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  • richardmitnick 2:44 pm on April 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Nigel Lockyer, , Particle Physicists begin to invent reasons to build next larger Particle Collider, , ,   

    From BBC via Back Reaction: “Particle Physicists begin to invent reasons to build next larger Particle Collider” 


    Back Reaction

    April 04, 2018

    Sabine Hossenfelder

    Nigel Lockyer, the director of Fermilab [FNAL], recently spoke to BBC about the benefits of building a next larger particle collider, one that reaches energies higher than the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

    Nigel Lockyer


    Such a new collider could measure more precisely the properties of the Higgs-boson. But that’s not all, at least according to Lockyer. He claims he knows there is something new to discover too:

    “Everybody believes there’s something there, but what we’re now starting to question is the scale of the new physics. At what energy does this new physics show up,” said Dr Lockyer. “From a simple calculation of the Higgs’ mass, there has to be new science. We just can’t give up on everything we know as an excuse for where we are now.”

    First, let me note that “everybody believes” is an argument ad populum. It isn’t only non-scientific, it is also wrong because I don’t believe it, qed. But more importantly, the argument for why there has to be new science is wrong.

    To begin with, we can’t calculate the Higgs mass; it’s a free parameter that is determined by measurement. Same with the Higgs mass as with the masses of all other elementary particles. But that’s a matter of imprecise phrasing, and I only bring it up because I’m an ass.

    The argument Lockyer is referring to are calculations of quantum corrections to the Higgs-mass. I.e., he is making the good, old, argument from naturalness.

    If that argument were right, we should have seen supersymmetric particles already. We didn’t. That’s why Giudice, head of the CERN theory division, has recently rung in the post-naturalness era. Even New Scientist took note of that. But maybe the news hasn’t yet arrived in the USA.

    Naturalness arguments never had a solid mathematical basis. But so far you could have gotten away saying they are handy guides for theory development. Now, however, seeing that these guides were bad guides in that their predictions turned out incorrect, using arguments from naturalness is no longer scientifically justified. If it ever was. This means we have no reason to expect new science, not in the not-yet analyzed LHC data and not at a next larger collider.

    Of course there could be something new. I am all in favor of building a larger collider and just see what happens. But please let’s stick to the facts: There is no reason to think a new discovery is around the corner.

    I don’t think Lockyer deliberately lied to BBC. He’s an experimentalist and probably actually believes what the theorists tell him. He has all reasons for wanting to believe it. But really he should know better.

    Much more worrisome than Lockyer’s false claim is that literally no one from the community tried to correct it. Heck, it’s like the head of NASA just told BBC we know there’s life on Mars! If that happened, astrophysicists would collectively vomit on social media. But particle physicists? They all keep their mouth shut if one of theirs spreads falsehoods. And you wonder why I say you can’t trust them?

    Meanwhile Gordon Kane, a US-Particle physicist known for his unswerving support of super-symmetry, has made an interesting move: he discarded of naturalness arguments altogether.

    You find this in a paper which appeared on the arXiv today. It seems to be a promotional piece that Kane wrote together with Stephen Hawking some months ago to advocate the Chinese Super Proton Proton Collider (SPPC) [So far, the Chinese physics community thinks this is a waste of money.].

    Kane has claimed for 15 years or so that the LHC would have to see supersymmetric particles because of naturalness. Now that this didn’t work out, he has come up with a new reason for why a next larger collider should see something:

    “Some people have said that the absence of superpartners or other phenomena at LHC so far makes discovery of superpartners unlikely. But history suggests otherwise. Once the [bottom] quark was found, in 1979, people argued that “naturally” the top quark would only be a few times heavier. In fact the top quark did exist, but was forty-one times heavier than the [bottom] quark, and was only found nearly twenty years later. If superpartners were forty-one times heavier than Z-bosons they would be too heavy to detect at LHC and its upgrades, but could be detected at SPPC.”

    Indeed, nothing forbids superpartners to be forty-one times heavier than Z-bosons. Neither is there anything that forbids them to be four-thousand times heavier, or four billion times heavier. Indeed, they don’t even have to be there at all. Isn’t it beautiful?

    Leaving aside that just because we can’t calculate the masses doesn’t mean they have to be near the discovery-threshold, the historical analogy doesn’t work for several reasons.

    Most importantly, quarks come in pairs that are SU(2) doublets. This means once you have the bottom quark, you know it needs to have a partner. If there wouldn’t be one, you’d have to discontinue the symmetry of the standard model which was established with the lighter quarks.

    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.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    Supersymmetry, on contrast, has no evidence among the already known particles speaking in its favor.

    Standard model of Supersymmetry DESY

    Physicists also knew since the early 1970s that the weak nuclear force violates CP-invariance, which requires (at least) three generations of quarks. Because of this, the existence of both the bottom and top quark were already predicted in 1973.

    Finally, for anomaly cancellation to work you need equally many leptons as quarks, and the tau and tau-neutrino (third generation of leptons) had been measured already in 1975 and 1977, respectively. (We also know the top quark mass can’t be too far away from the bottom quark mass, and the Higgs mass has to be close by the top quark mass, but this calculation wasn’t available in the 1970s.)

    In brief this means if the top quark had not been found, the whole standard model wouldn’t have worked. The standard model, however, works just fine without supersymmetric particles.

    Of course Gordon Kane knows all this. But desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.

    In the Kane-Hawking pamphlet we also read:

    “In addition, a supersymmetric theory has the remarkable property that it can relate physics at our scale, where colliders take data, with the Planck scale, the natural scale for a fundamental physics theory, which may help in the efforts to find a deeper underlying theory.”

    I don’t disagree with this. But it’s a funny statement because for 30 years or so we have been told that supersymmetry has the virtue of removing the sensitivity to Planck scale effects. So, actually the absence of naturalness holds much more promise to make that connection to higher energy. In other words, I say, the way out is through.

    I wish I could say I’m surprised to see such wrong claims boldly being made in public. But then I only just wrote two weeks ago that the lobbying campaign is likely to start soon. And, lo and behold, here we go.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 1:53 pm on January 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Nigel Lockyer, , ,   

    From Physics World: “Neutrino hunter” 


    Nigel Lockyer

    Nigel Lockyer, director of Fermilab in the US, talks to Michael Banks about the future of particle physics – and why neutrinos hold the key.

    Fermilab is currently building the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). How are things progressing?

    Construction began last year with a ground-breaking ceremony held in July at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, which is home to DUNE.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford

    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    By 2022 the first of four tanks of liquid argon, each 17,000 tonnes, will be in place detecting neutrinos from space. Then in 2026, when all four are installed, Fermilab will begin sending the first beam of neutrinos to DUNE, which is some 1300 km away.

    Why neutrinos?

    Neutrinos have kept throwing up surprises ever since we began studying them and we expect a lot more in the future. In many ways, the best method to study physics beyond the Standard Model is with neutrinos.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    What science do you plan when DUNE comes online?

    One fascinating aspect is detecting neutrinos from supernova explosions. Liquid argon is very good at picking up electron neutrinos and we would expect to see a signal if that occurred in our galaxy. We could then study how the explosion results in a neutron star or black hole. That would really be an amazing discovery.

    And what about when Fermilab begins firing neutrinos towards DUNE?

    One of the main goals is to investigate charge–parity (CP) violation in the lepton sector. We would be looking for the appearance of electron and antielectron neutrinos. If there is a statistical difference then this would be a sign of CP violation and could give us hints as to the reason why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. Another aspect of the experiment is to search for proton decay.

    How will Fermilab help in the effort?

    To produce neutrinos, the protons smash into a graphite target that is currently the shape of a pencil. We are aiming to quadruple the proton beam power from 700 kW to 2.5 MW. Yet we can’t use graphite after the accelerator has been upgraded due to the high beam power so we need to have a rigorous R&D effort in materials physics.

    What kind of materials are you looking at?

    The issue we face is how to dissipate heat better. We are looking at alloys of beryllium to act as a target and potentially rotating it to cool it down better.

    What are some of the challenges in building the liquid argon detectors?

    So far the largest liquid argon detector is built in the US at Fermilab, which is 170 tonnes. As each full-sized tank at DUNE will be 17,000 tonnes, we face a challenge to scale up the technology. One particular issue is that the electronics are contained within the liquid argon and we need to do some more R&D in this area to make sure they can operate effectively. The other area is with the purity of the liquid argon itself. It is a noble gas and, if pure, an electron can drift forever within it. But if there are any impurities that will limit how well the detector can operate.

    How will you go about developing this technology?

    The amount of data you get out of liquid argon detectors is enormous, so we need to make sure we have all the technology tried and tested. We are in the process of building two 600 tonne prototype detectors, the first of which will be tested at CERN in June 2018.

    CERN Proto DUNE Maximillian Brice

    The UK recently announced it will contribute £65m towards DUNE, how will that be used?

    The UK is helping build components for the detector and contributing with the data-acquisition side. It is also helping to develop the new proton target, and to construct the new linear accelerator that will enable the needed beam power.

    The APA being prepped for shipment at Daresbury Laboratory. (Credit: STFC)

    First APA (Anode Plane Assembly) ready to be installed in the protoDUNE-SP detector Photograph: Ordan, Julien Marius

    Are you worried Brexit might derail such an agreement?

    I don’t think so. The agreement is between the UK and US governments and we expect the UK to maintain its support.

    Japan is planning a successor to its Super Kamiokande neutrino detector – Hyper Kamiokande – that would carry out similar physics. Is it a collaborator or competitor?

    Well, it’s not a collaborator. Like Super Kamiokande, Hyper Kamiokande would be a water-based detector, the technology of which is much more established than liquid argon. However, in the long run liquid argon is a much more powerful detector medium – you can get a lot more information about the neutrino from it. I think we are pursuing the right technology. We also have a longer baseline that would let us look for additional interactions between neutrinos and we will create neutrinos with a range of energies. Additionally, the DUNE detectors will be built a mile underground to shield them from cosmic interference.

    Super-Kamiokande experiment. located under Mount Ikeno near the city of Hida, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

    Hyper-Kamiokande, a neutrino physics laboratory located underground in the Mozumi Mine of the Kamioka Mining and Smelting Co. near the Kamioka section of the city of Hida in Gifu Prefecture, Japan.

    In the long run liquid argon is a much more powerful detector medium – you can get a lot more information about the neutrino from it.

    Regarding the future at the high-energy frontier, does the US support the International Linear Collider (ILC)?

    ILC schematic, being planned for the Kitakami highland, in the Iwate prefecture of northern Japan

    The ILC began as an international project and in recent years Japan has come forward with an interest to host it. We think that Japan now needs to take a lead on the project and give it the go-ahead. Then we can all get around the table and begin negotiations.

    And what about plans by China to build its own Higgs factory?

    The Chinese government is looking at the proposal carefully and trying to gauge how important it is for the research community in China. Currently, Chinese accelerator scientists are busy with two upcoming projects in the country: a free-electron laser in Shanghai and a synchrotron in Beijing. That will keep them busy for the next five years, but after that this project could really take off.

    See the full article here .

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    PhysicsWorld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.
    IOP Institute of Physics

  • richardmitnick 7:47 pm on November 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nigel Lockyer, ,   

    From thestar.com: “Basic science is the centre of gravity, says particle physics lab chief “ 


    November 24, 2014
    Kate Allen

    Toronto-raised Nigel Lockyer, head of Fermilab, the U.S.’s premier particle physics lab and accelerator, talks about dark matter and how Canada funds scientific research.

    Nigel Lockyer

    As a kid growing up in North York, Nigel Lockyer earned his keep as a Toronto Star paperboy. He has moved up in the world a little since then. After spending six years as the director of TRIUMF, Canada’s national particle and nuclear physics lab, he was hired away last year to become director of Fermilab, the U.S.’s premier particle physics lab and accelerator. His first degree was a bachelor of science in physics from York University, and this week he returned to Toronto to accept the school’s most distinguished alumni award.

    The Star sat down with its former employee to chat dark matter, balancing science and hockey, and whether the Canadian government supports basic research.

    S.The discovery of the Higgs boson captivated the general public. What are some of the potential discoveries that could be made — in our lifetimes or in our grandchildren’s — that have the potential to be as big of a hit?

    L.I think the world changes the day somebody announces we have observed dark matter. We have all these experiments out there looking for dark matter, trying to produce dark matter, they’re looking for it under the ground, they’re looking for it with satellites and so on. It’s just a question of: where is it?

    I think the astronomers know for sure it’s out there. And we certainly believe there’s nothing special about our galaxy, it’s one of those galaxies that has lots of dark matter and our earth is moving through it. So to me, you find this thing that’s been very mysterious and you’re able to detect it, and then our field, particle physics, would go nuts figuring out how to produce it, how to understand more about it.

    And we don’t know if it’s a single particle or multiple particles or anything at this point. It’s just a complete unknown. All we know are its gravitational properties.

    S.What is it about particle physics that manages to excite the public despite being such a tricky technical field?

    L.Everybody understands that whatever you pick up is made out of something. You have a magnifying glass, you can see the structure of what it is you’re looking at. Particle physics is the extreme of that. You’re looking for the smallest building blocks of space, time, matter.

    S.Fermilab costs what, upwards of $500 million a year to operate?

    L.(Laughs). We don’t advertise those kinds of numbers. It’s $400 (million).

    S.I imagine you’re constantly being pressed to justify Fermilab on an economic basis: jobs created, that kind of thing. Let’s forget about that for a second. What is the worth of basic science?

    L.Basic science generates the ideas of the future, which become applied science. Without basic science you have no input to applied science. The stream dries up.

    Certain organizations understand this extremely well, and others think you can do one or the other, but it’s not true. If you just go back in time, (James Clerk) Maxwell’s understanding that there have to be electromagnetic waves (carries) all the way through to your cellphone today. Quantum mechanics led to the transistor, which led to electronic circuits and so on.

    Everything can point back to basic research. The challenge for governments is how to speed that up and how to pick the winners. Because a lot of stuff that you do ends up not being the home run — or the hat trick, depending on which country you live in.

    S.What can the Canadian government do to nurture the creation of top-level scientists?

    I think they need to fund the science. That’s the bottom line. Take TRIUMF as an example. I spent several years attracting really top people to the laboratory to do research. The government should fund the science those people want to do.

    And they’re always squeezing — they always want to give you less than you need, because that’s how governments function, but I think that’s a mistake. I think Canada can learn from some countries that are very proactive with funding their science. For example, Germany is out in the lead. If you look at Switzerland, great funding for science. If you look at any of the Asian countries now, great funding for science.

    The developing countries are just going nuts with their investment in science, and here we are — and I’ll put Canada and the United States in the same boat, we think alike — saying, “Oh, let’s see, what should we do.” Isn’t it obvious what you should do? Basic science is the future of everything.

    We live in a technological world. Invest in basic science. Just put more money into it. It will work out. And you will keep the best people. Canada is a great country for many other reasons. You don’t have to fight any of those other reasons. You do have to fight the impression that scientific funding is not a high priority for government. And it should be.

    S. Fermilab has lots of grade school students come through (on visits). How can teachers and parents do a better job of increasing scientific literacy in kids — just getting kids excited about science?

    I think you have to make it interesting for them. The same way I got up at five o’clock in the morning to drive my son to hockey, you’ve got to make an effort to take them to events that stimulate them to be interested in science. Around here (in Batavia, Ill.), there seems to be an unusually large number of people interested in robots, and they have all these organizations of kids of different ages from very young all the way through high school where they compete at all these robotic events.

    Going to public lectures with great speakers talking about dark matter — kids are trying to figure out what the world is all about. That’s how I got interested in science, just hearing these crazy ideas.

    And everybody knows this, but teachers are so influential. Whether they’re your public school teachers or your high school or college teachers, having high-quality teachers makes a world of difference to who you produce. Having world-class institutes like York and University of Toronto and Queen’s is another factor in creating great thinkers, whether it’s science or anything else.

    The problem with Canada is that it’s so rich in natural resources that it can always fall back on it rather than developing what I call a knowledge economy mentality. Now the government talks about it, but seems to me that they need to put their money where their mouth is.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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