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  • richardmitnick 6:39 am on May 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “In Theory: Is theoretical physics in crisis?” 

    Cern New Bloc

    Cern New Particle Event

    CERN New Masthead

    CERN

    20 May 2016
    Harriet Jarlett

    1
    “The way physics develops is often a lot less logical than the theories it leads to — you cannot plan discoveries. Especially in theoretical physics.” Gian Giudice, Head of CERN’s Theory Department (Image: Sophia Bennett/ CERN)

    Over the past decade physicists have explored new corners of our world, and in doing so have answered some of the biggest questions of the past century.

    When researchers discovered the Higgs boson in 2012, it was a huge moment of achievement.

    CERN CMS Higgs Event
    CERN CMS Higgs Event

    It showed theorists had been right to look towards the Standard Model for answers about our Universe.

    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.
    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.

    But then the particle acted just like the theorist’s said it would, it obeyed every rule they predicted. If it had acted just slightly differently it would have raised many questions about the theory, and our universe. Instead, it raised few questions and gave no new clues about to where to look next.

    In other words, the theorists had done too good a job.

    “We are struggling to find clear indications that can point us in the right direction. Some people see in this state of crisis a source of frustration. I see a source of excitement because new ideas have always thrived in moments of crisis.” – Gian Giudice, head of the Theory Department at CERN.

    Before these discoveries, physicists were standing on the edge of a metaphorical flat Earth, suspecting it was round but not knowing for sure. Finding both the Higgs boson, and evidence of gravitational waves has brought scientists closer than ever to understanding two of the great theories of our time – the Standard Model and the theory of relativity.

    Now the future of theoretical physics is at a critical point – they proved their own theories, so what is there to do now?

    So what next?

    “Taking unexplained data, trying to fit it to the ideas of the universe […] – that’s the spirit of theoretical physics” – Gian Giudice

    In an earlier article in this series [link to series is below], we spoke about how experimental physicists and theoretical physicists must work together. Their symbiotic relationship – with theorists telling experimentalists where to look, and experimentalists asking theorists for explanations of unusual findings – is necessary, if we are to keep making discoveries.

    Just four years ago, in 2012, physicists still held a genuine uncertainty about whether the lynchpin of the Standard Model, the Higgs boson existed at all. Now, there’s much less uncertainty.

    “We are still in an uncertain period, previously we were uncertain as to how the Standard Model could be completed. Now we know it is pretty much complete so we can focus on the questions beyond it, dark matter, the future of the universe, the beginning of the universe, little things like that,” says John Ellis, a theoretical physicist from Kings College, London who began working at CERN since 1973.

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    Michelangelo Mangano moved to the US to work at Princeton just as String Theory was made popular. “After the first big explosion of interest, there’s always a period of slowing down, because all the easier stuff has been done. And you’re struggling with more complex issues,” he explains. “This is something that today’s young theorists are finding as they struggle to make waves in fields like the Standard Model. Unexpected findings from the LHC could reignite their enthusiasm and help younger researchers to feel like they can have an impact.” (Image: Maximillien Brice/CERN)

    With the discovery of the Higgs, there’s been a shift in this relationship, with theoreticians not necessarily leading the way. Instead, experiments look for data to try and give more evidence to the already proposed theories, and if something new is thrown up theorists scramble to explain and make sense of it.

    “It’s like when you go mushroom hunting,” says Michelangelo Mangano, a theoretical physicist who works closely with experimental physicists. “You spend all your energy looking, and at the end of the day you may not find anything. Here it’s the same, there is a lots of wasted energy because it doesn’t lead to much, but by exploring all corners of the field occasionally you find a little gold nugget, a perfect mushroom.”

    At the end of last year, both the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN found their mushroom, an intriguing, albeit very small, bump in the data.

    This little, unexpected bump could be the door to a whole host of new physics, because it could be a new particle. After the discovery of the Higgs most of the holes in the Standard Model had been sewn up, but many physicists were optimistic about finding new anomalies.

    “What happens in the future largely depends on what the LHC finds in its second run,” Ellis explains. “So if it turns out that there’s no other new physics and we’re focusing on understanding the Higgs boson better, that’s a different possible future for physics than if LHC Run 2 finds a new particle we need to understand.”

    While the bump is too small for physicists to announce it conclusively, there’s been hundreds of papers published by theoretical physicists as they leap to say what it might be.

    “Taking unexplained data, trying to fit it to your ideas about the universe, revising your ideas once you get more data, and on and on until you have unravelled the story of the universe – that’s the spirit of theoretical physics,” expresses Giudice.

    4
    John Ellis classifies himself as a ‘scientific optimist’, who is happy to pick up whatever tools are available to him to help solve the problems that he has thought up. ‘By nature I’m an optimist so anything can happen, yes, we might not see anything beyond the Higgs boson, but lets just wait and see.’ Here he is interviewed by Harriet Jarlett (left) in his office at CERN. (Image: Sophia Bennett/CERN)

    But we’ll only know whether it’s something worthwhile with the start of the LHC this month, May 2016, when experimental physicists can start to take even more data and conclude what it is.

    Next generation of theory

    This unusual period of quiet in the world of theoretical physics means students studying physics might be more likely to go into experimental physics, where the major discoveries are seen as happening more often, and where young physicists have a chance to be the first to a discovery.

    Speaking to the Summer Students at CERN, some of whom hope to become theoretical physicists, there is the feeling that this period of uncertainty makes following theory a luxury, one that young physicists, who need to have original ideas and publish lots of papers to get ahead, can’t afford.

    5
    Camille Bonvin is working as a fellow in the Theory Department on cosmology to try and understand why the universe is accelerating. If gravity is described by Einstein’s theory of general relativity the expansion should be slowing, not accelerating, which means there’s something we don’t understand. Bonvin is trying to find out what that is. Bonvin thinks the best theories are simple, consistent and make sense, like general relativity. “Einstein is completely logical, and his theory makes sense. Sometimes you have the impression of taking a theory which already exists and adding one element, then another, then another, to try and make the data fit it better, but its not a fundamental theory, so for me its not extremely beautiful.” (Image: Sophia Bennett/CERN)

    Camille Bonvin, a young theoretical physicist at CERN hopes that the data bump is the key to new physics, because without new discoveries it’s hard to keep a younger generation interested: “If both the LHC and the upcoming cosmological surveys find no new physics, it will be difficult to motivate new theorists. If you don’t know where to go or what to look for, it’s hard to see in which direction your research should go and which ideas you should explore.”

    The future’s bright

    4
    Richard Feynman

    Richard Feynman, one of the most famous theoretical physicists once joked, “Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it.”

    And Gian Giudice agrees –while the field’s current uncertainty makes it more difficult for young people to make breakthroughs, it’s not the promise of glory that encourages people to follow the theory path, but just a simple passion in why our universe is the way it is.

    “It must be difficult for the new generations of young researchers to enter theoretical physics now when it is not clear where different directions are leading to,” he says. “But it’s much more interesting to play when you don’t know what’s going to happen, rather than when the rules of the game have already been settled.”

    6
    “It’s much more interesting to play when you don’t know what’s going to happen, rather than when the rules of the game have already been settled,” says Giudice, who took on the role of leading the department in 2016 (Image: Sophia Bennett/ CERN) (Image: Sophia Bennett/CERN)

    Giudice, who took on the role of leading the theory department in January 2016 is optimistic that the turbulence the field currently faces makes it one of the most exciting times to become a theoretical physicist.

    “It has often been said that it is difficult to make predictions; especially about the future. It couldn’t be more true today in particle physics. This is what makes the present so exciting. Looking back in the history of physics you’ll see that moments of crisis and confusion were invariably followed by great revolutionary ideas. I hope it’s about to happen again,” smiles Giudice.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 II

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    CERN LHC Map
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    Quantum Diaries

     
  • richardmitnick 8:38 pm on April 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    From Tartu: “European Organisation for Nuclear Research discusses Estonia’s potential membership” 

    U Tartu bloc

    University of Tartu

    CERN

    29.04.2016

    The delegation of the International Relations sector of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, will visit Estonia on 2 and 3 May to get information about the circle of industry, research and decision makers in Estonia and establish direct contact for possible accession talks.

    In order for Estonian enterprises to be internationally more competitive, they need to produce more high-technology products with high added value. High added value means bigger salaries, bigger investments and bigger profit.

    According to Minister of Entrepreneurship Liisa Oviir, one way to achieve this, is to increase the so called institutional export to research centres, such as the European Space Agency (ESA) or CERN, which are known for their demanding and scientific technologically innovative solution orders.

    Last year, Estonia became a member of the ESA thanks to which our enterprises have received orders to develop high-technology products and services. Similarly to the ESA, CERN membership would also significantly increase the possibilities for Estonian enterprises to provide quality high-technology products and services all around the world.

    “Establishing closer high-level contacts is one prerequisite to better understand potential incomes and costs in a longer perspective. ESA has been a very positive example so far. The next step is to see what the options are to benefit from CERN in the longer perspective,” said Oviir.

    “Estonia’s research activity in CERN has gone upwards in recent years. Long-term research in high energy physics has been improved with cooperation to UT research groups in modelling the materials required for new accelerators and contributing to the development of high speed scintillators in medical technology. Participation in CERN programmes promotes the cooperation between Estonian enterprises and researchers and increases their capacity in research and development and innovation,” explained UT Vice Rector for Research Marco Kirm.

    CERN officials will meet Minister of Entrepreneurship Liisa Oviir, employees of the Ministry of Education and Research, visit enterprises in Tallinn and Sillamäe, the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics.

    See the full article here .

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    U Tartu Campus

    UT is Estonia’s leading centre of research and training. It preserves the culture of the Estonian people and spearheads the country’s reputation in research and provision of higher education. UT belongs to the top 3% of world’s best universities.

    As Estonia’s national university, UT stresses the importance of international co-operation and partnerships with reputable research universities all over the world. The robust research potential of the university is evidenced by the fact that it is the only Baltic university that has been invited to join the Coimbra Group, a prestigious club of renowned research universities.

    UT includes nine faculties and four colleges. To support and develop the professional competence of its students and academic staff, the university has entered into bilateral co-operation agreements with 64 partner institutions in 23 countries.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “LINAC4 ready to go up in energy” 

    Cern New Bloc

    Cern New Particle Event

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    CERN

    4.6.16
    Jennifer Toes

    1
    The DTL section of the LINAC4 (Image: CERN)

    The LINAC4 linear accelerator has recently achieved beam commissioning of 50MeV and is now almost ready for the next step of increasing the beam energy even further up to 100MeV. This project is part of the LHC Injectors Upgrade (LIU) required for the needs of the High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC).

    LINAC4 aims to replace the ageing LINAC2 linear accelerator, going from the present 50 MeV proton beam injection into the Proton Synchrotron Booster (PSB), the first ring in the CERN accelerator chain, to a modern H- ion beam injection at 160 MeV, more the three times the Linac2 energy.

    “CERN is one of the few laboratories in the world that has not yet implemented H- injection” said Alessandra Lombardi, who is responsible for the beam commissioning of the LINAC4. Injecting H- at a higher energy results in a smaller emittance in the PSB.

    Following the successful commissioning of the three newly designed Drift Tube Linac (DTL) tanks in November 2015, the team began its preparations for the installation of two key accelerating sectors: the Cell Coupled Drift Tube Linac (CCDTL) and PI-Mode Structures (PIMS).

    Built in Russia by a collaboration of CERN with two Russian laboratories, VNIITF in Snezinsk and BINP in Novossibirsk, the CCDTL is the next structure to be conditioned and commissioned with beam in the LINAC4.

    “The CERN CCDTL is composed of 7 modules of 3 tanklets each and it brings the energy of the beam from 50 to 100MeV” said Lombardi.

    The main advantage of CCDTLs over standard DTLs is that their quadrupoles are external and therefore more accessible. The accessibility of these magnets makes the construction and alignment process much more straight forward.

    The PIMS was constructed as part of a CERN-Poland (NCBJ Swierk) collaboration with contributions from FZ Jülich (Germany). The PIMS was assembled and tuned at CERN will bring up the beam energy from 100MeV to its final goal of 160MeV. It is composed of 12 modules for a total length of about 25m.

    Currently, the installation and conditioning of all CCDTL tanks and of the first PIMS is being carried out before beam commissioning begins on April 11th 2016. The commissioning of the remaining PIMS tanks expected to follow in October will allow reaching the final beam energy.

    Scheduled to become operational by 2020, the LINAC4 is a crucial step towards the increase in the LHC luminosity that will allow CERN to remain at the pinnacle of high energy physics research.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 10:18 am on March 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN, Future of Particle Physics   

    From CERN: “Charting the future of CERN” Opinion 

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    CERN

    14 Mar 2016

    CERN Fabiola Gianotti
    Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General

    Over the next five years, key events shaping the future of particle physics will unfold. We will have results from the second run of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and from other particle and astroparticle physics projects around the world. These will help us to chart the future scientific road map for our field.

    The international collaboration that is forming around the US neutrino programme will crystallise, bringing a new dimension to global collaboration in particle physics. And initiatives to host major high-energy colliders in Asia should become clear. All of this will play a role in shaping the next round of the European Strategy for Particle Physics, which will in turn shape the future of our field in Europe and at CERN.

    CERN is first and foremost an accelerator laboratory. It is there that we have our greatest experience and concentration of expertise, and it is there that we have known our greatest successes. I believe that it is also there that CERN’s future lies. Whether or not new physics emerges at the LHC, and whether or not a new collider is built in Asia, CERN should aim to maintain its pre-eminence as an accelerator lab exploring fundamental physics.

    CERN’s top priority for the next five years is ensuring a successful LHC Run 2, and securing the financial and technical development and readiness of the High-Luminosity LHC project. This does not mean that CERN should compromise its scientific diversity. Quite the opposite: our diversity underpins our strength. CERN’s programme today is vibrant, with unique facilities such as the Antiproton Decelerator and ISOLDE, and experiments studying topics ranging from kaons to axions.

    CERN Antiproton Decelerator
    CERN Antiproton Decelerator

    CERN ISOLDE New
    ISOLDE

    This is vital to our intellectual life, and it is a programme that will evolve and develop as physics needs dictate. Furthermore, with the new neutrino platform, CERN is contributing to projects hosted outside of Europe, notably the exciting neutrino programme underway at Fermilab.

    If CERN is to retain its position as a focal point for accelerator-based physics in the decades to come, we must continue to play a leading role in global efforts to develop technologies to serve a range of possible physics scenarios. These include R&D on superconducting high-field magnets, high-gradient, high-efficiency accelerating structures, and novel acceleration technologies. In this context, AWAKE is a unique project using CERN’s high-energy, high-intensity proton beams to investigate the potential of proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration for the very-long-term future.

    CERN Awake schematic
    AWAKE

    In parallel, CERN is playing a leading role in international design studies for future high-energy colliders that could succeed the LHC in the medium-to-long term. Circular options, with colliding electron–positron and proton–proton beams, are covered by the Future Circular Collider (FCC) study, while the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) study offers potential technology for a linear electron–positron option reaching the multi-TeV range.

    CERN Future Circular Collider
    Future Circular Collider (FCC) study

    CERN CLIC
    CLIC

    To ensure a future programme that is compelling, and scientifically diverse, we are putting in place a study group that will investigate future opportunities other than high-energy colliders, making full use of the unique capabilities of CERN’s rich accelerator complex, while being complementary to other endeavours around the world. Along with the developments I mention above, these studies will also provide valuable input into the next update of the European Strategy, towards the end of this decade.

    Global planning in particle physics has advanced greatly over recent years, with European, US and Japanese strategies broadly aligning, and the processes that drive them becoming ever more closely linked. For particle physics to secure its long-term future, we need to continue to promote strong worldwide collaborations, develop synergies, and bring new and emerging players, for example in Asia, into the fold.

    Within that broad picture, CERN should steer a course towards a future based on accelerators. Any future accelerator facility will be an ambitious undertaking, but that should not deter us. We should not abandon our exploratory spirit just because the technical and financial challenges are intimidating. Instead, we should rise to the challenge, and develop the innovative technologies needed to make our projects technically and financially feasible.

    See the full article here.

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    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

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    CERN ATLAS New

    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
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  • richardmitnick 4:40 pm on January 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “A year of challenges and successes” 

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    CERN

    Jan 15, 2016
    No writer credit found

    Temp 1
    LHC Page 1

    2015 was a tough year for CERN’s accelerator sector. Besides assuring delivery of beam to the extensive non-LHC facilities such as the AD, ISOLDE, nTOF and the North Area, many teams also had to work hard to bring the LHC back into business after the far-reaching efforts of the long shutdown.

    At the end of 2014 and start of 2015, the LHC was cooled down sector by sector and all magnet circuits were put through a campaign of powering tests to fully re-qualify everything. The six-month-long programme of rigorous tests involved the quench-protection system, power converters, energy extraction, UPS, interlocks, electrical quality assurance and magnet-quench behaviour. The powering-test phase eventually left all magnetic circuits fully qualified for 6.5 TeV.

    Some understandable delay was incurred during this period and three things can be highlighted. First was the decision to perform in situ tests of the consolidated splices – the so called Copper Stabilizer Continuity Measurement (CSCM) campaign. These were a success and provided confirmation of the quality work done during the shutdown.

    Second, dipole-quench re-training took some time – in particular, the dipoles of sector 45 proved a little recalcitrant and reached the target 11,080 A after some 51 training quenches.

    Third, after an impressive team effort co-ordinated by the machine-protection team to conceive, prototype, test and deploy the system, a small piece of metallic debris that was causing an earth fault in a dipole in sector 34 was successfully burnt away on the afternoon of Tuesday 31 March.

    First beam 2015 went around the LHC on Easter Sunday, 5 April. Initial commissioning delivered first beam at 6.5 TeV after five days and first “stable beams” after two months of careful set up and validation.

    Ramp up

    Two scrubbing runs delivered good beam conditions for around 1500 bunches per beam, after a concerted campaign to re-condition the beam vacuum. However, the electron cloud, anticipated to be more of a problem with the nominal 25 ns bunch-spacing beam, was still significant at the end of the scrubbing campaign.

    The initial 50 ns and 25 ns intensity ramp-up phase was tough going and had to contend with a number of issues, including earth faults, unidentified falling objects (UFOs), an unidentified aperture restriction in a main dipole, and radiation affecting specific electronic components in the tunnel. Although operating the machine in these conditions was challenging, the teams succeeded in colliding beams with 460 bunches and delivered some luminosity to the experiments, albeit with poor efficiency.

    The second phase of the ramp-up following the technical stop at the start of September was dominated by the electron cloud and the heat load that it generates in the beam screens of the magnets in the cold sectors. The challenge was then for cryogenics, which had to wrestle with transients and operation close to the cooling-power limits. The ramp-up in number of bunches was consequently slow but steady, culminating in a final figure for the year of 2244 bunches per beam.

    Importantly, the electron cloud generated during physics runs at 6.5 TeV serves to slowly condition the surface of the beam screen and so reduce the heat load at a given intensity. As time passed, this effect opened up a margin for the use of more bunches. Cryogenics operations were therefore kept close to the acceptable maximum heat load, and at the same time in the most effective scrubbing regime.

    The overall machine availability is a critical factor in integrated-luminosity delivery, and remained respectable with around 32% of the scheduled time spent in stable beams during the final period of proton–proton physics from September to November. By the end of the 2015 proton run, 2244 bunches per beam were giving peak luminosities of 5.2 × 1033 cm–2s–1 in ATLAS and CMS, with both being delivered an integrated luminosity of around 4 fb–1 for the year. Levelled luminosity of 3 × 1032 cm–2s–1 in LHCb and 5 × 1030 cm–2s–1 in ALICE was provided throughout the run.

    Also of note were dedicated runs at high β* for TOTEM and ALFA. These provided important data on elastic and diffractive scattering at 6.5 TeV, and interestingly a first test of the CMS-TOTEM Precision Proton Spectrometer (CT-PPS), which aims to probe double-pomeron exchange.

    As is now traditional, the final four weeks of operations in 2015 were devoted to the heavy-ion programme. To make things more challenging, it was decided to include a five-day proton–proton reference run in this period. The proton–proton run was performed at a centre-of-mass energy of 5.02 TeV, giving the same nucleon–nucleon collision energy as that of both the following lead–lead run and the proton–lead run that took place at the start of 2013.

    Good intensities

    Both the proton reference run and ion run demanded re-set-up and validation of the machine at new energies. Despite the time pressure, both runs went well and were counted a success. Performance with ions is strongly dependent on the beam from the injectors (source, Linac3, LEIR, PS and SPS), and extensive preparation allowed the delivery of good intensities, which open the way for delivery of a levelled design luminosity of 1 × 1027 cm–2s–1 to ALICE and more than 3 × 1027 cm–2s–1 to ATLAS and CMS. For the first time in an ion–ion run, LHCb also took data following participation in the proton–lead run. Dedicated ion machine development included crystal collimation and quench-level tests, the latter providing important input to future ion operation in the HL-LHC era.

    The travails of 2015 have opened the way for a full production run in 2016. Following initial commissioning, a short scrubbing run should re-establish the electron cloud conditions of 2015, allowing operation with 2000 bunches and more. This figure can then be incrementally increased to the nominal 2700 as conditioning progresses. Following extensive machine development campaigns in 2015, the β* will be reduced to 50 cm for the 2016 run. Nominal bunch intensity and emittance will bring the design peak luminosity of 1 × 1034 cm–2s–1 within reach. Reasonable machine availability and around 150 days of 13 TeV proton–proton physics should allow the 23 fb–1 total delivered to ATLAS and CMS in 2012 to be exceeded.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

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    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
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  • richardmitnick 1:26 pm on September 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From CERN: “ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties” 

    CERN New Masthead

    01 Sep 2015
    No Writer Credit

    1
    Results of the analyses by individual experiments (coloured) and both experiments together (black), showing the improvement in precision resulting from the combination of results.

    Three years after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson, the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations present for the first time combined measurements of many of its properties, at the third annual Large Hadron Collider Physics Conference (LHCP 2015). By combining their analyses of the data collected in 2011 and 2012, ATLAS and CMS draw the sharpest picture yet of this novel boson. The new results provide in particular the best precision on its production and decay and on how it interacts with other particles. All of the measured properties are in agreement with the predictions of the Standard Model and will become the reference for new analyses in the coming months, enabling the search for new physics phenomena. This follows the best measurement of the mass of the Higgs boson, published in May 2015 (link is external) after a combined analysis by the two collaborations.

    “The Higgs boson is a fantastic new tool to test the Standard Model of particle physics and study the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles,” said CERN* Director General Rolf Heuer.

    1
    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.

    “There is much benefit in combining the results of large experiments to reach the high precision needed for the next breakthrough in our field. By doing so, we achieve what for a single experiment would have meant running for at least 2 more years.”

    There are different ways to produce a Higgs boson, and different ways for a Higgs boson to decay to other particles. For example, according to the Standard Model, the theory that describes best forces and particles, when a Higgs boson is produced, it should decay immediately in about 58% of cases into a bottom quark and a bottom antiquark. By combining their results, ATLAS and CMS determined with the best precision to date the rates of the most common decays.

    Such precision measurements of decay rates are crucially important as they are directly linked to the strength of the interaction of the Higgs particle with other elementary particles, as well as to their masses. Therefore, the study of its decays is essential in determining the nature of the discovered boson. Any deviation in the measured rates compared to those predicted by the Standard Model would bring into question the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism and possibly open the door to new physics beyond the Standard Model.

    “This is a big step forward, both for the mechanics of the combinations and in our measurement precision, ” said ATLAS Spokesperson Dave Charlton. “As an example, from the combined results the decay of the Higgs boson to tau particles is now observed with more than 5 sigma significance, which was not possible from CMS or ATLAS alone.”

    “Combining results from two large experiments was a real challenge as such analysis involves over 4200 parameters that represent systematic uncertainties,” said CMS Spokesperson Tiziano Camporesi. “With such a result and the flow of new data at the new energy level at the LHC, we are in a good position to look at the Higgs boson from every possible angle”.

    • 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. Pakistan and Turkey are Associate Members. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, the European Union, JINR and UNESCO have observer status.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

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    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
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  • richardmitnick 8:46 am on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CERN, Pakistan   

    From CERN: “Pakistan becomes Associate Member State of CERN” 

    CERN New Masthead

    31 Jul 2015
    Cian O’Luanaigh

    Today, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan became an Associate Member of CERN. This follows notification that Pakistan has ratified an agreement signed in December, granting that status to the country.

    Pakistan and CERN signed a Co-operation Agreement in 1994. The signature of several protocols followed this agreement, and Pakistan contributed to building the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Pakistan contributes today to the ALICE and CMS experiments. Pakistan is also involved in accelerator developments, making it an important partner for CERN.

    The Associate Membership of Pakistan will open a new era of cooperation that will strengthen the long-term partnership between CERN and the Pakistani scientific community. Associate Membership will allow Pakistan to participate in the governance of CERN, through attending the meetings of the CERN Council. Moreover, it will allow Pakistani scientists to become members of the CERN staff, and to participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes. Finally, it will allow Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts, thus opening up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 9:31 am on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN,   

    From CERN: “A miniature accelerator to treat cancer” 

    CERN New Masthead

    28 Jul 2015
    Matilda Heron

    1
    Serge Mathot with the first of the four modules that will make up the miniature accelerator (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

    CERN, home of the 27-kilometre Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is developing a new particle accelerator. just two metres long.

    The miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) is designed for use in hospitals for imaging and the treatment of cancer. It will consist of four modules, each 50cm long, the first of which has already been constructed. “With this first module we have validated all of the stages of construction and the concept in general”, says Serge Mathot of the CERN engineering department.

    Designing an accelerator for medical purposes presented a new technological challenge for the CERN team. “We knew the technology was within our reach after all those years we had spent developing Linac4,” says Maurizio Vretenar, coordinator of the mini-Linac project. Linac4, a larger accelerator designed to boost negative hydrogen ions to high energies, is scheduled to be connected to the CERN accelerator complex in 2020.

    The miniature accelerator is a radiofrequency quadrupole (RFQ), a component found at the start of all proton accelerator chains. RFQs are designed to produce high-intensity beams. The challenge for the mini-Linac was to double the operating frequency of the RFQ in order to shorten its length. This desired high frequency had never before been achieved. “Thanks to new beam dynamics and innovative ideas for the radiofrequency and mechanical aspects, we came up with an accelerator design that was much better adapted to the practical requirements of medical applications,” says Alessandra Lombardi, in charge of the design of the RFQ.

    The “mini-RFQ” can produce low-intensity beams, with no significant losses, of just a few microamps that are grouped at a frequency of 750 MHz. These specifications make the “mini-RFQ” a perfect injector for the new generation of high-frequency, compact linear accelerators used for the treatment of cancer with protons.

    And the potential applications go beyond hadron therapy. The accelerator’s small size and light weight mean that is can be set up in hospitals to produce radioactive isotopes for medical imaging. Producing isotopes on site solves the complicated issue of transporting radioactive materials and means that a wider range of isotopes can be produced.

    The “mini-RFQ” will also be capable of accelerating alpha particles for advanced radiotherapy. As the accelerator can be fairly easily transported, it could also be used for other purposes, such as the analysis of archaeological materials.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 9:34 am on July 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN, Sri Lanka   

    From CERN: “CERN and Sri Lanka develop partnership” 

    CERN New Masthead

    16 Jul 2015
    Corinne Pralavorio

    1
    CERN Director General Rolf Heuer and Sri Lanka‘s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, sign the Expression of Interest witnessed by Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative and Ms. Dilini Gunasekera, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission, and by CERN’s Head of International Relations Rüdiger Voss.(Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

    CERN and Sri Lanka have formed a partnership with the aim of formalizing and broadening their cooperation. To this end, CERN Director General Rolf Heuer and Sri Lanka‘s Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, signed an Expression of Interest on Thursday 25 June 2015.

    This agreement will pave the way for international cooperation with Sri Lanka in order to enhance collaboration and scholarly exchanges with CERN and to expose students, university scientists, engineers, and research institutes from Sri Lanka to cutting edge technology and research in the field of high-energy physics.

    This agreement incorporates Sri Lanka in CERN’s High School Teachers and Summer Student Programmes. It also aims at preparing a platform that will include scientists from Sri Lanka to participate in CERN’s cutting-edge research programmes. Several scientists from Sri Lankan universities have participated in LHC experiments within the frameworks of sabbatical leaves or similar, whereas others have participated as visiting scientist employed by universities in third countries. In order to allow for a broader and more sustained participation, discussions have started in order to form a “cluster” of Sri Lankan Universities and research institutes with the aim of joining one of the LHC collaborations.

    Sri Lanka is the most recent Asian Country to have strengthened its partnership with CERN. Other countries include those as diverse as Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Mongolia.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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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 2:27 pm on May 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN, , ,   

    From Symmetry: “The US and CERN upgrade their relationship” 

    Symmetry

    CERN LHC particles

    May 07, 2015
    Sarah Charley

    Today in a White House ceremony in Washington, DC, representatives from the US Department of Energy, the US National Science Foundation and the European research center CERN signed a cooperation agreement that lays the groundwork for continued joint research in particle physics and advanced computing both at CERN and in the United States.

    The agreement succeeds an existing US-CERN agreement, signed in 1997 and set to expire in 2017, that was the basis for significant US participation in research at the Large Hadron Collider.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    LHC

    The new agreement aligns the United States’ and CERN’s long-term strategies for particle physics and provides for “reciprocity,” opening the way for potential CERN participation in US-hosted experiments, including prospective projects focused on neutrinos.

    “Today’s agreement not only enables US scientists to continue their vital contribution to the important work at CERN, but it also opens the way to CERN’s participation in experiments hosted in the United States,” says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a press release. “As we’ve seen, international collaboration between the United States and CERN helps provide a foundation for groundbreaking discoveries that push crucial scientific frontiers and expand our understanding of the universe.”

    The signing of the new agreement sets the stage for a new level of cooperation. CERN already has established a test facility that is being used to refurbish the 760-ton ICARUS neutrino detector before it is shipped to DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for use in a suite of experiments to search for a new type of neutrino.

    FNAL ICARUS
    ICARUS

    At the same time, more than 1700 scientists from US institutions are working on the next phase of the LHC experiments.

    “I am delighted to sign this agreement,” says CERN Director General Rolf Heuer in the press release. “It allows us to look forward to a fruitful long-term collaboration with the United States, in particular in guiding the Large Hadron Collider to its full potential over many years through a series of planned upgrades. This agreement is also historic since it formalizes CERN’s participation in US-based programs such as prospective future neutrino facilities for the first time.”

    Europe and the United States have a rich history of collaboration in particle physics research. In 1954, American physicist Isidor Rabi served as one of the founding members of CERN. Seven years later, Austrian-American physicist Victor Weisskopf became CERN’s director general. On the other side of the Atlantic, physicist Maurice Goldhaber, who received his PhD in England, became director of DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1961, and European-born scientists, such as Carlo Rubbia, played significant roles in shaping the experimental program at Fermilab.

    Scientists from European institutions have made major contributions toward planning and advancing experiments at Fermilab, SLAC and other DOE national laboratories. In the last two decades, they accounted for up to 50 percent of the researchers working on the Tevatron and BaBar experiments in the US, which led to the discovery of the top quark and the observation of quark mixing in greater detail than ever before.

    FNALTevatron
    FNAL CDF
    FNAL DZero
    FNAL/Tevatron

    SLAC Babar
    SLAC/BaBar

    Simultaneously, US scientists played significant roles in the four experiments at CERN’s Large Electron-Positron collider. MIT physicist and Nobel Laureate Sam Ting, for example, led LEP’s L3 experiment.

    CERN LEP
    Cern/LEP

    In the 1990s, CERN invented the technology that would become the World Wide Web, revolutionizing the way in which people share information and do business. European research institutions and three US laboratories—SLAC, Fermilab and MIT—were the first ones to operate Web servers and publish webpages.

    Today, the American and European physics communities remain closely intertwined. Scientists and engineers from US institutions are heavily involved in LHC research, representing 20 percent of the ATLAS collaboration and 33 percent of the CMS collaboration.

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS

    CERN CMS New
    CMS

    US scientists hold key leadership positions within the several-thousand-physicist collaborations, and they lead many of the physics analyses that study the properties of the Higgs boson and look for hints of new physics. UCLA physicist Joe Incandela, who was the spokesperson of the CMS experiment from 2012 to 2014, presented the collaboration’s results at the press conference that announced the discovery of the Higgs boson.

    US institutions also built vital parts of the LHC accelerator, including the focusing magnets that concentrate the high-energy particles into hair-thin beams as they enter the experimental halls and some of the cryogenic systems that keep the superconducting magnets at a frigid 1.7 Kelvin. And US institutions provide approximately a third of the computing power necessary to analyze the LHC data.

    “CERN is a place for explorers, in the truest sense of the word,” says NSF Director France A. Córdova in the press release. “The discoveries enabled by this world-class laboratory—insights into the Standard Model, into the fundamental nature of our universe—have yielded answers to some questions and produced new questions.”

    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).

    Fabiola Gianotti, who will become the director general of CERN in 2016, served on the US Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel, which in May 2014 outlined the plan for US particle physics research for the next decade. The panel’s top recommendations included the United States’ continued participation in LHC research and upgrades, as well as the establishment of an international, world-class neutrino research facility at Fermilab, culminating in the construction of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

    FNAL DUNE
    DUNE

    CERN is taking steps to coordinate and support European scientists’ participation in the US-based neutrino research program.

    The new agreement between CERN and the US has an initial five-year duration and, unless a change or termination is set in motion, will renew automatically every five years. It will enable American and European scientists to continue to develop technologies, build experiments and seek answers to questions such as: What is dark matter? Why do particles have mass? Are there more Higgs particles? Are neutrinos the key to the dominance of matter over antimatter in our universe?

    “Society and the global research community benefit greatly from productive scientific cooperation across borders,” says John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in the press release. “Today’s agreement is a model for the kinds of international scientific collaboration that can enable breakthrough insights and innovations in areas of mutual interest.”

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
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