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  • richardmitnick 4:39 pm on October 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From FNAL: “Physics in a Nutshell – Unparticle physics” 


    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
    Jim Pivarski

    The first property of matter that was known to be quantized was not a surprising one like spin — it was mass. That is, mass only comes in multiples of a specific value: The mass of five electrons is 5 times 511 keV. A collection of electrons cannot have 4.9 or 5.1 times this number — it must be exactly 4 or exactly 6, and this is a quantum mechanical effect.

    We don’t usually think of mass quantization as quantum mechanical because it isn’t weird. We sometimes imagine electrons as tiny balls, all alike, each with a mass of 511 keV. While this mental image could make sense of the quantization, it isn’t correct since other experiments show that an electron is an amorphous wave or cloud. Individual electrons cannot be distinguished. They all melt together, and yet the mass of a blob of electron-stuff is always a whole number.

    The quantization of mass comes from a wave equation — physicists assume that electron-stuff obeys this equation, and when they solve the equation, it has only solutions with mass in integer multiples of 511 keV. Since this agrees with what we know, it is probably the right equation for electrons. However, there might be other forms of matter that obey different laws.

    fra
    One alternative would be to obey a symmetry principle known as scale invariance. Scale invariance is a property of fractals, like the one shown above, in which the same drawing is repeated within itself at smaller and smaller scales. For matter, scale invariance is the property that the energy, momentum and mass of a blob of matter can be scaled up equally. Normal particles like electrons are not scale-invariant because the energy can be scaled by an arbitrary factor, but the mass is rigidly quantized.

    It is theoretically possible that another type of matter, dubbed “unparticles,” could satisfy scale invariance. In a particle detector, unparticles would look like particles with random masses. One unparticle decay might have many times the apparent mass of the next — the distribution would be broad.

    Another feature of unparticles is that they don’t interact strongly with the familiar Standard Model particles, but they interact more strongly at higher energies. Therefore, they would not have been produced in low-energy experiments, but could be discovered in high-energy experiments.

    sm
    The Standard Model of elementary particles, with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    Physicists searched for unparticles using the 7- and 8-TeV collisions produced by the LHC in 2011-2012, and they found nothing. This tightens limits, reducing the possible parameters that the theory can have, but it does not completely rule it out. Next spring, the LHC is scheduled to start up with an energy of 13 TeV, which would provide a chance to test the theory more thoroughly. Perhaps the next particle to be discovered is not a particle at all.

    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    LHC Tunnel

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:08 pm on October 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From FNAL: “From the Office of Campus Strategy and Readiness – Building the future of Fermilab” 


    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
    ro
    Randy Ortgiesen, head of OCSR, wrote this column.

    As Fermilab and the Department of Energy continue to aggressively “make ready the laboratory” for implementing P5’s recommendations, I can’t help reflecting on all that has recently been accomplished to support the lab’s future — both less visible projects and the big stuff. As we continue to build on these accomplishments, it’s worth noting their breadth and how much headway we’ve made.

    The development of the Muon Campus is proceeding at a healthy clip. Notable in its progress is the completion of the MC-1 Building and the cryogenic systems that support the Muon g-2 experiment. The soon-to-launch beamline enclosure construction project and soon-to-follow Mu2e building is also significant. And none of this could operate without the ongoing, complex accelerator work that will provide beam to these experiments.

    Repurposing of the former CDF building for future heavy-assembly production space and offices is well under way, with more visible exterior improvements to begin soon.

    The new remote operations center, ROC West, is open for business. Several experiments already operate from its new location adjacent to the Wilson Hall atrium.

    The Wilson Street entrance security improvements, including a new guardhouse, are also welcome additions to improved site aesthetics and security operations. Plans for a more modern and improved Pine Street entrance are beginning as well.

    The fully funded Science Laboratory Infrastructure project to replace the Master Substation and critical portions of the industrial cooling water system will mitigate the lab’s largest infrastructure vulnerability for current and future lab operations. Construction is scheduled to start in summer 2015.

    The short-baseline neutrino program is expected to start utility and site preparation very soon, with the start of the detector building construction following shortly thereafter. This is an important and significant part of the near-term future of the lab.

    The start of a demolition program for excess older and inefficient facilities is very close. The program will begin with a portion of the trailers at both the CDF and DZero trailer complexes.

    Space reconfiguration in Wilson Hall to house the new Neutrino Division and LBNF project offices is in the final planning stage and will also be starting soon.

    The atrium improvements, with the reception desk, new lighting and more modern furniture create a more welcoming atmosphere.

    And I started the article by mentioning planning for the “big stuff.” The big stuff, as you may know, includes the lab’s highest-priority project in developing a new central campus. This project is called the Center for Integrated Engineering Research, to be located just west of Wilson Hall. It will consolidate engineering resources from across the site to most efficiently plan for, construct and operate the P5 science projects. The highest-priority Technical Campus project, called the Industrial Center Building Addition, is urgently needed to expand production capacity for the equipment required for future science projects. And lastly the Scientific Hostel, or guest house, for which plans are also under way, will complete the Central Campus theme to “eat-sleep-work to drive discovery.”

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 3:08 pm on October 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From FNAL: “Simulation in the 21st century” 


    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014
    V. Daniel Elvira, Scientific Computing Simulation Department head

    Simulation is not magic, but it can certainly produce the feeling. Although it can’t miraculously replace particle physics experiments, revealing new physics phenomena at the touch of a key, it can help scientists to design detectors for best physics at the minimum cost in time and money.

    sim
    This CMS simulated event was created using Geant4 simulation software. Image: CMS Collaboration

    CERN CMS New
    CMS at CERN

    Geant4 is a detector simulation software toolkit originally created at CERN and currently developed by about 100 physicists and computer scientists from all around the world to model the passage of particles through matter and electromagnetic fields. For example, physicists use simulation to optimize detectors and software algorithms with the goal to measure, with utmost efficiency, marks that previously unobserved particles predicted by new theories would leave in their experimental devices.

    Particle physics detectors are typically large and complex. Think of them as a set of hundreds of different shapes and materials. Particles coming from accelerator beams or high-energy collisions traverse the detectors, lose energy and transform themselves into showers of more particles as they interact with the detector material. The marks they leave behind are read by detector electronics and reconstructed by software into the original incident particles with their associated energies and trajectories.

    We wouldn’t even dream of starting detector construction, much less asking for the funding to do it, without simulating the detector geometry and magnetic fields, as well as the physics of the interactions of particles with detector material, in exquisite detail. One of the goals of simulation is to demonstrate that the proposed detector would do the job.

    Geant4 includes tools to represent the detector geometry by assembling elements of different shapes, sizes and material, as well as the mathematical expressions to propagate particles and calculate the details of the electromagnetic and nuclear interactions of particles with matter.

    Geant4 is the current incarnation of Geant (Geometry and Tracking, or “giant” in French). It has become extremely popular for physics, medical and space science applications and is the tool of choice for high-energy physics, including CERN’s LHC experiments and Fermilab’s neutrino and muon programs.

    The Fermilab Scientific Computing Simulation Department (SCS) has grown a team of Geant4 experts that participate actively in its core development and maintenance, offering detector simulation support to experiments and projects within Fermilab’s scientific program. The focus of our team is on improving physics and testing tools, as well as time and memory performance. The SCS team also spearheads an exciting R&D program to re-engineer the toolkit to run on modern computer architectures.

    New-generation machines containing chips called coprocessors, or graphics processing units such as those used in game consoles or smart phones, may be used to speed execution times significantly. Software engineers do this by exploiting the benefits of the novel circuit design of the chips, as well as by using parallel programming. For example, a program execution mode called “multi-threading” would allow us to simulate particles from showers of different physics collisions simultaneously by submitting these threads to the hundreds or thousands of processor cores contained within these novel computer systems.

    As the high-energy community builds, commissions and runs the experiments of the first half of the 21st century, a world of exciting and promising possibilities is opening in the field of simulation and detector modeling. Our Fermilab SCS team is at the forefront of this effort.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 2:42 pm on October 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From FNAL: “New high-speed transatlantic network to benefit science collaborations across the U.S.” 


    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

    Karen McNulty-Walsh, Brookhaven Media and Communications Office, kmcnulty@bnl.gov, 631-344-8350
    Kurt Riesselmann, Fermilab Office of Communication, media@fnal.gov, 630-840-3351
    Jon Bashor, Computing Sciences Communications Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, jbashor@lbnl.gov, 510-486-5849

    Scientists across the United States will soon have access to new, ultra-high-speed network links spanning the Atlantic Ocean thanks to a project currently under way to extend ESnet (the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network) to Amsterdam, Geneva and London. Although the project is designed to benefit data-intensive science throughout the U.S. national laboratory complex, heaviest users of the new links will be particle physicists conducting research at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. The high capacity of this new connection will provide U.S. scientists with enhanced access to data at the LHC and other European-based experiments by accelerating the exchange of data sets between institutions in the United States and computing facilities in Europe.

    esnet

    DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory—the primary computing centers for U.S. collaborators on the LHC’s ATLAS and CMS experiments, respectively—will make immediate use of the new network infrastructure once it is rigorously tested and commissioned. Because ESnet, based at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, interconnects all national laboratories and a number of university-based projects in the United States, tens of thousands of researchers from all disciplines will benefit as well.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC at CERN

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS at the LHC

    CERN CMS New
    CMS at CERN

    BNL Campus
    Brookhaven Lab

    The ESnet extension will be in place before the LHC at CERN in Switzerland—currently shut down for maintenance and upgrades—is up and running again in the spring of 2015. Because the accelerator will be colliding protons at much higher energy, the data output from the detectors will expand considerably—to approximately 40 petabytes of raw data per year compared with 20 petabytes for all of the previous lower-energy collisions produced over the three years of the LHC first run between 2010 and 2012.

    The cross-Atlantic connectivity during the first successful run for the LHC experiments, which culminated in the discovery of the Higgs boson, was provided by the US LHCNet network, managed by the California Institute of Technology. In recent years, major research and education networks around the world—including ESnet, Internet2, California’s CENIC, and European networks such as DANTE, SURFnet and NORDUnet—have increased their backbone capacity by a factor of 10, using sophisticated new optical networking and digital signal processing technologies. Until recently, however, higher-speed links were not deployed for production purposes across the Atlantic Ocean—creating a network “impedance mismatch” that can harm large, intercontinental data flows.

    An evolving data model

    This upgrade coincides with a shift in the data model for LHC science. Previously, data moved in a more predictable and hierarchical pattern strongly influenced by geographical proximity, but network upgrades around the world have now made it possible for data to be fetched and exchanged more flexibly and dynamically. This change enables faster science outcomes and more efficient use of storage and computational power, but it requires networks around the world to perform flawlessly together.

    “Having the new infrastructure in place will meet the increased need for dealing with LHC data and provide more agile access to that data in a much more dynamic fashion than LHC collaborators have had in the past,” said physicist Michael Ernst of DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, a key member of the team laying out the new and more flexible framework for exchanging data between the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid centers.

    Ernst directs a computing facility at Brookhaven Lab that was originally set up as a central hub for U.S. collaborators on the LHC’s ATLAS experiment. A similar facility at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has played this role for the LHC’s U.S. collaborators on the CMS experiment. These computing resources, dubbed Tier 1 centers, have direct links to the LHC at the European laboratory CERN (Tier 0). The experts who run them will continue to serve scientists under the new structure. But instead of serving as hubs for data storage and distribution only among U.S.-based collaborators at Tier 2 and 3 research centers, the dedicated facilities at Brookhaven and Fermilab will be able to serve data needs of the entire ATLAS and CMS collaborations throughout the world. And likewise, U.S. Tier 2 and Tier 3 research centers will have higher-speed access to Tier 1 and Tier 2 centers in Europe.

    “This new infrastructure will offer LHC researchers at laboratories and universities around the world faster access to important data,” said Fermilab’s Lothar Bauerdick, head of software and computing for the U.S. CMS group. “As the LHC experiments continue to produce exciting results, this important upgrade will let collaborators see and analyze those results better than ever before.”

    Ernst added, “As centralized hubs for handling LHC data, our reliability, performance and expertise have been in demand by the whole collaboration, and now we will be better able to serve the scientists’ needs.”

    An investment in science

    ESnet is funded by DOE’s Office of Science to meet networking needs of DOE labs and science projects. The transatlantic extension represents a financial collaboration, with partial support coming from DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics (HEP) for the next three years. Although LHC scientists will get a dedicated portion of the new network once it is in place, all science programs that make use of ESnet will now have access to faster network links for their data transfers.

    “We are eagerly awaiting the start of commissioning for the new infrastructure,” said Oliver Gutsche, Fermilab scientist and member of the CMS Offline and Computing Management Board. “After the Higgs discovery, the next big LHC milestones will come in 2015, and this network will be indispensable for the success of the LHC Run 2 physics program.”

    This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 2:05 pm on October 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From FNAL- “Frontier Science Result: CMS Off the beaten path” 


    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Friday, Oct. 17, 2014
    Jim Pivarski

    The main concern for most searches for rare phenomena is to control the backgrounds. Backgrounds are observations that resemble the one of interest, yet aren’t. For instance, fool’s gold is a background for gold prospectors. The main reason that the Higgs boson was hard to find is that most Higgs decays resemble b quark pair production, which is a million times more common. You not only have to find the one-in-a-million event picture, you have to identify some feature of it to prove that it is not an ordinary event.

    This is particularly hard to do in proton collisions because protons break apart in messy ways — the quarks from the proton that missed each other generate a spray of particles that fly off just about everywhere. Look through a billion or a trillion of these splatter events and you can find one that resembles the pattern of new physics that you’re looking for. Physicists have many techniques for filtering out these backgrounds — requiring missing momentum from an invisible particle, high energy perpendicular to the beam, a resonance at a single energy, and the presence of electrons and muons are just a few.

    nu
    Most particles produced by proton collisions originate in the point where the beams cross. Those that do not are due to intermediate particles that travel some distance before they decay

    A less common yet powerful technique for eliminating backgrounds is to look for displaced particle trajectories, meaning trajectories that don’t intersect the collision point. Particles that are directly created by the proton collision or are created by short-lived intermediates always emerge from this point. Those that emerge from some other point in space must be due to a long-lived intermediate.

    A common example of this is the b quark, which can live as long as a trillionth of a second before decaying into visible particles. That might not sound like very long, but the quark is traveling so quickly that it covers several millimeters in that trillionth of a second, which is a measurable difference.

    In a recent analysis, CMS scientists searched for displaced electrons and muons. Displaced tracks are rare, and electrons and muons are also rare, so displaced electrons and muons should be extremely rare. The only problem with this logic is that b quarks sometimes produce electrons and muons, so one other feature is needed to disambiguate. A b quark almost always produces a jet of particles, so this search for new physics also required that the electrons and muons were not close to jets.

    CERN CMS New
    CERN CMS

    With these simple selection criteria, the experimenters found only as many events as would be expected from standard physics. Therefore, it constrains any theory that predicts displaced electrons and muons. One of these is “displaced supersymmetry,” which generalizes the usual supersymmetry scenario by allowing the longest-lived supersymmetric particle to decay on the millimeter scale that this analysis tests. Displaced supersymmetry was introduced as a way that supersymmetry might exist yet be missed by most other analyses. Experiments like this one illuminate the dark corners in which supersymmetry might be hiding.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 2:52 pm on October 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From LC Newsline: “Full ILC-type cryomodule makes the grade” 

    Linear Collider Collaboration header
    Linear Collider Collaboration

    16 October 2014
    Joykrit Mitra

    For the first time, the ILC gradient specification of 31.5 megavolts per metre has been achieved on average across all of the eight cavities assembled in an ILC-type cryomodule. A team at Fermilab reached the milestone earlier this month. It is an achievement for scientists, engineers and technicians at Fermilab and Jefferson Lab in Virginia as well as their domestic and international partners in superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) technologies.

    The cryomodule, called CM2, was developed and assembled to advance superconducting radio-frequency technology and infrastructure at Americas-region laboratories. The CM2 milestone achievement has been nearly a decade in the making, since US scientists started participating in ILC research and development in 2006.

    cryo
    CM2 cryomodule being assembled at Fermilab’s Industrial Center Building (2011). Photo: Reidar Hahn

    “We’ve reached this important milestone and it was a long time coming,” said Elvin Harms, who leads the cryomodule testing programme at Fermilab. “It’s the first time in the world this has been achieved.”

    An accelerating gradient is a measure of how much of an energy boost particle bunches receive as they zip through an accelerator. Cavities with higher gradients boost particle bunches to higher energies over shorter distances. In an operational ILC, all 16,000 of its cavities would be housed in cryomodules, which would keep the cavities cool when operating at a temperature of 2 kelvins. While cavities can achieve high gradients as standalones, when they are assembled together in a cryomodule unit, the average gradient drops significantly.

    The road to the 31.5 MV/m milestone has been a long and arduous one. Between 2008 and 2010, all of the eight cavities in CM2 had individually been pushed to gradients above 35 MV/m at Jefferson Lab in tests in which the cavities were electropolished and vertically oriented. They were among 60 cavities evaluated globally for the prospects of reaching the ILC gradient. This evaluation was known as the S0 Global Design Effort. It was a build-up to the S1-Global Experiment, which put to the test the possibility of reaching 31.5 MV/m across an entire cryomodule. The final assembly of the S1 cryomodule setup took place at KEK in Japan, between 2010 and 2011. In S1, seven nine-cell 1.3-gigahertz niobium cavities strung together inside a cryomodule achieved an average gradient of 26 MV/m. An ILC-type cryomodule consists of eight such cavities.

    cm2
    CM2 in its home at Fermilab’s NML building, as part of the future Advanced Superconducting Test Accelerator. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    But the ILC community has taken big strides since then. Americas region teams acquired significant expertise in increasing cavity gradients: all CM2 cavities were vertically tested in the United States, initially at Jefferson Lab, and were subjected to additional horizontal tests at Fermilab. Further, cavities manufactured by private vendors in the United States have improved in quality: three of the eight cavities that make up the CM2 cryomodule were fabricated locally.

    Hands-on experience played a major role in improving the overall CM2 gradient. In 2007, a kit for Fermilab’s Cryomodule 1, or CM1, arrived from DESY, and by 2010, when CM1 was operational, the workforce had adopted a production mentality, which was crucial for the work they did on CM2.

    “I would like to congratulate my Fermilab colleagues for their persistence in carrying out this important work and for the quality of their work, which is extremely high,” said the SRF Institute at Jefferson Lab’s Rongli Geng, who led the ILC high-gradient cavity project there from 2007 to 2012. “We are glad to be able to contribute to this success.”

    But achieving the gradient is only the first step, Harms said. “There is still a lot of work left to be done. We need to look at CM2’s longer term performance. And we need to evaluate it thoroughly.”

    Among other tasks, the CM2 group will gently push the gradients higher to determine the limits of the technology and continue to understand and refine it. They plan to power and check the magnet—manufactured at Fermilab— that will be used to focus the particle beam passing through the cryomodule. Also in the works is a plan to study the rate at which the CM2 can be cooled down to 2 kelvins and warmed up again. Finally, they expect to send an actual electron beam through CM2 in 2015 to understand better how the beam and cryomodule respond in that setup.

    Scientists at Fermilab also expect that CM2 will be used in the Advanced Superconducting Test Accelerator currently under construction at Fermilab’s NML building, where CM2 is housed. The SRF technology developed for CM2 also has applications for light source instruments such as LCLS-II at SLAC in the United States and DESY’s XFEL.

    And it’s definitely a viable option for a future machine like the ILC.

    See the full article here.

    The Linear Collider Collaboration is an organisation that brings the two most likely candidates, the Compact Linear Collider Study (CLIC) and the International Liner Collider (ILC), together under one roof. Headed by former LHC Project Manager Lyn Evans, it strives to coordinate the research and development work that is being done for accelerators and detectors around the world and to take the project linear collider to the next step: a decision that it will be built, and where.

    Some 2000 scientists – particle physicists, accelerator physicists, engineers – are involved in the ILC or in CLIC, and often in both projects. They work on state-of-the-art detector technologies, new acceleration techniques, the civil engineering aspect of building a straight tunnel of at least 30 kilometres in length, a reliable cost estimate and many more aspects that projects of this scale require. The Linear Collider Collaboration ensures that synergies between the two friendly competitors are used to the maximum.

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  • richardmitnick 2:30 pm on October 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From LC Newsline: “Calorimeters enjoy beam time” 

    Linear Collider Collaboration header
    Linear Collider Collaboration

    16 October 2014
    Barbara Warmbein

    There are prototypes and there are prototypes. Some are needed to verify that a chosen detection technology actually works, some help scientists test one technology against another, some help them design sturdy detector infrastructure with little material budget, working power supply and cooling, while others set out to prove that it is possible to have full detector functionality with all electronics set up like in the final detector. And then there are those that do it all at the same time.

    calice
    CALICE crowd around detector setup in the T9 beamline at CERN. All images by Katsushige Kotera

    The CALICE collaboration’s analogue hadronic calorimeter, or AHCAL, is an example of the last type. It is a prototype for a calorimeter – a subdetector that measures the energies of passing particles – that might one day be part of the ILD detector. It would work together with trackers, electromagnetic calorimeter and muon system to record, reconstruct, track and identify every particle produced in the collisions at the future ILC. The CALICE scientists are currently testing a prototype that takes a close look at detector infrastructure like cooling and power supply while at the same time comparing different kinds of silicon photomultipliers or SiPMs. These do the actual job of detection, and the collaboration is testing the latest and much advanced commercial silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) from Russia, Ireland, Japan and Germany.

    fd
    Flying detectors: after craning the hadronic calorimeter into its test beam destination…
    in
    …it gets installed and set up before starting its data taking run.

    The HCAL prototype consists of one module, which corresponds to a slice of one sector of the future calorimeter barrel of the final detector. It has 1000 channels per square metre and it shares the space in the test beam area with CALICE electromagnetic calorimeter prototype modules from Japan – a true collaboration that also shares the same readout electronics. It’s also the first time that these calorimeters are taking data in a hadron beam after a few runs in electron beams at DESY in Germany.

    …it gets installed and set up before starting its data taking run.

    See the full article here.

    The Linear Collider Collaboration is an organisation that brings the two most likely candidates, the Compact Linear Collider Study (CLIC) and the International Liner Collider (ILC), together under one roof. Headed by former LHC Project Manager Lyn Evans, it strives to coordinate the research and development work that is being done for accelerators and detectors around the world and to take the project linear collider to the next step: a decision that it will be built, and where.

    Some 2000 scientists – particle physicists, accelerator physicists, engineers – are involved in the ILC or in CLIC, and often in both projects. They work on state-of-the-art detector technologies, new acceleration techniques, the civil engineering aspect of building a straight tunnel of at least 30 kilometres in length, a reliable cost estimate and many more aspects that projects of this scale require. The Linear Collider Collaboration ensures that synergies between the two friendly competitors are used to the maximum.

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  • richardmitnick 1:51 pm on October 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Symmetry: “Top quark still raising questions” 

    Symmetry

    October 15, 2014
    Troy Rummler

    Why are scientists still interested in the heaviest fundamental particle nearly 20 years after its discovery?

    “What happens to a quark deferred?” the poet Langston Hughes may have asked, had he been a physicist. If scientists lost interest in a particle after its discovery, much of what it could show us about the universe would remain hidden. A niche of scientists, therefore, stay dedicated to intimately understanding its properties.

    tq
    Photo by Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

    Case in point: Top 2014, an annual workshop on top quark physics, recently convened in Cannes, France, to address the latest questions and scientific results surrounding the heavyweight particle discovered in 1995 (early top quark event pictured above).

    Top and Higgs: a dynamic duo?

    A major question addressed at the workshop, held from September 29 to October 3, was whether top quarks have a special connection with Higgs bosons. The two particles, weighing in at about 173 and 125 billion electronvolts, respectively, dwarf other fundamental particles (the bottom quark, for example, has a mass of about 4 billion electronvolts and a whole proton sits at just below 1 billion electronvolts).

    Prevailing theory dictates that particles gain mass through interactions with the Higgs field, so why do top quarks interact so much more with the Higgs than do any other known particles?

    Direct measurements of top-Higgs interactions depend on recording collisions that produce the two side-by-side. This hasn’t happened yet at high enough rates to be seen; these events theoretically require higher energies than the Tevatron or even the LHC’s initial run could supply. But scientists are hopeful for results from the next run at the LHC.

    “We are already seeing a few tantalizing hints,” says Martijn Mulders, staff scientist at CERN. “After a year of data-taking at the higher energy, we expect to see a clear signal.” No one knows for sure until it happens, though, so Mulders and the rest of the top quark community are waiting anxiously.

    A sensitive probe to new physics

    Top and anti-top quark production at colliders, measured very precisely, started to reveal some deviations from expected values. But in the last year, theorists have responded by calculating an unprecedented layer of mathematical corrections, which refined the expectation and promise to realigned the slightly rogue numbers.

    Precision is an important, ongoing effort. If researchers aren’t able to reconcile such deviations, the logical conclusion is that the difference represents something they don’t know about—new particles, new interactions, new physics beyond the standard model.

    sm
    The Standard Model of elementary particles, with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    The challenge of extremely precise measurements can also drive the formation of new research alliances. Earlier this year, the first Fermilab-CERN joint announcement of collaborative results set a world standard for the mass of the top quark.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC at CERN

    Such accuracy hones methods applied to other questions in physics, too, the same way that research on W bosons, discovered in 1983, led to the methods Mulders began using to measure the top quark mass in 2005. In fact, top quark production is now so well controlled that it has become a tool itself to study detectors.
    Forward-backward synergy

    With the upcoming restart in 2015, the LHC will produce millions of top quarks, giving researchers troves of data to further physics. But scientists will still need to factor in the background noise and data-skewing inherent in the instruments themselves, called systematic uncertainty.

    “The CDF and DZero experiments at the Tevatron are mature,” says Andreas Jung, senior postdoc at Fermilab. “It’s shut down, so the understanding of the detectors is very good, and thus the control of systematic uncertainties is also very good.”

    FNALTevatron
    Tevatron at Fermilab

    FNAL CDF
    CDF experiment at the Tevatron

    FNAL DZero
    DZero at the Tevatron

    Jung has been combing through the old data with his colleagues and publishing new results, even though the Tevatron hasn’t collided particles since 2011. The two labs combined their respective strengths to produce their joint results, but scientists still have much to learn about the top quark, and a new arsenal of tools to accomplish it.

    “DZero published a paper in Nature in 2004 about the measurement of the top quark mass that was based on 22 events,” Mulders says. “And now we are working with millions of events. It’s incredible to see how things have evolved over the years.”

    See the full article here.

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


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  • richardmitnick 7:38 pm on October 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Particle Physics,   

    From New Scientist vis FNAL: “Two new strange and charming particles appear at LHC” 

    NewScientist

    New Scientist

    08 October 2014
    Nicola Jenner

    Two new particles have been discovered by the LHCb experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland. One of them has a combination of properties that has never been observed before.

    CERN LHCb New
    LHCb

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC at CERN

    The particles, named DS3*(2860)– and DS1*(2860)–, are about three times as massive as protons.

    Physicists analyzed LHCb observations of an energy peak that had been spotted in 2006 by the BaBar experiment at Stanford University in California, but whose cause was still unknown.

    “Our result shows that the BaBar peak is caused by two new particles,” says Tim Gershon of Warwick University, UK, lead author of the discovery.
    The force is strong

    Mesons are particles that contain two quarks – subatomic particles that make up matter and are thought to be indivisible. These quarks are bound together by the strong force, one of the four fundamental forces that also keeps the constituents of nuclei together within atoms. This force is one of the less well-understood parts of the standard model of particle physics, the incomplete theory that describes how particles interact.

    sm
    The Standard Model of elementary particles, with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    Quarks come in six different flavours known as up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top, in order from lightest to heaviest. The new particles each contain one charm antiquark and one strange quark.

    Significantly, DS3*(2860)– also has a spin value of 3, making this discovery the first ever observation of a spin-3 particle containing a charm quark.

    In other mesons, the quarks can be configured in one of several different ways to give the particle an overall spin value less than three, and this makes the quarks’ exact properties ambiguous. However, for a spin value of three there is no such ambiguity, making DS3*(2860)–’s precise configuration clear.

    Combined with the particle’s charm quark, this may make DS3*(2860)– a key player for exploring the strong force, because the calculations involved are more straightforward for heavy quarks than for lighter ones.

    The LHCb team used a technique known as Dalitz plot analysis to untangle the data peak into its two components, a complex technique that had never before been used on LHC data.

    The technique helps separate and visualise the different paths a particle can take as it decays. Now that it has been used successfully on the LHCb dataset, says Gershon, it can hopefully be applied to more LHC data to help discover further particles and understand how they are bound together.

    “This is a lovely piece of experimental physics,” says Robert Jaffe of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Although it doesn’t probe the limits of the standard model, it may shine light on the dynamics of quarks and gluons. The fact that LHCb was able to use Dalitz plot methods is a testimony to the quantity and high quality of the data they’ve accumulated. We can look forward to other similar discoveries in the future using this method.”

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on October 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Particle Physics, University of Warwick   

    From Warwick: “Discovery of new subatomic particle sheds light on fundamental force of nature “ 

    University of Warwick

    University of Warwick

    9 October 2014
    No Writer Credit

    The discovery of a new particle will “transform our understanding” of the fundamental force of nature that binds the nuclei of atoms, researchers argue.

    Led by scientists from the University of Warwick, the discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom’s nucleus.

    what
    Credit: Science and Technology Facilities Council

    Named Ds3*(2860)ˉ, the particle, a new type of meson,[1] was discovered by analysing data collected with the LHCb detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC)[2]. The LHCb experiment, which is run by a large international collaboration, is designed to study the properties of particles containing beauty and charm quarks and has unique capability for this kind of discovery.

    CERN LHCb New
    LHCb

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    CERN LHC

    The new particle is bound together in a similar way to protons. Due to this similarity, the Warwick researchers argue that scientists will now be able to study the particle to further understand strong interactions.

    Along with gravity, the electromagnetic interaction and weak nuclear force, strong-interactions are one of four fundamental forces. Lead scientist Professor Tim Gershon, from The University of Warwick’s Department of Physics, explains:

    “Gravity describes the universe on a large scale from galaxies to [Isaac] Newton’s falling apple, whilst the electromagnetic interaction is responsible for binding molecules together and also for holding electrons in orbit around an atom’s nucleus.

    “The strong interaction is the force that binds quarks, the subatomic particles that form protons within atoms, together. It is so strong that the binding energy of the proton gives a much larger contribution to the mass, through [Albert] Einstein’s equation E = mc2, than the quarks themselves.[3]”

    Due in part to the forces’ relative simplicity, scientists have previously been able to solve the equations behind gravity and electromagnetic interactions, but the strength of the strong interaction makes it impossible to solve the equations in the same way.

    “Calculations of strong interactions are done with a computationally intensive technique called Lattice QCD,” says Professor Gershon. “In order to validate these calculations it is essential to be able to compare predictions to experiments. The new particle is ideal for this purpose because it is the first known that both contains a charm quark and has spin 3.”

    There are six quarks known to physicists; Up, Down, Strange, Charm, Beauty and Top. Protons and neutrons are composed of up and down quarks, but particles produced in accelerators such as the LHC can contain the unstable heavier quarks. In addition, some of these particles have higher spin values than the naturally occurring stable particles.

    “Because the Ds3*(2860)ˉ particle contains a heavy charm quark it is easier for theorists to calculate its properties. And because it has spin 3, there can be no ambiguity about what the particle is,” adds Professor Gershon. “Therefore it provides a benchmark for future theoretical calculations. Improvements in these calculations will transform our understanding of how nuclei are bound together.”

    Spin is one of the labels used by physicists to distinguish between particles. It is a concept that arises in quantum mechanics that can be thought of as being similar to angular momentum: in this sense higher spin corresponds to the quarks orbiting each other faster than those with a lower spin.

    Warwick Ph.D. student Daniel Craik, who worked on the study, adds “Perhaps the most exciting part of this new result is that it could be the first of many similar discoveries with LHC data. Whether we can use the same technique, as employed with our research into Ds3*(2860)ˉ, to also improve our understanding of the weak interaction is a key question raised by this discovery. If so, this could help to answer one of the biggest mysteries in physics: why there is more matter than antimatter in the Universe.”

    The results are detailed in two papers that will be published in the next editions of the journals Physical Review Letters and Physical Review D. Both papers have been given the accolade of being selected as Editors’ Suggestions.

    [1] The Ds3*(2860)ˉ particle is a meson that contains a charm anti-quark and a strange quark. The subscript 3 denotes that it has spin 3, while the number 2860 in parentheses is the mass of the particle in the units of MeV/c2 that are favoured by particle physicists. The value of 2860 MeV/c2 corresponds to approximately 3 times the mass of the proton.

    [2] The particle was discovered in the decay chain Bs0→D0K–π+ , where the Bs0, D0, K– and π+ mesons contain respectively a bottom anti-quark and a strange quark, a charm anti-quark and an up quark, an up anti-quark and a strange quark, and a down anti-quark and an up quark. The Ds3*(2860)ˉ particle is observed as a peak in the mass of combinations of the D0 and K– mesons. The distributions of the angles between the D0, K– and π+ particles allow the spin of the Ds3*(2860)ˉ meson to be unambiguously determined.

    [3] Quarks are bound by the strong interaction into one of two types of particles: baryons, such as the proton, are composed of three quarks; mesons are composed of one quark and one anti-quark, where an anti-quark is the antimatter version of a quark.

    See the full article here.

    Warwick Campus

    The establishment of the University of Warwick was given approval by the government in 1961 and received its Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1965.

    The idea for a university in Coventry was mooted shortly after the conclusion of the Second World War but it was a bold and imaginative partnership of the City and the County which brought the University into being on a 400-acre site jointly granted by the two authorities. Since then, the University has incorporated the former Coventry College of Education in 1978 and has extended its land holdings by the purchase of adjoining farm land.

    The University initially admitted a small intake of graduate students in 1964 and took its first 450 undergraduates in October 1965. In October 2013, the student population was over 23,000 of which 9,775 are postgraduates. Around a third of the student body comes from overseas and over 120 countries are represented on the campus.

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