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  • richardmitnick 6:08 pm on January 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN CMS, , , , Unparticles   

    From FNAL: “Particles and unparticles” 

    FNAL II photo

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

    January 27, 2016

    FNAL Don Lincoln
    Don Lincoln

    The LHC accelerator is in the business of discovering new things, from particles that are expected (like the Higgs boson) to particles that are sort of expected (like the panoply of particles predicted by supersymmetric models) to particles from something entirely unexpected (like the what-the-heck-is-that moment that changes our theories forever).

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

    Supersymmetry standard model
    Standard Model of Supersymmetry

    The commonality of all of these potential discoveries is that they include particles. All particles have a fixed mass. So all electrons in the universe have the same mass, as do all muons, pions, protons or any other subatomic particle you can name.

    (This is true no matter how fast the particles are moving, and it’s worth emphasizing this point, as it may not jibe with some readers’ understanding of what happens when a particle’s velocity approaches light speed [in a vacuum]. You may have heard that the mass of a particle changes as velocity increases. We teach this to people first encountering relativity, but the statement is an illustrative one. What actually changes is the particle’s inertia, which is equivalent to mass at low velocities. You can read more about this in a previous column. So, for a particle, no matter what energy and momentum it has, it must also have a single and specific mass.)

    However, in 2007 scientist Howard Georgi had an idea: Suppose there was a kind of particle that had a mass that wasn’t constant. If you doubled the particle’s energy and momentum, you would double its mass. If you halved the energy, you’d halve the mass. Such a particle wouldn’t have a well-defined mass at all. This kind of particle is called an unparticle.

    Unparticles are governed by fractal mathematics and are highly speculative. In fact, there is no hint in the data that they must exist, nor is there a compelling theoretical reason why they should. On the other hand, they are possible, and given that we don’t know what theory will supplant the Standard Model, we should be open to all sorts of improbable ideas. We do know that unparticles, if they exist, must interact via known forces only weakly.

    Standard model with Higgs New
    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in a fifth row.

    So, of course, CMS went looking for them.

    CERN CMS Detector
    CMS

    In a recent analysis that looked for both unparticles and dark matter, scientists studied events in which a Z boson was created, as well as undetected energy that would be the signal of either a dark matter particle or unparticle escaping.

    Sadly, no evidence was observed for either phenomenon. Truthfully, it would have been shocking if unparticles had been observed, but the fact that LHC experiments are looking for even such bizarre possibilities highlights that the scientific community is exploring all viable ideas, hoping to find something that gives us a huge advance in our understanding of the nature of reality.

    See the full article here .

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    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:29 pm on December 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “ATLAS and CMS present their 2015 LHC results” 

    Cern New Bloc

    Cern New Particle Event

    CERN New Masthead

    CERN

    16 Dec 2015
    Corinne Pralavorio

    1
    A 13 TeV collision recorded by ATLAS. The yellow and green bars indicate the presence of particle jets, which leave behind lots of energy in the calorimeters. (Image: ATLAS)

    2
    A 13 TeV proton collision recorded by CMS. The two green lines show two photons generated by the collision. (Image: CMS)

    Particles circulated in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on Sunday for the last time in 2015, and, two days later, the two large general-purpose experiments, ATLAS and CMS, took centre stage to present their results from LHC Run 2. These results were based on the analysis of proton collisions at the previously unattained energy of 13 TeV, compared with the maximum of 8 TeV attained during LHC Run 1 from 2010 to 2012.

    The amount of data on which the two experiments’ analyses are based is still limited – around eight times less than that collected during Run 1 – and physicists need large volumes of data to be able to detect new phenomena. Nonetheless, the experimentalists have already succeeded in producing numerous results. Each of the two experiments has presented around 30 analyses, about half of which relate to Beyond-Standard-Model research. The Standard Model is the theory that describes elementary particles and their interactions, but it leaves many questions unanswered. Physicists are therefore searching for signs of Beyond-Standard-Model physics that might help them to answer some of those questions.

    The new ATLAS and CMS results do not show any significant excesses that could indicate the presence of particles predicted by alternative models such as supersymmetry. The two experiments have therefore established new limits for the masses of these hypothetical new particles. Advances in particle physics often come from pushing back these limits. For example, CMS and ATLAS have established new restrictions for the mass of the gluino, a particle predicted by the theory of supersymmetry. This is just one of the many results that were presented on 15 December.

    The two experiments have also observed a slight excess in the diphoton decay channel. Physicists calculate the mass of hypothetical particles that decay to form a pair of photons, and look at how often different masses are seen. If the distribution does not exactly match that expected from known processes, or in other words a bump appears at a specific mass not corresponding to any known particle, it may indicate a new particle being produced and decaying. However, the excess is too small at this stage to draw such a conclusion. We will have to wait for more data in 2016 to find out whether this slight excess is an inconsequential statistical fluctuation or, alternatively, a sign of the existence of a new phenomenon. Find out next time: season 2 is only just beginning.

    The presentations by ATLAS and CMS are available here.

    See the full article here.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier

    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New

    LHC

    CERN LHC New
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

     
  • richardmitnick 8:11 pm on December 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From Pauline Gagnon at Quantum Diaries: “If, and really only if…” 

    12.16.15

    Pauline Gagnon
    Pauline Gagnon

    On December 15, at the End-of-the-Year seminar, the CMS and ATLAS experiments from CERN presented their first results using the brand new data accumulated in 2015 since the restart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at 13 TeV, the highest operating energy so far.

    CERN CMS Detector
    CMS

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC

    Although the data sample is still only one tenth of what was available at lower energy (namely 4 fb-1 for ATLAS and 2.8-1 fb for CMS collected at 13 TeV compared to 25 fb-1 at 8 TeV for each experiment), it has put hypothetical massive particles within reach. If the LHC were a ladder and particles, boxes hidden on shelves, operating the LHC at higher energy is like having a longer ladder giving us access to higher shelves, a place never checked before. ATLAS and CMS just had their first glimpse at it.

    Both experiments showed how well their detectors performed after several major improvements, including collecting data at twice the rate used in 2012. The two groups made several checks on how known particles behave at higher energy, finding no anomalies. But it is in searches for new, heavier particles that every one hopes to see something exciting. Both groups explored dozens of different possibilities, sifting through billions of events.

    Each event is a snapshot of what happens when two protons collide in the LHC. The energy released by the collision materializes into some heavy and unstable particle that breaks apart mere instants later, giving rise to a mini firework. By catching, identifying and regrouping all particles that fly apart from the collision point, one can reconstruct the original particles that were produced.

    Both CMS and ATLAS found small excesses when selecting events containing two photons. In several events, the two photons seem to come from the decay of a particle having a mass around 750 GeV, that is, 750 times heavier than a proton or 6 times the mass of a Higgs boson.

    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event
    Higgs event at ATLAS

    Since the two experiments looked at dozens of different combinations, checking dozens of mass values for each combination, such small statistical fluctuations are always expected.

    2
    Top part: the combined mass given in units of GeV for all pairs of photons found in the 13 TeV data by ATLAS. The red curve shows what is expected from random sources (i.e. the background). The black dots correspond to data and the lines, the experimental errors. The small bump at 750 GeV is what is now intriguing. The bottom plot shows the difference between black dots (data) and red curve (background), clearly showing a small excess of 3.6σ or 3.6 times the experimental error. When one takes into account all possible fluctuations at all mass values, the significance is only 2.0σ

    What’s intriguing here is that both groups found the same thing at exactly the same place, without having consulted each other and using selection techniques designed not to bias the data. Nevertheless, both experimental groups are extremely cautious, stating that a statistical fluctuation is always possible until more data is available to check this with increased accuracy.

    3
    CMS has slightly less data than ATLAS at 13 TeV and hence, sees a much smaller effect. In their 13 TeV data alone, the excess at 760 GeV is about 2.6σ, 3σ when combined with the 8 TeV data. But instead of just evaluating this probability alone, experimentalists prefer take into account the fluctuations in all mass bins considered. Then the significance is only 1.2σ, nothing to write home about. This “look-elsewhere effect” takes into account that one is bound to see a fluctuation somewhere when ones look in so many places.

    Theorists show less restrain. For decades, they have known that the Standard Model, the current theoretical model of particle physics, is flawed and have been looking for a clue from experimental data to go further.

    4
    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    Many of them have been hard at work all night and eight new papers appeared this morning, proposing different explanations on which new particle could be there, if something ever proves to be there. Some think it could be a particle related to Dark Matter, others think it could be another type of Higgs boson predicted by Supersymmetry or even signs of extra dimensions. Others offer that it could only come from a second and heavier particle. All suggest something beyond the Standard Model.

    Two things are sure: the number of theoretical papers in the coming weeks will explode. But establishing the discovery of a new particle will require more data. With some luck, we could know more by next Summer after the LHC delivers more data. Until then, it remains pure speculation.

    This being said, let’s not forget that the Higgs boson made its entry in a similar fashion. The first signs of its existence appeared in July 2011. With more data, they became clearer in December 2011 at a similar End-of-the-Year seminar. But it was only once enough data had been collected and analysed in July 2012 that its discovery made no doubt. Opening one’s gifts before Christmas is never a good idea.

    See the full article here .

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    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog

    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
  • richardmitnick 2:30 pm on September 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN CMS, , , Leptoquarks, ,   

    From FNAL- “Frontier Science Result: CMS Subatomic gryphons” 

    FNAL II photo

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

    Sept. 25, 2015
    FNAL Don Lincoln
    This article is written by Don Lincoln

    1
    The gryphon is a mythical beast with the head of an eagle and the hindquarters of a lion. Physicists look for a proposed particle hybrid of a quark and a lepton. This theoretical particle is called a leptoquark.

    Mythology is replete with creatures that are exotic blends of more familiar animals, for example gryphons, mermaids and centaurs. Finding ordinary animals is commonplace, but discovering one of these blended ones would be a true triumph of science.

    There are similarities in particle physics. For instance, the Standard Model contains the very familiar quarks and leptons.

    2
    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    These two classes of particles have very different properties. Quarks feel all of the known subatomic forces and are found in the center of atoms. Leptons feel only two of the three known subatomic forces (they do not react via the strong nuclear force), and the most familiar lepton, the electron, orbits far from the atomic nucleus. Further, a single quark cannot convert into a single lepton, and vice versa. These really are quite different beasties.

    However, the goal of particle physics is unification. We hope one day to generate a single, overlapping theory that contains but one type of particle and one type of force. We are very far from that goal and will need to somehow account for the existence of the very different quarks and leptons.

    One possibility is that a quark and lepton can fuse to make a hybrid particle called a leptoquark. Leptoquarks would contain all the properties of quarks and leptons and would be a step on the path to building a unified theory.

    Leptoquarks are speculative particles, and they pop up in many proposed theories. And, like any good researchers, CMS scientists studied their data to see if they could find evidence that supported the particle’s existence.

    CERN CMS ICON
    CMS in the LHC at CERN

    After considerable effort, the CMS experiment submitted for publication not one, but two papers reporting on a leptoquark search. One paper looked for leptoquarks produced individually, while the other looked for leptoquarks produced in pairs.

    No evidence was observed for the existence of leptoquarks, which means either that the idea is wrong or that the measurement didn’t have enough energy to make them. These two papers were reported using LHC data recorded in 2012 at an energy of 8 trillion electronvolts. CMS is recording data now at a much higher energy, and researchers are refining their analyses to dig into this new possible treasure trove. The hunt for leptoquarks isn’t over yet.

    See the full article here .

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    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:35 am on August 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From FNAL: LHC Run II: first analysis 

    FNAL II photo

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

    Aug. 21, 2015
    FNAL Don Lincoln
    Don Lincoln

    CERN CMS Detector
    CMS Detector

    It was Lao-Tzu who said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While this proverb from the Tao Te Ching is universally true, it has an especially apropos meaning for scientists working at the LHC.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN
    LHC at CERN

    Our journey isn’t always a physical one, but rather travels into intellectual realms never before investigated. We look to understand the behavior of matter at the highest energies ever achieved and to explore the conditions of the universe a tenth of a trillionth of a second after it began.

    Our one-step-at-a-time approach served us well using the data recorded from 2010–12 (what scientists called LHC Run I), in which the Higgs boson was discovered, vast swaths of ideas for new theories were ruled out and the most energetic collisions ever achieved were characterized.

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    Proposed Higgs event at CMS

    This was an enormous success, leading to about 1,000 separate publications from the four big LHC experiments. During this period, scientists thoroughly explored the behavior of matter at collision energies of 7 and then 8 trillion electronvolts.

    After two years downtime, the LHC resumed operations in 2015 (which we are calling Run II) and is now delivering beams of protons that collide at even higher energies, specifically 13 trillion electronvolts. There is no way to know what we will discover, as this is truly intellectual terra incognito.

    As it happens, not all collisions occur with equal probability. Glancing collisions can occur a billion times more often than, for example, ones in which Higgs bosons are made. This allows scientists to quickly study certain data while waiting for enough data to accumulate for the rarer collisions. In addition, in the rarer collisions, two of the protons’ constituents collide energetically, but the remainder experience only glancing interactions. Thus understanding the physics of glancing collisions is important even for events in which the discovery potential is much higher.

    On July 21, CMS submitted for publication the first physics paper using the Run II data. The analysis studied the most common collisions to characterize both the number and direction of charged particles created in the collisions. Even in these gentlest of collisions, more than 20 charged particles are created on average. Further, it is always possible when exploring a new energy regime that surprises might arise, so the researchers compared their measurement to those taken at lower collision energies and observed no real surprises.

    The real message is the LHC publication juggernaut has pounced on Run II data with a vengeance. This paper is the first, but it won’t be the last.

    See the full article here.

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    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:01 pm on August 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN CMS, , , Richard Dawkins Foundation   

    From Don Lincoln via Richard Dawkins Foundation: “Physicists find surprising ‘liquid-like’ particle interactions in Large Hadron Collider” 

    Richard Dawkins Foundation

    Richard Dawkins Foundation

    FNAL Don Lincoln
    Don Lincoln

    2
    Rice undergraduate student Benjamin Tran, graduate student Michael Northup, postdoctoral student Maxime Guilbaud and graduate students Zhenyu Chen and Zhoudunming Tu were part of the Rice team of physicists on the Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid experiment that co-authored a paper describing the unexpected particle interactions from proton and lead-nuclei collisions. Credit: Zhoudunming Tu

    Three years ago, Rice physicists and their colleagues on the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC’s) Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment stumbled on an unexpected phenomenon.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    CERN CMS Detector
    LHC with CMS (bottom)

    Physicists smashed protons into lead nuclei at nearly the speed of light, which caused hundreds of particles to erupt from these collisions. But that wasn’t the surprise. What was surprising is where these particles went: Rather than spreading out evenly in all directions, the particles coming out of the collisions preferentially lined up in a specific direction.

    Now, the Rice team has co-authored a paper that describes the unexpected particle interactions from these proton and lead-nuclei collisions.

    Particle detectors are shaped a little like a soup can. In these kinds of collisions, there is a tendency for particles to amass in a line along the axis of the can known as a “ridge.” Up until now, physicists understood a lot about what happens when a pair of protons or a pair of lead nuclei collide, but not a lot about what happens when a proton hits a lead nucleus: Would the hot nuclear matter coming out of the collision act like protons colliding, in which the post-collision particles coast along without feeling the effect of their neighbors? Or would the particles coming out of proton and lead collisions act in a more collective, liquid-like way as in lead-nuclei collisions?

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 10:26 am on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From Rice: “Rice physicists find surprising ‘liquid-like’ particle interactions in Large Hadron Collider” 

    Rice U bloc

    Rice University

    July 22, 2015

    2
    Don Lincoln

    Three years ago, Rice physicists and their colleagues on the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC’s) Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment stumbled on an unexpected phenomenon.

    CERN CMS Detector
    CMS

    Physicists smashed protons into lead nuclei at nearly the speed of light, which caused hundreds of particles to erupt from these collisions. But that wasn’t the surprise. What was surprising is where these particles went: Rather than spreading out evenly in all directions, the particles coming out of the collisions preferentially lined up in a specific direction.

    Now, the Rice team has co-authored a paper that describes the unexpected particle interactions from these proton and lead-nuclei collisions.

    1
    Rice undergraduate student Benjamin Tran, graduate student Michael Northup, postdoctoral student Maxime Guilbaud and graduate students Zhenyu Chen and Zhoudunming Tu were part of the Rice team of physicists on the Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid experiment that co-authored a paper describing the unexpected particle interactions from proton and lead-nuclei collisions. (Photo by Zhoudunming Tu)

    Particle detectors are shaped a little like a soup can. In these kinds of collisions, there is a tendency for particles to amass in a line along the axis of the can known as a “ridge.” Up until now, physicists understood a lot about what happens when a pair of protons or a pair of lead nuclei collide, but not a lot about what happens when a proton hits a lead nucleus: Would the hot nuclear matter coming out of the collision act like protons colliding, in which the post-collision particles coast along without feeling the effect of their neighbors? Or would the particles coming out of proton and lead collisions act in a more collective, liquid-like way as in lead-nuclei collisions?

    In the recent Physical Review Letters paper, Rice physicists and co-authors returned to this mystery with more data than ever before. Physics Professor Wei Li, who discovered the phenomenon, led the team of scientists who analyzed the new data. They found that the data strongly supported that the matter coming out of these proton and lead collisions acts more like a liquid. This result was surprising because when the proton hits the lead nucleus, it punches a hole through much of the nucleus, like shooting a rifle at a watermelon (as opposed to colliding two lead nuclei, which is like slamming two watermelons together). Wei and his collaborators studied this surprising behavior by looking at six or eight particles simultaneously and how their directions correlated. This method is far more sensitive for identifying liquid-like behavior than the older method, which looked at particles two at a time. Li’s group also developed an algorithm called a trigger that records a small number of important collisions in the CMS detector among billions of candidates, allowing the researchers to efficiently investigate this interesting phenomenon.

    The data used in this analysis was recorded in March 2013 before the LHC stopped operations for refurbishments, retrofits and upgrades. This past June the LHC resumed operations with a 60 percent increase in collision energy. In December of this year, Li’s group will reconfigure the LHC accelerator to collide lead nuclei and see what sort of surprises this increase in collision energy will bring.

    This study helps scientists characterize a state of matter called a “quark-gluon plasma,” or QGP. This is similar to the familiar solid, liquid and gaseous states of matter, but much hotter. A QGP occurs when matter is heated to temperatures high enough to literally melt protons and neutrons at the center of atomic nuclei; the last time that a QGP was common in the universe was a mere millionth of a second after the Big Bang. The liquid-like nature of the QGP was a surprise to scientists, as they predicted a more gaseous-like behavior. Learning more about quark-gluon plasma will teach us something significant about the birth of the universe itself.

    See the full article here.

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    Rice U campus

    In his 1912 inaugural address, Rice University president Edgar Odell Lovett set forth an ambitious vision for a great research university in Houston, Texas; one dedicated to excellence across the range of human endeavor. With this bold beginning in mind, and with Rice’s centennial approaching, it is time to ask again what we aspire to in a dynamic and shrinking world in which education and the production of knowledge will play an even greater role. What shall our vision be for Rice as we prepare for its second century, and how ought we to advance over the next decade?

    This was the fundamental question posed in the Call to Conversation, a document released to the Rice community in summer 2005. The Call to Conversation asked us to reexamine many aspects of our enterprise, from our fundamental mission and aspirations to the manner in which we define and achieve excellence. It identified the pressures of a constantly changing and increasingly competitive landscape; it asked us to assess honestly Rice’s comparative strengths and weaknesses; and it called on us to define strategic priorities for the future, an effort that will be a focus of the next phase of this process.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:22 pm on July 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From Symmetry: “Something goes bump in the data” 

    Symmetry

    July 16, 2015
    Katie Elyce Jones and Sarah Charley

    The CMS and ATLAS experiments at the LHC see something mysterious, but it’s too soon to pop the Champagne.

    CERN CMS Detector
    CMS

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS

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

    An unexpected bump in data gathered during the first run of the Large Hadron Collider is stirring the curiosity of scientists on the two general-purpose LHC experiments, ATLAS and CMS.

    CMS first reported the bump in July 2014. But because it was small and insignificant, they dismissed it as a statistical fluke. Recently ATLAS confirmed that they also see a bump in roughly the same place, and this time it’s bigger and stronger.

    “Both ATLAS and CMS are developing new search techniques that are greatly improving our ability to search for new particles,” says Ayana Arce, an assistant professor of physics at Duke University. “We can look for new physics in ways we couldn’t before.”

    Unlike the pronounced peak that recently led to the discovery of pentaquarks, these two studies are in their nascent stages. And scientists aren’t quite sure what they’re seeing yet… or if they’re seeing anything at all.

    If this bump matures into a sharp peak during the second run of the LHC, it could indicate the existence of a new heavy particle with 2000 times the mass of a proton. The discovery of a new and unpredicted particle would revolutionize our understanding of the laws of nature. But first, scientists have to rule out false leads.

    “It’s like trying to pick up a radio station,” says theoretical physicist Bogdan Dobrescu of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory who co-authored a paper on the bump in CMS and ATLAS data. “As you tune the dial, you think you’re beginning to hear voices through the static, but you can’t understand what they’re saying, so you keep tuning until you hear a clear voice.”

    On the heels of the Higgs boson discovery in the first run of the LHC, scientists must navigate a tricky environment where people are hungry for new results while relying on data that is slow to gather and laborious to interpret.

    The data physicists are analyzing are particle decay patterns around 2 TeV, or 2000 GeV.

    “We can’t see short-lived particles directly, but we can reconstruct their mass based on what they transform into during their decay,” says Jim Olsen, a professor of physics at Princeton University. “For instance, we found the Higgs boson because we saw more pairs of W bosons, Z bosons and photons at 125 GeV than our background models predicted.”

    Considering that the heaviest particle of the Standard Model, the top quark, has a mass of 173 GeV, if this bump is real and not a fluctuation, it indicates a significantly heavier particle than those covered in the Standard Model.

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    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    While the theories being batted around at this early stage disagree on the particulars, most agree that, so far, this data bump best fits the properties of an extended Standard Model gauge boson.

    The gauge bosons are the force-carrying particles that enable matter particles to interact with each other. The heaviest bosons are the W and Z bosons, which carry the weak force. An extended Standard Model predicts comparable particles at higher energies, heavier versions known as W prime and Z prime (or W’ and Z’). Several theorists suggest the bump at 2 TeV could be a type of W prime.

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    ATLAS data shows an increased number of W and Z boson pairs at 2 TeV. Courtesy of: ATLAS collaboration

    But LHC physicists aren’t practicing their Swedish for the Nobel ceremony yet. Unexpected bumps are common and almost always fizzle out with more data. For instance, in 2003 an international collaboration working on the Belle experiment at the KEK accelerator laboratory in Japan saw an apparent contradiction to the Standard Model’s predictions in the decay patterns of particles containing bottom quarks.

    “It was really striking,” says Olsen. “The probability that the signal was due to sheer statistical fluctuation was only about one in 10,000.”

    Seven years later, after inundating their analysis with heaps of fresh data, the original contradiction from the Belle experiment withered and died, and from its ashes arose a stronger result that perfectly matched the predictions of the Standard Model.

    But scientists also haven’t written off this new bump as a statistical fluctuation. In fact, the closer they look, the more exciting it becomes.

    With most anomalies in the data, one experiment will see it while the other one won’t—a clear indication of a statistical fluctuation. But in this case, both CMS and ATLAS independently reported the same observation. And not only do both experiments see it, they see it at roughly the same energy across several different types of analyses.

    “This is kind of like what we saw with the Higgs,” says JoAnne Hewett, a theoretical physicist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory who co-authored a paper theorizing the bump could be a type of W prime particle. “The Higgs just started showing up as 2- to 3-sigma bumps in a few different channels in the two different experiments. But there were also false leads with the Higgs.”

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    CMS data summarizing the search for new heavy particles decaying into several decay channels. The search reveals hints of a structure near 2000 GeV (2 TeV). Courtesy of: CMS collaboration

    Scientists are seeing more Z boson and W boson pairs popping up at 2 TeV than the Standard Model predicts. But besides this curious excess of events, they haven’t identified any sort of clear pattern.

    “Theorists come up with the models that predict the patterns we should see if there is some type of new physics influencing our experimental data,” Olsen says. “So if this bump is new physics, then our models should predict what else we should see.”

    Even though this bump is far too small to signify a discovery and presents no predictable pattern, its presence across multiple different analyses from both CMS and ATLAS is intriguing and suspicious. Scientists will have to patiently wait for more data before they can flesh out what it actually is.

    “We will soon have a lot more data from the second run of the LHC, and both experiments will be able to look more closely at this anomaly,” Arce says. “But I think it would almost be too lucky if we discovered a new particle this soon into the second run of the LHC.”

    The latest results from these two studies will be presented at the European Physical Society conference in Vienna at the end of the month.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 2:53 pm on May 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN CMS, , , , ,   

    From FNAL: “Two Large Hadron Collider experiments first to observe rare subatomic process” 

    FNAL Home

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

    May 13, 2015
    MEDIA CONTACTS
    Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication, 630-840-3351, media@fnal.gov
    Sarah Charley, US LHC/CERN, +41 22 767 2118, sarah.charley@cern.ch

    SCIENCE CONTACTS
    Joel Butler, CMS experiment, Fermilab, 630-651-4619, butler@fnal.gov
    Sarah Scalese, LHCb experiment, Syracuse University, 315-443-8085, sescales@syr.edu

    1
    2
    Event displays from the CMS (above) and LHCb (below) experiments on the Large Hadron Collider show examples of collisions that produced candidates for the rare decay of the Bs particle, predicted and observed to occur only about four times out of a billion. Images: CMS/LHCb collaborations

    Two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, have combined their results and observed a previously unseen subatomic process.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC

    As published in the journal Nature this week, a joint analysis by the CMS and LHCb collaborations has established a new and extremely rare decay of the Bs particle (a heavy composite particle consisting of a bottom antiquark and a strange quark) into two muons. Theorists had predicted that this decay would only occur about four times out of a billion, and that is roughly what the two experiments observed.

    CERN CMS Detector
    CMS

    CERN LHCb New II
    LHCb

    “It’s amazing that this theoretical prediction is so accurate and even more amazing that we can actually observe it at all,” said Syracuse University Professor Sheldon Stone, a member of the LHCb collaboration. “This is a great triumph for the LHC and both experiments.”

    LHCb and CMS both study the properties of particles to search for cracks in the Standard Model, our best description so far of the behavior of all directly observable matter in the universe.

    3
    Standard Model of Particle Physics. The diagram shows the elementary particles of the Standard Model (the Higgs boson, the three generations of quarks and leptons, and the gauge bosons), including their names, masses, spins, charges, chiralities, and interactions with the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces. It also depicts the crucial role of the Higgs boson in electroweak symmetry breaking, and shows how the properties of the various particles differ in the (high-energy) symmetric phase (top) and the (low-energy) broken-symmetry phase (bottom).

    The Standard Model is known to be incomplete since it does not address issues such as the presence of dark matter or the abundance of matter over antimatter in our universe. Any deviations from this model could be evidence of new physics at play, such as new particles or forces that could provide answers to these mysteries.

    “Many theories that propose to extend the Standard Model also predict an increase in this Bs decay rate,” said Fermilab’s Joel Butler of the CMS experiment. “This new result allows us to discount or severely limit the parameters of most of these theories. Any viable theory must predict a change small enough to be accommodated by the remaining uncertainty.”

    Researchers at the LHC are particularly interested in particles containing bottom quarks because they are easy to detect, abundantly produced and have a relatively long lifespan, according to Stone.

    “We also know that Bs mesons oscillate between their matter and their antimatter counterparts, a process first discovered at Fermilab in 2006,” Stone said. “Studying the properties of B mesons will help us understand the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe.”

    That imbalance is a mystery scientists are working to unravel. The big bang that created the universe should have resulted in equal amounts of matter and antimatter, annihilating each other on contact. But matter prevails, and scientists have not yet discovered the mechanism that made that possible.

    “The LHC will soon begin a new run at higher energy and intensity,” Butler said. “The precision with which this decay is measured will improve, further limiting the viable Standard Model extensions. And of course, we always hope to see the new physics directly in the form of new particles or forces.”

    This discovery grew from analysis of data taken in 2011 and 2012 by both experiments. Scientists also saw some evidence for this same process for the Bd particle, a similar particle consisting of a bottom antiquark and a down quark. However, this process is much more rare and predicted to occur only once out of every 10 billion decays. More data will be needed to conclusively establish its decay to two muons.

    The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science provides funding for the U.S. contributions to the CMS experiment. The National Science Foundation provides funding for the U.S. contributions to the CMS and LHCb experiments. Together, the CMS and LHCb collaborations include more than 4,500 scientists from more than 250 institutions in 44 countries.

    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.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

    CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a Candidate for Accession. Serbia is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Union, JINR and UNESCO have Observer Status.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:53 pm on March 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN CMS, , ,   

    From CMS at CERN/LHC: “CMS is never idle” 

    CERN New Masthead

    2015-03-27
    André David and Dave Barney

    CERN CMS New II

    1
    Before proton collisions take place again at the LHC, the CMS detector has been looking at the result of collisions of cosmic particles high up in the atmosphere. This event display shows the track of a muon that reached the CMS detector 100 m underground and passed through the muon chambers (in red) and the silicon tracker (in yellow). Muons as this one are used to calibrate the detector in advance of proton collisions.

    CMS is eager to see the first collisions of the LHC Run2. The recent news that the LHC restart may be delayed because of a hardware issue gives us extra time to prepare for those collisions. Far from being idle waiting for collisions, CMS is busy taking advantage of other types of collision.

    CMS is never idle. Without beams, the data-taking does not stop: collisions of cosmic particles high up in the atmosphere produce showers of particles, including muons. Some of these muons have high enough energies to penetrate through the 100 m of ground over the CMS detector and traverse it, leaving behind a trail of dots in our detectors. By connecting the dots, we can learn where the different detector components are inside the huge volume (~3700m3) of CMS to better than a millimetre. This is very important because the whole detector was taken apart and put back together in preparation for Run2. With the cosmic ray muons, we can also synchronise the different detectors down to one hundred-millionth of a second, given that cosmic muons interact with many detectors as they cross the experiment. After a long shutdown, we are also coming back to operating the experiment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is always a shift crew operating and monitoring the experiment, an larger crew of experts that stand ready to intervene in case issues arise, and an even larger community that checks the quality of the data collected. So we exploit this cosmic debris to understand out detectors to the needed precision to later find again the Higgs boson and possibly new, as-yet undiscovered, particles; the more cosmic muon signals we record and analyse, the better prepared we will be to tackle proton collisions at 13 TeV.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier

    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New

    LHC

    CERN LHC New
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

     
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