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  • richardmitnick 2:46 pm on January 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Julia Thom-Levy, , Particle Physics, Thom-Levy research group,   

    From Cornell: Women in STEM – “In Search of New Physics Phenomena” Julia Thom-Levy 

    Cornell Bloc

    Cornell University

    1.13.17
    Alexandra Chang

    1
    Julia Thom-Levy
    Associate Professor
    Physics, College of Arts and Sciences
    Expertise
    Experimental high energy physics; experimental particle physics; Large Hadron Collider, solid state detectors for particle physics

    More than 3,800 miles away and across the Atlantic Ocean from Cornell’s Physical Sciences Building is Geneva, Switzerland, the home of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratory and the highest-energy particle accelerator on earth.

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

    Cornell at CERN

    Despite the distance, Cornell researchers are actively involved in the cutting-edge particle physics experiments taking place at CERN. Julia Thom-Levy, Physics, is one such professor. Thom-Levy has worked on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) since 2005.

    CERN/CMS Detector
    CERN/CMS Detector

    Specifically, Thom-Levy is on a collaborative team of Cornell researchers who are responsible for developing software for the CMS detector, designing upgrades to the detector, and analyzing data collected by the CMS—all in search of new physics phenomena.

    CMS is one of the two LHC detectors that led to the discovery of the Higgs boson (an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics) in 2012 during the most recent LHC run. Since then, the LHC has been undergoing repairs. A second run took place during June 2015, with the LHC running at twice the energy, a major improvement that could lead to further discoveries.

    “We are in an interesting situation here: a mathematical model—The Standard Model—explains all particle observations very well,” says Thom-Levy, who played a role in confirming the Standard Model to better precision over the past 15 years.

    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.

    “It’s a very precise model. We know, however, that it doesn’t hold water, because we cannot explain certain important things like dark matter, or how exactly the Higgs boson ends up with the mass that we measure. There is a strange tension: on the one hand, we know what these particles do; we can predict it, but we don’t know why.”

    Supersymmetry

    Thom-Levy says that the second run of the LHC could reveal new particles, or inconsistencies in the data—“smoking guns” that will point scientists in the right direction. For example, they could find particles that might be consistent with supersymmetry, a proposed extension of the Standard Model, which could explain such mysteries as dark matter.

    Dark matter in our universe has been elusive so far to detection—it does not emit or absorb light. Thom-Levy says that the LHC might, however, be able to produce dark matter, and that it is possible to observe it through its distinctive signature in the detector, which is the signature of nothing. One possibility is that dark matter consists of the lightest supersymmetric particles, and discovering it in the next run would be a huge boon to the researchers.

    That said, Thom-Levy is cautious in her predictions. “I’m being very hypothetical,” she says. “The big glaring signature for supersymmetry did not appear in the first run. That was one of the surprises. It’s such a beautiful theory and we joke that it would be a shame if nature didn’t work that way. It’s something we will continue to look for.”

    The Big Data Element

    The Cornell CMS group—James Alexander, Richie Patterson, Anders Ryd, Peter Wittich, and Thom-Levy along with their students and postdocs—play a critical role in developing software to record and interpret the incredible amounts of data collected by the CMS.

    2
    Members of the Thom-Levy research group

    When the detector is running, it records terabytes of data every day, and that data needs to be stored and distributed to various research institutions across the world for analysis. Researchers write programs to filter through trillions of proton interactions to get to the ones that are really interesting—ones that produce a Higgs or a top quark, for example.

    “The most interesting interactions are often the most rare; they are the highest energy, highest masses, and very unlikely to be produced,” says Thom-Levy. “A lot of our field is like needle-in-the-haystack research.” Because of this, Thom-Levy says her students are exposed to “big-data,” and they learn how to handle and analyze huge volumes of data.

    Students also spend time at CERN and learn how to make the detector work. Many of the group’s students are currently in Geneva, writing software for and testing electronics on the CMS detector.

    Next-Generation Detectors

    Thom-Levy is also developing better detectors, using the latest cutting-edge materials and technologies. One challenge is that the particle’s high energies result in extremely high radiation levels, which damage the detector. As energy levels and particle density increase, the detectors need to become better at withstanding radiation, while still providing high precision measurements.

    To address that and other problems, Thom-Levy is involved in a collaborative project testing the use of three-dimensional integrated circuitry for silicon detectors. She says that it could make detectors much thinner, use less power, and make them potentially stronger against radiation. So far, her group has simulated detectors and prototyped components at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF). The next steps would be to work with more industry and university partners to hopefully build the next generation of detectors to be used at CERN’s CMS.

    Pursuing the Universe’s Mysteries

    Thom-Levy describes her journey to CERN as a sort of odyssey following the most interesting particle physics to various places. She started at Germany’s national accelerator lab, moved on to Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Center, off to Fermilab in Illinois, until finally landing at CERN. “With each move, the energy went up,” she says with a laugh.

    When asked why she was drawn to particle physics in the first place, she gives credit to the local accelerator in her hometown. “I always knew I wanted to do sub-nuclear physics,” she says. “How does the nucleus work? What does it consist of? Can you break its constituents down, down, down? What’s the most fundamental unit in the universe?”

    These are questions that are both scientific and philosophical to Thom-Levy. “We want to get to the very essence. It’s nothing we can touch, but the shadows of the mysterious workings of tiny particles may tell us about the most fundamental truth of the world.”

    See the full article here .

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    Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

    Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

    On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:18 pm on January 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , India to become associate Member State, , Particle Physics   

    From CERN Courier: “India to become associate Member State” 

    CERN Courier

    Jan 13, 2017
    No writer credit

    1
    Signing the agreement.

    On 21 November, CERN signed an agreement with Sekhar Basu, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the government of India, to admit India as an associate Member State.

    India has been a partner of CERN for more than 50 years, during which it has made substantial contributions to the construction of the LHC and to the ALICE and CMS experiments, as well as Tier-2 centres for the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid. A co-operation agreement was signed in 1991, but India’s relationship with CERN goes back much further, with Indian institutes having provided components for the LEP collider and one of its four detectors, L3, in addition to the WA93 and WA89 detectors.

    CERN LEP Collider
    CERN LEP Collider

    The success of the DAE–CERN partnership regarding the LHC has also led to co-operation on novel accelerator technologies through DAE’s participation in CERN’s Linac4, SPL and CTF3 projects. India also participates in the COMPASS, ISOLDE and nTOF experiments at CERN.

    In recognition of these substantial contributions, India was granted observer status at CERN Council in 2002. When it enters into force, associate membership will allow India to take part in CERN Council meetings and its committees, and will make Indian scientists eligible for staff appointments. “Becoming associate member of CERN will enhance participation of young scientists and engineers in various CERN projects and bring back knowledge for deployment in the domestic programmes,” says Basu. “It will also provide opportunities to Indian industries to participate directly in CERN projects.”

    See the full article here .

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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 II

    LHC

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

     
  • richardmitnick 2:07 pm on January 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Particle Physics, Slovenia to become associate Member State in pre-stage to membership   

    From CERN Courier: “Slovenia to become associate Member State in pre-stage to membership” 

    CERN Courier

    Jan 13, 2017
    No writer credit

    1
    Slovenia gains associate membership

    CERN Council has voted unanimously to admit the Republic of Slovenia to associate membership in the pre-stage to CERN membership. Slovenia’s membership will facilitate, strengthen and broaden the participation and activities of Slovenian scientists, said Slovenian minister Maja Makovec Brenčič, and give Slovenian industry full access to CERN procurement orders. “Slovenia is also aware of the CERN offerings in the areas of education and public outreach, and we are therefore looking forward to become eligible for participation in CERN’s fellows, associate and student programmes.”

    Slovenian physicists have participated in the LHC’s ATLAS experiment for the past 20 years, focusing on silicon tracking, protection devices and computing at the Slovenian Tier-2 data centre. However, Slovenian physicists contributed to CERN long before Slovenia became an independent state in 1991, participating in an experiment at LEAR and the DELPHI experiment at LEP. In 1991, CERN and the Executive Council of the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia signed a co-operation agreement, and in 2009 Slovenia applied to become a Member State.

    Following internal approval procedures, Slovenia will join Cyprus and Serbia as an associate Member State in the pre-stage to membership. At the earliest two years thereafter, Council will decide on the admission of Slovenia to full membership. “It is a great pleasure to welcome Slovenia into our ever-growing CERN family as an associate Member State in the pre-stage to membership,” says CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti.

    See the full article here .

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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 II

    LHC

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

     
  • richardmitnick 1:49 pm on January 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Particle Physics   

    From CERN Courier: “AWAKE makes waves” 

    CERN Courier

    Jan 13, 2017
    No writer credit

    1
    Proton-bunch comparison

    In early December, the AWAKE collaboration made an important step towards a pioneering accelerator technology that would reduce the size and cost of particle accelerators.

    CERN Awake schematic
    CERN AWAKE schematic

    Having commissioned the facility with first beam in November, the team has now installed a plasma cell and observed a strong modulation of high-energy proton bunches as they pass through it. This signals the generation of very strong electric fields that could be used to accelerate electrons to high energies over short distances.

    AWAKE (Advanced Proton Driven Plasma Wakefield Acceleration Experiment) is the first facility to investigate the use of plasma wakefields driven by proton beams. The experiment involves injecting a “drive” bunch of protons from CERN’s Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) into a 10 m-long tube containing a plasma. The bunch then splits into a series of smaller bunches via a process called self-modulation, generating a strong wakefield as they move through the plasma.

    CERN Super Proton Synchrotron
    CERN Super Proton Synchrotron

    “Although plasma-wakefield technology has been explored for many years, AWAKE is the first experiment to use protons as a driver – which, given the high energy of the SPS, can drive wakefields over much longer distances compared with electron- or laser-based schemes,” says AWAKE spokesperson Allen Caldwell of the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich.

    While it has long been known that plasmas may provide an alternative to traditional accelerating methods based on RF cavities, turning this concept into a practical device is a major challenge. The next step for the AWAKE collaboration is to inject a second beam of electrons, the “witness” beam, which is accelerated by the wakefield just as a surfer accelerates by riding a wave. “To have observed indications for the first time of proton-bunch self-modulation, after just a few days of tests, is an excellent achievement. It’s down to a very motivated and dedicated team,” says Edda Gschwendtner, CERN AWAKE project leader.

    See the full article here .

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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 II

    LHC

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

     
  • richardmitnick 1:33 pm on January 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Particle Physics   

    From CERN Courier: “Run 2 promises a harvest of beauty for LHCb” 

    CERN Courier

    1
    New measurement

    The first b-physics analysis using data from LHC Run 2, which began in 2015 with proton–proton collisions at an energy of 13 TeV, shows great promise for the physics programme of LHCb. During 2015 and 2016, the experiment collected a data sample corresponding to an integrated luminosity of about 2 fb^–1. Although this value is smaller than the total integrated luminosity collected in the three years of Run 1 (3 fb^–1), the significant increase of the LHC energy in Run 2 has almost doubled the production cross-section of beauty particles. Furthermore, the experiment has improved the performance of its trigger system and particle-identification capabilities. Once such an increase is taken into account, along with improvements in the trigger strategy and in the particle identification of the experiment, LHCb has already more than doubled the statistics of beauty particles on tape with respect to Run 1.

    The new analysis is based on 1 fb–1 of available data, aiming to measure the angle γ of the CKM unitarity triangle using B– → D0K*– decays. While B– → D0K– decays have been extensively studied in the past, this is the first time the B– → D0K*– mode has been investigated. The analysis, first presented at CKM2016 (see Triangulating in Mumbai in Faces & Places), allows the LHCb collaboration to cross-check expectations for the increase of signal yields in Run 2 using real data. A significant increase, roughly corresponding to a factor three, is observed per unit of integrated luminosity. This demonstrates that the experiment has benefitted from the increase in b-production cross-section, but also that the trigger of the detector performs better than in Run 1. Although the statistical uncertainty on γ from this measurement alone is still large, the sensitivity will be improved by the addition of more data, as well as by the use of other D-meson decay modes. This bodes well for future measurements of γ to be performed in this and other decay modes with the full Run 2 data set.

    Measurements of the angle γ are of great importance because it is the least well-known angle of the unitarity triangle. The latest combination from direct measurements with charged and neutral B-meson decays and a variety of D-meson final states, all performed with Run 1 data, yielded a central value of 72±7 degrees. LHCb’s ultimate aim, following detector upgrades relevant for LHC Run 3, is to determine γ with a precision below 1°, providing a powerful test of the Standard Model.

    See the full article here .

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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 II

    LHC

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

     
  • richardmitnick 11:38 am on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Particle Physics, Physicist Peter Graham, ,   

    From Stanford: “Stanford physicist suggests looking for dark matter in unusual places” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

    January 12, 2017
    Amy Adams

    Most experiments searching for mysterious dark matter require massive colliders, but Stanford physicist Peter Graham advocates a different, less costly approach.

    1
    Physicist Peter Graham recently received a Breakthrough New Horizons Prize for his novel approach to particle physics. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

    For decades, particle physics has been the domain of massive colliders that whip particles around at high speeds and smash them into one another while teams of thousands observe the results. These kinds of experiments have produced great insights into forces and particles that make up the physical world.

    But Stanford physicist Peter Graham is advocating a much different approach – one that could be faster and cheaper than massive colliders, and that may be able to detect previously elusive forms of physics like dark matter.

    Graham pointed out that colliders cost tens of billions of dollars and come along so rarely that there might only be one new collider built in his lifetime. His approach evokes a time when physics could be carried out on a tabletop by one or two people and produce results in just a few years.

    “It’s going back to that in some ways, but using very different types of technologies and different approaches,” said Graham, who is an assistant professor of physics. “It’s a new direction for looking for the most basic laws of nature.”

    Graham, who is also a collaborator with the elementary particle physics division at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, recently received a Breakthrough New Horizons in Physics Prize for his novel direction, which he hopes more people will join. He spoke with Stanford Report about why physics needs new types of experiments, what dark matter might be and how he hopes to detect it.

    You’ve said that your experiments explore new physics. What does that mean?

    The standard model of particle physics is everything we’ve discovered. It explains almost every experiment ever done over gigantic scales, from nuclei to galaxies.

    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.

    There’s really just a very few things it doesn’t explain, which we call new physics. We know there is stuff out there beyond what we’ve seen, like dark matter, and new fundamental laws. Those are the things we are trying to discover.

    Dark matter is one form of new physics you might be able to detect. Can you explain what dark matter is and why physicists believe it exists?

    Initially, people realized that there’s much more gravity pulling in on galaxies than they could account for. Either the laws of gravity were wrong, which was possible, or there was something else that we don’t know about pulling on the galaxies. Either way, you can’t explain it with what we know.

    There’s now a lot of evidence that our understanding of gravity isn’t wrong, and instead there’s some new kind of stuff that physicists have named dark matter. It’s been a major goal in physics to understand dark matter and come up with new types of experiments to try to detect it. But you have to have some guesses about what it might be if you are going to find it. It’s a universal point in science that you have to have some idea what you are looking for in order to know how to go about looking for it.

    What are some of the theories about what dark matter might be?

    There is a lot of evidence for two candidates, called WIMPs and axions. You can look for WIMPs [weakly interacting massive particles] with more traditional techniques, like the giant colliders, and that attracted a lot of attention.

    There was just one experiment looking for axions and it only looked at part of the possible axion spectrum. It was a scary scenario that axions might be the dark matter and there might be no way to detect them. Axions are very difficult to search for because they don’t interact much with our experiments.

    Dark matter could also be some crazy new kind of particle, or a combination of WIMPs and axions, or even collections of black holes. We don’t know.

    What motivated you to think about alternate ways of exploring new physics?

    Part of the motivation is that the big colliders are important but they are also getting expensive to build. In addition, we are realizing that some new theories about dark matter really couldn’t be discovered at colliders.

    My work has been to take techniques from other fields of physics and use them in particle physics. The Breakthrough Prize is really nice because it brings a stamp of approval and could really help us get this new experimental direction going.

    Can you give me an example of one type of experiment you’ve designed?

    People had thought about one approach to detect axion dark matter and it did a good job for higher mass axions, but could not possibly see lower mass axions. We came up with a new technique to detect low mass axions. It involved combining NMR [nuclear magnetic resonance], which is commonly used in medical applications, and magnetometry, which is a very precise tool for measuring magnetic fields. We use NMR to amplify the axion signal so that the magnetometer can pick it up.

    We’ve already started building this experiment, and it could generate results in a few years. It’s very exciting because these kinds of experiments can produce results on short time scales.

    Why is it important to explore these new frontiers in physics?

    Humanity has always stared up at the stars and wondered why we are here. These kinds of questions, like the nature of dark matter, tell us about the birth of the universe, why the whole universe is here.

    But a part of it for me is also that I want to be making some contribution. One example of how basic physics helps people came from quantum mechanics. I’m sure at the time they thought it was a pure physics exercise and had no relation to human health. Well, we learned quantum mechanics and now we have MRI machines and PET scans. I would say that’s a really important lesson. Humans are creative and we do find ways to use new information.

    See the full article here .

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    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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on January 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , How heavy is a neutrino?, , Particle Physics,   

    From Symmetry: “How heavy is a neutrino?” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    01/10/17
    Kathryn Jepsen

    1
    No image caption. No image credit.

    The question is more complicated than it seems.

    Neutrinos are elementary particles first discovered six decades ago.

    Over the years, scientists have learned several surprising things about them. But they have yet to answer what might sound like a basic question: How much do neutrinos weigh? The answer could be key to understanding the nature of the strange particles and of our universe.

    To understand why figuring out the mass of neutrinos is such a challenge, first you must understand that there’s more than one way to picture a neutrino.

    Neutrinos come in three flavors: electron, muon and tau. When a neutrino hits a neutrino detector, a muon, electron or tau particle is produced. When you catch a neutrino accompanied by an electron, you call it an electron neutrino, and so on.

    Knowing this, you might be forgiven for thinking that there are three types of neutrinos: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos. But that’s not quite right.

    That’s because every neutrino is actually a quantum superposition of all three flavors. Depending on the energy of a neutrino and where you catch it on its journey, it has a different likelihood of appearing as electron-flavored, muon-flavored or tau-flavored.

    Armed with this additional insight, you might be forgiven for thinking that, when all is said and done, there is actually just one type of neutrino. But that’s even less right.

    Scientists count three types of neutrino after all. Each one has a different mass and is a different mixture of the three neutrino flavors. These neutrino types are called the three neutrino mass states.

    2
    Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Corinne Mucha

    A weighty problem

    We know that the masses of these three types of neutrinos are small. We know that the flavor mixture of the first neutrino mass state is heavy on electron flavor. We know that the second is more of an even blend of electron, muon and tau. And we know that the third is mostly muon and tau.

    We know that the masses of the first two neutrinos are close together and that the third is the odd one out. What we don’t know is whether the third one is lighter or heavier than the others.

    The question of whether this third mass state is the heaviest or the lightest mass state is called the neutrino mass hierarchy (or neutrino mass ordering) problem.

    3
    No image caption. No image credit.

    Easy as 1,2,3—or 3,1,2?

    Some models that unify the different forces in the Standard Model of particle physics predict that the neutrino mass ordering will follow the pattern 1, 2, 3—what they call a normal hierarchy. Other models predict that the mass ordering will follow the pattern 3, 1, 2—an inverted hierarchy. Knowing whether the hierarchy is normal or inverted can help theorists answer other questions.

    For example, four forces—the strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravitational forces—govern the interactions of the smallest building blocks of matter. Some theorists think that, in the early universe, these four forces were united into a single force. Most theories about the unification of forces predict a normal neutrino mass hierarchy.

    Scientists’ current best tools for figuring out the neutrino mass hierarchy are long-baseline neutrino experiments, most notably one called NOvA.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment
    NOvA map
    FNAL NOvA Near Detector
    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    3
    No image caption. No image credit.

    Electron drag

    The NOvA detector, located in Minnesota near the border of Canada, studies a beam of neutrinos that originates at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.

    Neutrinos very rarely interact with other matter. That means they can travel 500 miles straight through the Earth from the source to the detector. In fact, it’s important that they do so, because as they travel, they pass through trillions of electrons.

    This affects the electron-flavor neutrinos—and only the electron-flavor neutrinos—making them seem more massive. Since the first and second mass states contain more electron flavor than the third, those two experience the strongest electron interactions as they move through the Earth.

    This interaction has different effects on neutrinos and antineutrinos—and the effects depend on the mass hierarchy. If the hierarchy is normal, muon neutrinos will be more likely to turn into electron neutrinos, and muon antineutrinos will be less likely to turn into electron antineutrinos. If the hierarchy is inverted, the opposite will happen.

    So if NOvA scientists see that, after traveling through miles of rock and dirt, more muon neutrinos and fewer muon antineutrinos than expected have shifted flavors, it will be a sign the mass hierarchy is normal. If they see fewer muon neutrinos and more muon antineutrinos have shifted flavors, it will be a sign that the mass hierarchy is inverted.

    The change is subtle. It will take years of data collection to get the first hint of an answer. Another, shorter long-baseline neutrino experiment, T2K, is taking related measurements. The JUNO experiment under construction in China aims to measure the mass hierarchy in a different way. The definitive measurement likely won’t come until the next generation of long-baseline experiments, DUNE in the US and the proposed Hyper-Kamiokande experiment in Japan.

    T2K Experiment
    T2K map
    T2K, Japan

    JUNO Neutrino detector China
    JUNO Neutrino detector, at Kaiping, Jiangmen in Southern China

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

    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.
    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

    Neutrinos are some of the most abundant particles in the universe. As we slowly uncover their secrets, they give us more clues about how our universe works.

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 2:48 pm on January 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Particle Physics,   

    From Symmetry: “Anything to declare?” A Really Cool Article by Sarah Charley 

    Symmetry Mag
    Symmetry

    01/05/17
    Sarah Charley

    1
    A scientist at CERN removes a delicate half-disk of pixels from its custom-made box. The box was designed to fit snugly in an airplane seat. Photo courtesy of John Conway

    John Conway knows the exact width of airplane aisles (15 inches). He also personally knows the Transportation Security Administration operations manager at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. That’s because Conway has spent the last decade transporting extremely sensitive detector equipment in commercial airline cabins.

    “We have a long history of shipping particle detectors through commercial carriers and having them arrive broken,” says Conway, who is a physicist at the University of California, Davis. “So in 2007 we decided to start carrying them ourselves. Our equipment is our baby, so who better to transport it than the people whose work depends on it?”

    Their instrument isn’t musical, but it’s just as fragile and irreplaceable as a vintage Italian cello, and it travels the same way. Members of the collaboration for the CMS experiment at CERN research center tested different approaches for shipping the instrument by embedding accelerometers in the packages. Their best method for safety and cost-effectiveness? Reserving a seat on the plane for the delicate cargo.

    CERN CMS Higgs Event
    CERN/CMS Detector
    CMS at CERN

    In November Conway accompanied parts of the new CMS pixel detector from the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory [FNAL] in Chicago to CERN in Geneva. The pixels are very thin silicon chips mounted inside a long cylindrical tube. This new part will sit in the heart of the CMS experiment and record data from the high-energy particle collisions generated by the Large Hadron Collider [LHC].

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

    “It functions like the sensor inside a digital camera,” Conway said, “except it has 45 megapixels and takes 40 million pictures every second.”

    Scientists and engineers assembled and tested these delicate silicon disks at Fermilab before Conway and two colleagues escorted them to Geneva. The development and construction of the component pieces took place at Fermilab and universities around the United States.

    Conway and his colleagues reserved each custom-made container its own economy seat and then accompanied these precious packages through check-in, security and all the way to their final destination at CERN. And although these packages did not leave Fermilab through the shipping department, each carried its own official paperwork.

    “We’d get a lot of weird looks when rolling them onto the airplane,” Conway says. “One time the flight crew kept joking that we were transporting dinosaur eggs.”

    After four trips by three people across the Atlantic, all 12 components of the US-built pixel detectors are at CERN and ready for integration with their European counterparts. This winter the completed new pixel detector will replace its time-worn predecessor currently inside the CMS detector.

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 7:50 am on December 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , GANIL, , Particle Physics, , SPIRAL2   

    From CNRS: “At the Heart of Nuclear Matter with SPIRAL2” 

    CNRS bloc

    The National Center for Scientific Research

    11.14.2016
    Yaroslav Pigenet

    1
    View of part of the high energy transmission line of Spiral2 which makes it possible to focus the ion beams inside the tubes kept under high vacuum. 2. STROPPA/CEA/CNRS

    A new heavy-ion accelerator was inaugurated at the GANIL facility in Caen (northwestern France). The first phase in the SPIRAL2 project, this new instrument will enable scientists to delve further into the mysteries of the atom and even create new elements.

    3
    3

    In days of old, alchemists pursued a goal long believed illusory, that of transmuting a base metal into another—preferably noble. Today, at facilities like the French Large Heavy-ion Accelerator (GANIL) in Caen, the alchemists’ dream has become scientific reality. For the last 35 years, GANIL’s physicists have been smashing accelerated ions in order to produce new atoms and find the secrets of matter on atomic scales. Once the facilities of GANIL’s SPIRAL2 project (2nd generation Production System of Online Accelerated Radioactive Ions) are up and running, scientists will be able to perform transmutation on an unprecedented scale, opening the way to the discovery of as yet unknown elements and atomic structures.

    One of the world’s largest ion accelerators

    GANIL was jointly set up in 1976 by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the CNRS National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3).1 In the years that followed, the facility continued to expand, establishing international collaborations and acquiring new equipment. This constant evolution, in which SPIRAL2 is a milestone, made it one of the world’s four leading laboratories in the field of ion beam research. Its operating principle has nonetheless remained the same: the production of electrically charged ions by stripping electrons from neutral atoms. When they enter the accelerator’s magnetic fields, the nuclei of these atoms near a third of the speed of light before smashing into the atomic nuclei in the target.

    These extremely high-energy collisions result in nuclear reactions that give rise to new nuclei with unusual neutron-proton ratios, structures or shapes. Observing and analyzing these short-lived radioactive nuclei helps scientists to gain a better grasp of the properties of nuclear matter. Thanks to the work of its 250 permanent staff (physicists, engineers, technicians, administrative staff, etc) and with the contribution of 700 visiting researchers from across the world, GANIL has witnessed a host of discoveries about the structure of atomic nuclei, their thermal and mechanical properties, and their decay modes.

    3
    The chart of nuclides. Each square represents a nucleus positioned according to its number of neutrons (on the horizontal x-axis) and protons (on the vertical y-axis). The white squares correspond to the 291 nuclei found in the natural state on Earth, while the orange and light grey areas show the 2 800 nuclei synthesized so far in the laboratory. Beyond feature the nuclei predicted by theory to exist in the Universe.

    The search for exotic nuclei

    The laboratory is at the cutting edge of research into exotic nuclei, so-called because they are not among the 291 stable isotopes found in the natural state on Earth. Over a hundred such nuclei have already been discovered, synthesized and studied. Once SPIRAL2 begins operation, it will become possible to produce and study new exotic nuclei at GANIL, enabling the facility to compete in the global race to produce super-heavy nuclei (nuclei with an atomic number, in other words number of protons, exceeding 110). For instance, GANIL will be able to produce new elements surpassing Oganesson (Og) the heaviest to date with 118 protons, and whose synthesis by a Russian laboratory was verified in December 2015.

    Buried nine meters underground, the various instruments making up the first phase of SPIRAL2 will begin operation progressively. They will not replace but rather extend GANIL’s existing facilities, whose area will increase from 11,000 m² to around 20,000 m². The project was divided into several phases so as to take budgetary constraints and safety clearance procedures into account.

    On November 3rd, 2016, the first phase, which is set to continue until 2019, will be marked by the inauguration of the brand new linear accelerator LINAC, and the two ion sources and injector that will feed into it.
    The first source will produce beams of heavy ions from elements ranging from carbon to uranium. “The heavy ion beams produced by this source will be ten to a hundred times more powerful than those currently available at GANIL,” explains Jean-Charles Thomas, a CNRS researcher at the site. “The beams will be used mainly to produce (exotic) radioactive nuclei by fusion reactions.”

    The second source will produce beams of lighter particles: protons, deuterons (nuclei made up of a proton and a neutron) and alpha particles (helium-4 nuclei, comprising two protons and two neutrons). “Beams of lightweight particles such as these are not currently available at GANIL,” Thomas points out. “They will be used principally to generate powerful beams of neutrons.” The beams of heavy ions or lightweight particles will then enter the radio-frequency quadrupole (RFQ), whose role is to accelerate the ions up to 4% of light speed, while separating them into packets suitable for injection into the accelerator.

    4
    The new LINAC accelerator comprises 19 cryomodules, each containing one or two acceleration cavities.
    2 P. STROPPA/CEA/CNRS

    From pure research to social applications

    At the heart of the SPIRAL2 facilities, the LINAC linear accelerator is made up of a sequence of 19 cryomodules containing superconducting cavities that operate at 4.5 K (-270 °C). The whole assembly will accelerate the particles to energies of up to 25% of the speed of light, while heavy ions will reach 18% of light speed. Depending on their nature, the high-energy beams will be sent to two new experimental areas, NFS (Neutrons For Science) and S3 (Super Separator Spectrometer), which are due to begin operation shortly.

    NFS, which will get underway in 2017, will be used to study the reactions brought about by fast neutrons in next-generation nuclear reactors, as well as the effects of neutron irradiation in the fields of healthcare and materials. The S3 area, due to become operational in 2019, will use beams of heavy ions to generate and study the exotic nuclei produced in nuclear fusion reactions.

    “In fundamental terms, SPIRAL2 let us elucidate the structure and behavior of atomic nuclei produced under extreme conditions,” says Julien Piot, a CNRS physicist involved with S3 at GANIL.”It should also confirm the existence of certain ‘magic numbers’ of protons/neutrons, as well as that of a possible island of stability for super-heavy nuclei.”

    However, SPIRAL2 will also have applications including the treatment of radioactive waste, the production of isotopes for nuclear medicine, and the study of the impact of neutrons on materials and living organisms.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    CNRS encourages collaboration between specialists from different disciplines in particular with the university thus opening up new fields of enquiry to meet social and economic needs. CNRS has developed interdisciplinary programs which bring together various CNRS departments as well as other research institutions and industry.

    Interdisciplinary research is undertaken in the following domains:

    Life and its social implications
    Information, communication and knowledge
    Environment, energy and sustainable development
    Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials
    Astroparticles: from particles to the Universe

     
  • richardmitnick 12:37 pm on December 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: After Multiple Attempts NASA Launches Satellites With San Antonio Roots, Particle Physics, , Texas Standard   

    From SwRI via Texas Standard: “After Multiple Attempts, NASA Launches Satellites With San Antonio Roots” 

    SwRI bloc

    Southwest Research Institute

    1

    Texas Standard

    Dec 15, 2016
    Paul Flahive

    1
    NASA

    This Morning NASA launched the first satellite designed and fabricated by San Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute. When the Orbital ATK l-1011 “Stargazer” released a Pegasus XL rocket this morning it took a big step in the field of hurricane analysis scientists say. It also marked the beginning of a new field for San Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute, who built the eight micro-satellites that made up todays payload.

    The Southwest Research Institute plans to double the 22 million dollars in research dollars it uses for space science based on its spacecraft research over the next ten years. According to the executive director of SwRI’s Space System Directorate Mike McLelland, CYGNSS’ launch marks a new path for the organization,

    “In fact this institution is an institution of firsts in space systems. We were the first Med-X mission. We were the P.I. for the first ‘New Frontiers’ with Pluto fast flyby. So we pride ourselves on being first, and tackling those tough problems.”

    Southwest Research is bidding on 22 more small satellite projects. Small satellites make up anything from 10 kilograms to 250 kilograms in weight. They won’t be building traditional satellite projects in the near future, but ones more akin to today’s CYGNSS launch, which were in the 60 pound range.

    All eight satellites that made up CYGNSS along with the launch cost $150 million. By comparison the GOES-R mission that launched last month was a billion dollars just for the one traditional space satellite, which was the size of a couple of cars. McLelland says small satellites are the future of the industry.

    “There’s 3600 satellites scheduled to launch in the next decade, small satellites, that’s almost a 362 percent increase from the last decade.”

    McLelland believes SwRI’s expertise in space systems will allow them to make a mark in small satellites especially in the medium-earth orbit field where high radiation rules out off-the-shelf solutions. SwRI can manufacture those solutions where others might not have the knowledge.

    This plan has been developing for more than a decade, McLelland says,

    “We have been working on expanding for at least 15 years. We worked on CYGNSS, or the bus that makes up CYGNSS for ten years before we got that first contract.”

    SwRI will next build a cubesat, or a even smaller satellite, for the National Science Foundation. It is called the CuSP, launches in two years, and will measure solar particles.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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    SwRI Campus

    Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is an independent, nonprofit applied research and development organization. The staff of nearly 2,800 specializes in the creation and transfer of technology in engineering and the physical sciences. SwRI’s technical divisions offer a wide range of technical expertise and services in such areas as engine design and development, emissions certification testing, fuels and lubricants evaluation, chemistry, space science, nondestructive evaluation, automation, mechanical engineering, electronics, and more.

     
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