October 20, 2017

Review: Beyond the God Particle by Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill

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What’s the ‘next big thing’ in particle physics?

In early July 2012, the announcement came out of Geneva Switzerland that the Higgs boson, a.k.a. the “God Particle” had been caught in the act by researchers working at the Large Hadron Collider. [Read more...]

Review: The Quantum Universe by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw.

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Quantum physics is perhaps the most arcane field of research out there today. It’s a field where particles pop in and out of existence, actions happen at a distance, and cats in boxes appear to be both alive and dead depending on the actions of the observer. Although there has been much written on the odd world of quantum physics, there are very few books out there for the curious layperson. [Read more...]

2011: The Year in Science.

No matter what your field or discipline was, 2011 stands as an amazing year for the history books. Change and transition seems to be the watch-word as regimes have been overthrown, the US space program sits at a crossroads, and cultural and social change has taken place worldwide.
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Review: Quantum Man by Lawrence M. Krauss.

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Once a generation or so, a mind comes along that not only spans the interdisciplinary chasms, but also propels our insight ahead by generations. Such a mind belonged to physicist Richard Feynman, the subject of this week’s review, Quantum Man by Lawrence M. Krauss out by Norton books as part of their Great Discoveries series. [Read more...]

Review: Cycles of Time by Roger Penrose.

A real mind-bender of a summer read!

The science of cosmology is often the study of counter-intuitives. Why are we here? Where did it all come from? Are the multiverses infinite in number, with infinite possibilities, such as intelligent tentacled canines and/or Paris Hilton as president (it does explain the bizarre reality that is our current iteration of our universe, I know). Enter one of the foremost thinkers on the subject, physicist Roger Penrose and his most recent work, Cycles of Time. Dr Penrose draws upon some of the most recent findings in cosmology as a science that has moved from one largely of philosophy to one of hard science just within the last century. [Read more...]

Review: Massive by Ian Sample.

Out from Virgin Books!

Out from Virgin Books!


    A great scientific revolution may be upon us. This week we look at Massive: The Hunt or the God Particle by Ian Sample. Out from Virgin Books, Massive can be said to be a book over 13 billion years in the making. At the heart of the search lies a simple particle: the Higgs-boson, a hypothetical particle that imparts mass on the universe. [Read more...]

29.05.10: CERN Moves into New Sub-Atomic Territory.

The LHC tunnel. (Credit: CERN/LHC/Maximilien Brice).

The LHC tunnel. (Credit: CERN/LHC/Maximilien Brice).


    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is starting to show its stuff. Earlier this year, scientists at the CERN institute on the Swiss-French border powered LHC into uncharted territory, conducting proton collisions in the 7 trillion electron volt (TeV) range.  This is a first for particle physics. One again, the world didn’t end in a dark matter strangelet, a super-massive black hole did not emerge and burrow to the center of our planet, and time travelers from the future did not emerge to sabotage the collider.

    The plan now is to run the LHC at the 7 TeV range for a period of 18 months to 2 years to gain data over known particles and check their agreement with standard particle physics, so that the search for the unknown can begin. Top of the most-wanted list is the Higgs-Boson, an undiscovered particle predicted by super-symmetry. There is a chance that the LHC will nab the Higgs-Boson in its first run if it inhabits the mass range of 160 giga-electron volts (GeV). This is doubtful, but not out of the realm of possibility, since current capabilities go down to 400 GeV. When at full power, the LHC will push those sensitivities down to 800 GeV. The sensitivity of the data measured is expected to be of the level of one inverse femtobarn. This is equal to 1 x 10-43 of a meter, or one trillionth of the diameter of a uranium nucleus. Eventual LHC runs envision detection of exotic particles all the way up into the 2 TeV range.

After the current 7TeV run is completed, a one year shut down will occur for maintenance and upgrades. The subsequent run will see the LHC operating in the 14TeV range for 8 month periods, with 4 month maintenance cycle. The LHC promises to solve the mysteries of super symmetry as well as the questions of dark matter and baryonic matter formation in the early universe. And let’s not forget the concept of string theory that is currently badly in need of observational proof. Along with the LHC, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to be placed on the International Space Station later this year on the final shuttle flight promises to answer some key questions in particle physics. Could we have a Grand Unified “Theory of Everything” that you could fit onto a t-shirt in the next few years? Stay tuned!