From Richard Ruiz at Quantum Diaries: “Using Physics to Find More Physics”

Richard Ruiz

A maxim in particle physics says to use physics to find more physics!

I forget from where or whom I first heard this saying but the idea goes something like this: When a new particle is discovered, in principle, our knowledge of the particle only consists of what we have directly measured and what the theory that lead us to its discovery tells us. The theory, of course, is most likely incorrect but that is the point. As far as we know, any newly discovered particle might have some hereto unknown quantum number. But if this is the case, then by scrutinizing a new particle we might get lucky, very luck and discover something completely unexpected. One perfect example comes from neutrino physics. After finally discovering them, physicists learned eventually how to make beams of neutrinos only to find out (1) that there are several types of neutrinos and (2) they have mass. Another example involves the W boson and brief history of modern particle colliders.

The purpose of particle colliders like the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), the Large Electron-Positron collider (LEP), the Tevatron, or the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is to test physical theories in order to ultimately figure out what works and doesn’t work.

This is how research in high energy physics progresses: discover something new, turning it around, and throwing it back at itself. You can be certain that there is already research into scattering Higgs bosons and how this next iteration of collisions could be excellent tests of theories like technicolor, extra dimensions, or the existence of additional vector bosons. Until next time! Happy Colliding.”

This post barely scratches at all of the information in Dr. Ruiz’ article. See the full article here.

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Brookhaven Lab


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