brain. Maybe our universe is "god's" brain... Figments of his imagination. Could even be fractal in nature with universes inside of us and multiple levels above our own.


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