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  • richardmitnick 1:42 pm on January 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Kerstin Perez is searching the cosmos for signs of dark matter", , , Experimental physics, , , ,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) : “Kerstin Perez is searching the cosmos for signs of dark matter” 

    MIT News

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    January 2, 2022
    Jennifer Chu

    “There need to be more building blocks than the ones we know about,” says the particle physicist.

    “We measure so much about the universe, but we also know we’re completely missing huge chunks of what the universe is made of,” Kerstin Perez says. Credit: Adam Glanzman.

    Kerstin Perez is searching for imprints of dark matter. The invisible substance embodies 84 percent of the matter in the universe and is thought to be a powerful cosmic glue, keeping whole galaxies from spinning apart. And yet, the particles themselves leave barely a trace on ordinary matter, thwarting all efforts at detection thus far.

    Perez, a particle physicist at MIT, is hoping that a high-altitude balloon experiment, to be launched into the Antarctic stratosphere in late 2022, will catch indirect signs of dark matter, in the particles that it leaves behind. Such a find would significantly illuminate dark matter’s elusive nature.

    The experiment, which Perez co-leads, is the General AntiParticle Spectrometer, or GAPS, a NASA-funded mission that aims to detect products of dark matter annihilation.

    GAPS (General AntiParticle Spectrometer) is an Antarctic balloon mission that will search for low-energy (< 0.25 GeV/n) cosmic-ray antinuclei in the austral summer of 2021. https://gaps1.astro.ucla.edu/gaps/

    When two dark matter particles collide, it’s thought that the energy of this interaction can be converted into other particles, including antideuterons — particles that then ride through the galaxy as cosmic rays which can penetrate Earth’s stratosphere. If antideuterons exist, they should come from all parts of the sky, and Perez and her colleagues are hoping GAPS will be at just the right altitude and sensitivity to detect them.

    “If we can convince ourselves that’s really what we’re seeing, that could help point us in the direction of what dark matter is,” says Perez, who was awarded tenure this year in MIT’s Department of Physics.

    In addition to GAPS, Perez’ work centers on developing methods to look for dark matter and other exotic particles in supernova and other astrophysical phenomena captured by ground and space telescopes.

    “We measure so much about the universe, but we also know we’re completely missing huge chunks of what the universe is made of,” she says. “There need to be more building blocks than the ones we know about. And I’ve chosen different experimental methods to go after them.”

    Building up

    Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Perez was a self-described “indoor kid,” mostly into arts and crafts, drawing and design, and building.

    “I had two glue guns, and I remember I got into building dollhouses, not because I cared about dolls so much, but because it was a thing you could buy and build,” she recalls.

    Her plans to pursue fine arts took a turn in her junior year, when she sat in on her first physics class. Material that was challenging for her classmates came more naturally to Perez, and she signed up the next year for both physics and calculus, taught by the same teacher with infectious wonder.

    “One day he did a derivation that took up two-thirds of the board, and he stood back and said, ‘Isn’t that so beautiful? I can’t erase it.’ And he drew a frame around it and worked for the rest of the class in that tiny third of the board,” Perez recalls. “It was that kind of enthusiasm that came across to me.”

    So buoyed, she set off after high school for Columbia University (US), where she pursued a major in physics. Wanting experience in research, she volunteered in a nanotechnology lab, imaging carbon nanotubes.

    “That was my turning point,” Perez recalls. “All my background in building, creating, and wanting to design things came together in this physics context. From then on, I was sold on experimental physics research.”

    She also happened to take a modern physics course taught by MIT’s Janet Conrad, who was then a professor at Columbia. The class introduced students to particle physics and the experiments underway to detect dark matter and other exotic particles. The detector generating the most buzz was CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

    European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN].

    European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire (CH) map.

    CERN LHC tunnel and tube.

    SixTRack CERN LHC particles.

    The LHC was to be the largest particle accelerator in the world, and was expected imminently to come online.

    After graduating from Columbia, Perez flew west to The California Institute of Technology (US), where she had the opportunity to go to CERN as part of her graduate work. That experience was invaluable, as she helped to calibrate one of the LHC’s pixel detectors, which is designed to measure ordinary, well-known particles.

    “That experience taught me, when you first turn on your instrument, you have to make sure you can measure the things you know are there, really well, before you can claim you’re looking at anything new,” Perez says.

    Front of the class

    After finishing up her work at CERN, she began to turn over a new idea. While the LHC was designed to artificially smash particles together to look for dark matter, smaller projects were going after the same particles in space, their natural environment.

    “All the evidence we have of dark matter comes from astrophysical observations, so it makes sense to look out there for clues,” Perez says. “I wanted the opportunity to, from scratch, fundamentally design and build an experiment that could tell us something about dark matter.”

    With this idea, she returned to Columbia, where she joined the core team that was working to get the balloon experiment GAPS off the ground. As a postdoc, she developed a cost-effective method to fabricate the experiment’s more than 1,000 silicon detectors, and has since continued to lead the experiment’s silicon detector program. Then in 2015, she accepted a faculty position at Haverford College (US), close to her hometown.

    “I was there for one-and-a-half years, and absolutely loved it,” Perez says.

    While at Haverford, she dove into not only her physics research, but also teaching. The college offered a program for faculty to help improve their lectures, with each professor meeting weekly with an undergraduate who was trained to observe and give feedback on their teaching style. Perez was paired with a female student of color, who one day shared with her a less than welcoming experience she had experienced in an introductory course, that ultimately discouraged her from declaring a computer science major.

    Listening to the student, Perez, who has often been the only woman of color in advanced physics classes, labs, experimental teams, and faculty rosters, recognized a kinship, and a calling. From that point on, in addition to her physics work, she began to explore a new direction of research: belonging.

    She reached out to social psychologists to understand issues of diversity and inclusion, and the systemic factors contributing to underrepresentation in physics, computer science, and other STEM disciplines. She also collaborated with educational researchers to develop classroom practices to encourage belonging among students, with the motivation of retaining underrepresented students.

    In 2016, she accepted an offer to join the MIT physics faculty, and brought with her the work on inclusive teaching that she began at Haverford. At MIT, she has balanced her research in particle physics with teaching and with building a more inclusive classroom.

    “It’s easy for instructors to think, ‘I have to completely revamp my syllabus and flip my classroom, but I have so much research, and teaching is a small part of my job that frankly is not rewarded a lot of the time,’” Perez says. “But if you look at the research, it doesn’t take a lot. It’s the small things we do, as teachers who are at the front of the classroom, that have a big impact.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory(US) Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

  • richardmitnick 8:32 am on October 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Fermilab on the trail for a new building block of matter and quantum computing power", , Experimental physics, Medill Reports – Northwestern University Chicago (US), Researchers at Fermilab are also working to develop technology for quantum computers that can solve such complex problems exponentially faster than standard computers.,   

    From Medill Reports – Northwestern University Chicago (US) : “Fermilab on the trail for a new building block of matter and quantum computing power” 

    From Medill Reports – Northwestern University Chicago (US)

    September 30, 2021
    Sarah Anderson and Yuliya Klochan

    Researchers transported a gigantic electromagnetic ring from Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island to Fermilab near Chicago eight years ago in the search for a new building block of matter.

    While it wasn’t the secret spaceship bystanders thought it was, it did allow scientists to explore fundamental questions about our universe.

    The ring was needed to confirm an experimental result that had intrigued particle physicists for 20 years. The subject of the experiment was the muon, one of the 17 fundamental particles of nature.

    The muon has the same negative charge as an electron, but the mass of about 200 electrons. Muons behave like tiny spinning tops that generate their own magnetic field.

    In 2001, scientists at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (US) measured the frequency at which muons rotated in an external magnetic field. This rotation frequency is used to calculate a g factor—a scaling constant that relates the magnetic strength and rotational momentum of the muon. The g factor is important because it can indicate the presence of other particles that block the muons’ interaction with the applied magnetic force.

    The researchers observed that the experimental rotation frequency produced a g factor greater than the value predicted by the standard theoretical model of physics. The Standard Model accounts for all the known fundamental particles and forces of nature, so the Brookhaven result hinted at the existence of undiscovered particles or forces.

    “If these two numbers don’t agree with each other, it’s the space in the middle where the new physics can lie,” said Chris Polly, a senior scientist for the muon experiment at Fermilab.

    The results of the Fermilab and Brookhaven muon experiments do not match the Standard Model prediction, hinting at the existence of an undiscovered particle or force. Credit: Ryan Postel/FERMILAB.

    Fermilab combined its muon-generating particle accelerator with Brookhaven’s electromagnetic ring to repeat Brookhaven’s initial experiment on a much larger scale. They again observed that the measured rotation frequency did not align with the theoretical g factor, suggesting that the Standard Model may need to be overhauled.

    There is only a 1 in 40,000 probability that the results differed by chance, providing further evidence of new physical forces or particles in the universe.

    “Maybe there’s monsters lurking out there that we haven’t even imagined yet,” Polly said.

    As experimental physicists at Fermilab work to replicate this result, theoretical physicists across the world are using simulations to scrutinize their theoretical models. And they need powerful computers to do so.

    Although it’s not yet ready to be used for the muon experiment, researchers at Fermilab are also working to develop technology for quantum computers that can solve such complex problems exponentially faster than standard computers.

    Think of it this way. If someone gave you a list of locations and told you they had stashed a pile of cash at one of them, you would have no choice but to search one location, and then the next, and so on until you found it. Standard computers are subject to this same limitation. Just as you can only be in one place at a time, the system can only occupy one of two defined states (represented by the ones and zeroes you see in computer hacking movies) at a given moment.

    Fermilab’s Quantum Lab features an environmental apparatus for testing superconducting qubits. Credit: Reidar Hahn/FERMILAB.

    But what if you could search many locations at the same time? That’s essentially what a quantum computer does. Its system can occupy multiple superimposed quantum states simultaneously, allowing the computer to consider many possible solutions to a problem at once.

    “It actually is extraordinarily valuable in terms of being able to traverse through the entire computation space much more rapidly than a traditional computer,” said Akshay Murthy, a postdoctoral research associate at Fermilab.

    Murthy and his colleagues are researching computer technology called superconducting qubits (quantum bits) that use electromagnetic radiation to access the higher-energy quantum states. Specifically, they are working to prolong the qubits’ coherence time—the amount of time that the system can live in the quantum space and perform calculations. Right now, we’re getting poofed out of the “everywhere at once” mode before we can find the cash. In fact, the coherence times of qubits need to be 1,000 to 1 million times longer before they can be used for quantum computing.

    To extend coherence times, the team is examining the qubits under a powerful microscope and analyzing the chemical composition of their surfaces to look for any defects that might cause occupation of the quantum states to come crashing down prematurely. They are also exploring modifications that could be made to the external environment, such as shielding the qubit in a freezing cold chamber to prevent temperature fluctuations that might destabilize the system.

    “This technology is truly transformational if we’re able to deliver on its promises,” Murthy said.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Medill Reports-Northwestern University (US) features journalism by students in the graduate program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work.

  • richardmitnick 9:04 pm on February 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "BASE opens up new possibilities in the search for cold dark matter", Axion physics, Axions or axion-like particles are candidates for cold dark matter., BASE opens up possibilities for other Penning trap experiments to participate in the search for dark matter., Experimental physics, For the first time the BASE experiment at CERN has turned the tools developed to detect single antiprotons to the search for dark matter., , High-precision Penning trap physics, , New limits set on the mass of axion-like particles., Penning trap-a combination of electric and strong magnetic fields., The Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) at CERN’s Antimatter Factory, The physicists at BASE can isolate individual antiprotons and move them to a separate part of the trap.   

    From GSI Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres [Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren GmbH] (DE) and MPG Institute for Nuclear Physics [MPG Institut für Kernphysik] (DE): “BASE opens up new possibilities in the search for cold dark matter” 

    MPG Institute for Nuclear Physics [MPG Institut für Kernphysik] DE


    From GSI Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres [Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren GmbH] (DE)



    Dr. Stefan Ulmer (RIKEN/CERN)
    Phone: +41 75411-9072
    Email: stefan.ulmer@cern.ch

    Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum (MPIK)
    Phone: +49 6221 516-859
    Email: klaus.blaum@mpi-hd.mpg.de

    BASE: Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment

    CERN Top view of the BASE experiment.

    The Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) at CERN’s Antimatter Factory has set new limits on the mass of axion-like particles – hypothetical particles that are candidates for dark matter – and constrained how easily they can turn into photons, the particles of light.

    CERN ALPHA Antimatter Factory.

    This is especially significant as BASE was not designed for such studies. The experiment’s new result, published by Physical Review Letters, describes this pioneering method and opens up new experimental possibilities in the search for cold dark matter. GSI is involved in BASE, among other things, by manufacturing some components of the experimental setup.

    “BASE has extremely sensitive tuned circuit detection systems to study the properties of single trapped antiprotons. We realized that these detectors can also be used to search for signals of other particles. In this recently published work we used one of our detectors as an antenna to search for a new type of axion-like particles,” explains Jack Devlin, a CERN research fellow working on the experiment.

    Axions or axion-like particles are candidates for cold dark matter. From astrophysical observations, we believe that around 26.8 percent of the matter-energy content of the Universe is made up of dark matter and only about 5 percent of ordinary – visible – matter; the remainder is the mysterious dark energy.

    Lamda Cold Dark Matter Accerated Expansion of The universe http scinotions.com the-cosmic-inflation-suggests-the-existence-of-parallel-universes
    Alex Mittelmann, Coldcreation.

    These unknown particles feel the force of gravity, but they barely respond to the other fundamental forces, if they experience these at all. The best accepted theory of fundamental forces and particles, called the Standard Model of particle physics, does not contain any particles which have the right properties to be cold dark matter.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics (LATHAM BOYLE AND MARDUS OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS).

    However, since the Standard Model leaves many questions unanswered, physicists have proposed theories that go beyond, some of which explain the nature of dark matter. Among such theories are those that suggest the existence of axions or axion-like particles. These theories need to be tested and there are many experiments set up around the world to look for these particles. For the first time, the BASE experiment at CERN has turned the tools developed to detect single antiprotons to the search for dark matter.

    Compared to the large detectors installed in the LHC, BASE is a much smaller experiment. It is connected to CERN’s Antiproton Decelerator, which supplies the experiment with antiprotons.

    CERN Antiproton Decelerator.

    BASE captures and suspends these particles in a Penning trap, a combination of electric and strong magnetic fields. To avoid collisions with ordinary matter, the trap is operated at 5 Kelvin (~−268 °C) where exceedingly low pressures, similar to those in deep space are reached (10−18 mbar). In this extremely well-isolated environment, clouds of trapped antiprotons can exist for years at a time. By carefully adjusting the electric fields, the physicists at BASE can isolate individual antiprotons and move them to a separate part of the trap. In this region, very sensitive superconducting resonant detectors can pick up the tiny electrical currents generated by single antiprotons as they move around the trap.

    In the now published work, the BASE team looked for unexpected electrical signals in their sensitive antiproton detectors. At the heart of each detector is a small, approximately 4cm diameter, donut-shaped coil, which looks similar to the inductors you might find in many ordinary electronics. However, the BASE detectors are superconducting and have almost no electrical resistance, and all the surrounding components are carefully chosen so that they do not cause electrical losses. This makes the BASE detectors extremely sensitive to any small electrical fields. Physicists used the antiproton as a quantum sensor to precisely calibrate the background noise on their detector. They then began to search for unusual signals, however faint, that could hint at those induced by axion-like particles and their possible interactions with photons. Nothing was found at the frequencies that were recorded, which means that BASE succeeded in setting new limits for the mass of axion-like particles and in investigating their possible interactions with photons.

    With this study, BASE opens up possibilities for other Penning trap experiments to participate in the search for dark matter. Since BASE was not built to look for these signals, several changes could be made to improve the probability of finding an axion-like particle in the future. “With this new technique, we’ve combined two previously unrelated branches of experimental physics: axion physics and high-precision Penning trap physics. Our laboratory experiment is complementary to astrophysics experiments and especially very sensitive in the low axion mass range. With a purpose-built instrument we would be able to increase the bandwidth and sensitivity to broaden the landscape of axion searches using Penning trap techniques,” says Stefan Ulmer, spokesperson for the BASE experiment collaboration.

    The BASE collaboration consists of scientists from RIKEN Fundamental Symmetries Laboratory (JP), the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN)(CH), the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) (DE), the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU)(DE), the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM)(DE), the University of Tokyo (JP), the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt (DE), the Leibniz University Hannover (DE), and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) (DE). The research was performed as part of the work of the Max Planck-RIKEN-PTB Center for Time, Constants and Fundamental Symmetries, an international group established to develop high-precision measurements to better understand the physics of our Universe. (CP)

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The MPG Institut für Kernphysik (DE) (“MPG for Nuclear Physics” or MPIK for short) is a research institute in Heidelberg, Germany.

    The institute is one of the 80 institutes of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Max Planck Society), an independent, non-profit research organization. The Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics was founded in 1958 under the leadership of Wolfgang Gentner. Its precursor was the Institute for Physics at the MPI for Medical Research.

    The Max Planck Society is Germany’s most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field.

    What is the basis of this success? The scientific attractiveness of the Max Planck Society is based on its understanding of research: Max Planck Institutes are built up solely around the world’s leading researchers. They themselves define their research subjects and are given the best working conditions, as well as free reign in selecting their staff. This is the core of the Harnack principle, which dates back to Adolph von Harnack, the first president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which was established in 1911. This principle has been successfully applied for nearly one hundred years. The Max Planck Society continues the tradition of its predecessor institution with this structural principle of the person-centered research organization.

    The currently 83 Max Planck Institutes and facilities conduct basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Max Planck Institutes focus on research fields that are particularly innovative, or that are especially demanding in terms of funding or time requirements. And their research spectrum is continually evolving: new institutes are established to find answers to seminal, forward-looking scientific questions, while others are closed when, for example, their research field has been widely established at universities. This continuous renewal preserves the scope the Max Planck Society needs to react quickly to pioneering scientific developments.

    Helmholtz Zentrum München (DE) by numbers.

    The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres [[Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren GmbH] (DE) is the largest scientific organization in Germany. It is a union of 18 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centers. The official mission of the Association is “solving the grand challenges of science, society and industry”. Scientists at Helmholtz therefore focus research on complex systems which affect human life and the environment. The namesake of the association is the German physiologist and physicist Hermann von Helmholtz.
    The annual budget of the Helmholtz Association amounts to €4.56 billion, of which about 72% is raised from public funds. The remaining 28% of the budget is acquired by the 19 individual Helmholtz Centres in the form of contract funding. The public funds are provided by the federal government (90%) and the rest by the States of Germany (10%).
    The Helmholtz Association was ranked #8 in 2015 and #7 in 2017 by the Nature Index, which measures the largest contributors to papers published in 82 leading journals.

    The laboratory performs basic and applied research in physics and related natural science disciplines. Main fields of study include plasma physics, atomic physics, nuclear structure and reactions research, biophysics and medical research. The lab is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on January 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stanford physicists find new state of matter in a one-dimensional quantum gas", , , Experimental physics, Instead of water it hauls fragile collections of gas atoms to higher and higher energy states without collapsing., Key to creating stable quantum systems that could power new technologies such as quantum computers., Researchers led by Stanford University physicist Benjamin Lev have developed a quantum version of Archimedes’ screw ., Scar states – extremely rare trajectories of particles in an otherwise chaotic quantum system in which the particles repeatedly retrace their steps like tracks overlapping in the woods., , Super Tonks-Girardeau gas, This quantum many-body system has only recently been confirmed., While there are no immediate practical the Lev lab and their colleagues are developing the science necessary to power that quantum technology revolution that many predict is coming.   

    From Stanford University: “Stanford physicists find new state of matter in a one-dimensional quantum gas” 

    Stanford University Name
    From Stanford University

    January 14, 2021
    Taylor Kubota
    Stanford News Service
    (650) 724-7707

    By adding some magnetic flair to an exotic quantum experiment, physicists produced an ultra-stable one-dimensional quantum gas with never-before-seen “scar” states – a feature that could someday be useful for securing quantum information.

    Credit: CC0 Public Domain

    Experimental physicists have made a unique, one-dimensional quantum gas system that remains unusually stable as it’s pumped up to higher energy states. The researchers compare it to water being transported up an Archimedes’ screw. Credit: Getty Images.

    As the story goes, the Greek mathematician and tinkerer Archimedes came across an invention while traveling through ancient Egypt that would later bear his name. It was a machine consisting of a screw housed inside a hollow tube that trapped and drew water upon rotation. Now, researchers led by Stanford University physicist Benjamin Lev have developed a quantum version of Archimedes’ screw that, instead of water, hauls fragile collections of gas atoms to higher and higher energy states without collapsing. Their discovery is detailed in a paper published Jan. 14 in Science.

    “My expectation for our system was that the stability of the gas would only shift a little,” said Lev, who is an associate professor of applied physics and of physics in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford. “I did not expect that I would see a dramatic, complete stabilization of it. That was beyond my wildest conception.”

    Along the way, the researchers also observed the development of scar states – extremely rare trajectories of particles in an otherwise chaotic quantum system in which the particles repeatedly retrace their steps like tracks overlapping in the woods. Scar states are of particular interest because they may offer a protected refuge for information encoded in a quantum system. The existence of scar states within a quantum system with many interacting particles – known as a quantum many-body system – has only recently been confirmed. The Stanford experiment is the first example of the scar state in a many-body quantum gas and only the second ever real-world sighting of the phenomenon.

    Super and stable

    Lev specializes in experiments that extend our understanding of how different parts of a quantum many-body system settle into the same temperature or thermal equilibrium. This is an exciting area of investigation because resisting this so-called “thermalization” is key to creating stable quantum systems that could power new technologies, such as quantum computers.

    In this experiment, the team explored what would happen if they tweaked a very unusual many-body experimental system, called a super Tonks-Girardeau gas. These are highly excited one-dimensional quantum gases – atoms in a gaseous state that are confined to a single line of movement – that have been tuned in such a way that their atoms develop extremely strong attractive forces to one another. What’s super about them is that, even under extreme forces, they theoretically should not collapse into a ball-like mass (like normal attractive gases will). However, in practice, they do collapse because of experimental imperfections. Lev, who has a penchant for the strongly magnetic element dysprosium, wondered what would happen if he and his students created a super Tonks–Girardeau gas with dysprosium atoms and altered their magnetic orientations ‘just so.’ Perhaps they would resist collapse just a little bit better than nonmagnetic gases?

    “The magnetic interactions we were able to add were very weak compared to the attractive interactions already present in the gas. So, our expectations were that not much would change. We thought it would still collapse, just not quite so readily.” said Lev, who is also a member of Stanford Ginzton Lab and Q-FARM. “Wow, were we wrong.”

    Their dysprosium variation ended up producing a super Tonks–Girardeau gas that remained stable no matter what. The researchers flipped the atomic gas between the attractive and repulsive conditions, elevating or “screwing” the system to higher and higher energy states, but the atoms still didn’t collapse.

    Building from the foundation

    While there are no immediate practical applications of their discovery, the Lev lab and their colleagues are developing the science necessary to power that quantum technology revolution that many predict is coming. For now, said Lev, the physics of quantum many-body systems out of equilibrium remain consistently surprising.

    “There’s no textbook yet on the shelf that you can pull off to tell you how to build your own quantum factory,” he said. “If you compare quantum science to where we were when we discovered what we needed to know to build chemical plants, say, it’s like we’re doing the late 19th-century work right now.”

    These researchers are only beginning to examine the many questions they have about their quantum Archimedes’ screw, including how to mathematically describe these scar states and if the system does thermalize – which it must eventually – how it goes about doing that. More immediately, they plan to measure the momentum of the atoms in the scar states to begin to develop a solid theory about why their system behaves the way it does.

    The results of this experiment were so unanticipated that Lev says he can’t strongly predict what new knowledge will come from deeper inspection of the quantum Archimedes’ screw. But that, he points out, is perhaps experimentalism at its best.

    Additional Stanford authors are graduate students Wil Kao (co-lead author), Kuan-Yu Li (co-lead author) and Kuan-Yu Lin. A professor from CUNY College of Staten Island and CUNY, New York, is also a co-author. Lev is also a member of Stanford Bio-X.

    This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Olympiad Scholarship from the Taiwan Ministry of Education.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stanford University campus. No image credit

    Stanford University

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

    Stanford University Seal

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