particle physicists – Polkinghorne http://polkinghorne.org/ Sun, 13 Mar 2022 14:21:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://polkinghorne.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/icon-2022-01-25T202759.511-150x150.png particle physicists – Polkinghorne http://polkinghorne.org/ 32 32 Brunel backed to play his part in the future of particle physics https://polkinghorne.org/brunel-backed-to-play-his-part-in-the-future-of-particle-physics/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 12:05:58 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/brunel-backed-to-play-his-part-in-the-future-of-particle-physics/ Brunel University London has been supported by funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to play its part in the future of particle physics research. The university is one of 18 UK institutions to receive a share of a new £60million fund, which the STFC hopes will keep the UK at the forefront […]]]>

Brunel University London has been supported by funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to play its part in the future of particle physics research.

The university is one of 18 UK institutions to receive a share of a new £60million fund, which the STFC hopes will keep the UK at the forefront of physics, answering some of the questions most fundamental scientists while supporting the next generation of particle physicists. .

The funding will allow Brunel to expand his work at the famous Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where researchers and university students have long worked on some of the biggest experiments in the world.

This work includes maintaining and operating the enormous Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Silicon Tracker, a detector that allows scientists to track the momentum of charged particles.

“The Silicon Tracker is at the heart of CERN’s CMS experiment and is one of the largest silicon devices ever built – it measures around 200 square meters. About the size of a tennis court,” said Professor Akram Khan, professor of experimental particle physics at Brunel.

“Its main function in life is to measure particle tracks. When you get a high-energy collision, you get secondary particles from those collisions – and we help determine the trajectory the particles are taking and where they’re coming from.

Using the Silicon Tracker, CERN scientists can track the position of a particle to about 10 microns, or about the width of a human hair.

The new STFC funding will also allow Brunel students and early career researchers to continue working with CERN, where they have already had the opportunity to work on some of the organization’s largest projects.

“Our students have the chance to work on really advanced technologies, such as the electronics of the trigger system. These are bespoke electronic devices that don’t exist anywhere else,” Prof Khan said.

“They may also be involved in testing algorithms, and sometimes developing and tweaking algorithms. But I think the important thing is to get the algorithms and hardware working in real time – they can really get your hands dirty!”

The STFC is one of the main research funding bodies in the UK, supporting particle physicists working in a variety of fields including dark matter, neutrinos and proton decay.

Announcing the funding, Professor Grahame Blair, Executive Director of Programs at STFC, said: “STFC continues to support the experimental particle physics community in the UK by answering fundamental questions about our universe.

“Grants are essential to support technicians, engineers and academics in their skills and expertise in the field, while encouraging career development in basic research with universities and international collaborators.

“This investment supports the UK physics community and enables the UK to remain a leader in the field of experimental particle physics.

Reported by:

Press office, media relations

+44 (0)1895 268965
press-office@brunel.ac.uk

]]>
Lancaster receives £2.9m for particle physics research https://polkinghorne.org/lancaster-receives-2-9m-for-particle-physics-research/ Thu, 10 Mar 2022 13:14:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/lancaster-receives-2-9m-for-particle-physics-research/ Lancaster University has received £2.9 million from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as part of its ongoing support for the particle physics research community in the UK. This funding helps keep the UK at the forefront of answering some of the most important and complex scientific questions and supports the next generation of […]]]>

Lancaster University has received £2.9 million from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as part of its ongoing support for the particle physics research community in the UK.

This funding helps keep the UK at the forefront of answering some of the most important and complex scientific questions and supports the next generation of UK particle physicists.

The funding will allow the Experimental Particle Physics Group at Lancaster to continue its world-class research to study phenomena in particle physics with a focus on determining the dominance of matter over antimatter in the Universe, precise measurements of the best current theoretical description of particle physics. (the “standard model”) as well as theories that go beyond this theory.

The program uses facilities around the world including CERN (Switzerland/France), Fermilab (USA), JPARC (Japan) and SNOLab (Canada) and the group participates in and leads many activities at CERN (ATLAS and NA62 ) and neutrino ( DUNE, T2K, HK, MicroBooNE, SBND).

Professor Roger Jones of Lancaster University said: “At a time of very tight budgets, we are pleased to have increased our grant support and will be able to continue a broad and exciting program addressing the fundamental questions of particle physics.

Particle physics studies the world at the smallest possible distance scales and at the highest attainable energies, seeking answers to fundamental questions about the structure of matter and the composition of the Universe.

Ten years after British researchers contributed to the Nobel Prize-winning detection of the Higgs boson, some of the questions the community is struggling to answer include:

  • What is the Universe made of and why?
  • What is the underlying nature of neutrinos?
  • Why is there an imbalance between matter and antimatter in the Universe?
  • How to detect dark matter?
  • Are there any new particles or particle interactions we can find?

Professor Grahame Blair, Executive Director of Programs at STFC, said:

“The STFC continues to support the experimental particle physics community in the UK by answering fundamental questions about our Universe.

“Grants are essential to support technicians, engineers and academics in their skills and expertise in the field, while encouraging career development in basic research with universities and international collaborators.

“This investment supports the UK physics community and enables the UK to continue to lead the field of experimental particle physics.”

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.

]]>
University of Sheffield researchers awarded over £2.6m to support particle physics research | News https://polkinghorne.org/university-of-sheffield-researchers-awarded-over-2-6m-to-support-particle-physics-research-news/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 13:13:51 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/university-of-sheffield-researchers-awarded-over-2-6m-to-support-particle-physics-research-news/ Physicists at the University of Sheffield have been awarded more than £2.6 million to answer fundamental questions about the composition of the universe. Physicists from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy have been awarded £2.68 million for pioneering research aimed at answering some of the biggest and most complex questions in science […]]]>

Physicists at the University of Sheffield have been awarded more than £2.6 million to answer fundamental questions about the composition of the universe.

  • Physicists from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy have been awarded £2.68 million for pioneering research aimed at answering some of the biggest and most complex questions in science
  • The funding is part of a wider £60m investment from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to keep the UK at the forefront of global particle physics research and to support the next generation of British particle physicists.
  • The grant will support high-level work in the particle physics group that combines experimental accelerator particle physics, neutrino physics, and particle astrophysics with a strong focus on impact

Physicists at the University of Sheffield have been awarded more than £2.6 million to answer fundamental questions about the composition of the universe.

The £2.68million grant, from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), is part of a wider £60million investment to keep the UK at the forefront of global research by particle physics and to support the next generation of particle physicists.

Particle physics is the study of the world both at the smallest possible scales and at the highest attainable energies, seeking answers to fundamental questions about the structure of matter and the composition of the Universe.

Professor Lee Thompson, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, will lead the institute’s particle physics programme, which aims to answer fundamental questions such as:

  • “What is the Universe made of and why?”
  • “Why is the Universe made of matter and not anti-matter? »

Among the activities of the particle physics group is the search for dark matter – a hypothetical form of matter thought to make up about 85% (five-sixths) of the matter in the universe. Although it was first discovered in 1933, it has still never been observed directly.

Elsewhere, the Sheffield team is taking part in the large multi-purpose ATLAS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to search for new particles. Other team members are collaborating on next-generation neutrino experiments in Japan and the United States to observe subtle differences between particles and antiparticles.

Professor Lee Thompson, Principal Investigator for Sheffield from the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: “This funding will have a significant impact on our efforts to answer some of the most important and fundamental questions about the Universe.”

“We are working in collaboration with colleagues around the world on a wide range of pioneering experiments to help us better understand the nature of matter and discover hitherto elusive dark matter. STFC funding will allow us to continue our groundbreaking work here in Sheffield and get one step closer to answering some of the most important and complex questions in science.

The STFC investment will fund teams from a total of 18 UK universities to conduct cutting-edge research in particle physics over the next three years.

Professor Grahame Blair, Executive Director of Programs at STFC, said: “STFC continues to support the experimental particle physics community in the UK by answering fundamental questions about our universe.

“Grants are essential to support technicians, engineers and academics in their skills and expertise in the field, while encouraging career development in basic research with universities and international collaborators.

“This investment supports the UK physics community and enables the UK to continue to lead the field of experimental particle physics.”

The STFC funds UK particle physicists working on a wide range of experiments around the world. Research teams are working to solve groundbreaking challenges in particle physics, including the race to detect dark matter, the study of neutrino oscillations, and the search for proton decay – all key questions in fundamental physics to which we still have no answers.


Contact

For more information, please contact:

]]>
Liverpool at the forefront of global particle physics research with £6.59m investment – ​​News https://polkinghorne.org/liverpool-at-the-forefront-of-global-particle-physics-research-with-6-59m-investment-%e2%80%8b%e2%80%8bnews/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 08:13:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/liverpool-at-the-forefront-of-global-particle-physics-research-with-6-59m-investment-%e2%80%8b%e2%80%8bnews/ Physicists at the University of Liverpool are receiving £6.59m from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as part of a £60m investment to continue supporting the physics research community particles in the UK. The funding helps keep Liverpool and the UK at the forefront of answering some of the most important and complex scientific […]]]>

Physicists at the University of Liverpool are receiving £6.59m from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as part of a £60m investment to continue supporting the physics research community particles in the UK.

The funding helps keep Liverpool and the UK at the forefront of answering some of the most important and complex scientific questions and supports the next generation of UK particle physicists.

Alongside Oxford and Imperial College, the University of Liverpool is one of the largest of 18 STFC-funded university projects to conduct cutting-edge research in particle physics over the next three years.

Liverpool physicists will focus on finding answers to some of the most pressing questions in particle physics, such as understanding the nature of dark matter or why we live in a universe that seems almost entirely devoid of dark particles. ‘antimatter.

To do this, they will continue work on several experiments in progress and under development. These include experiments at the Large Hardon Collider at CERN and neutrino experiments, precision muon experiments and dark matter research at laboratories in the United States, Europe and Japan. .

Recent hints from different experiments have offered tantalizing clues that new breakthroughs in particle physics could come from experiments that are underway or from experiments already in the works.

The University of Liverpool Principal Investigator for this award is Professor Joost Vossebeld who said: “This funding is fantastic news for physicists at Liverpool and a testament to both the cutting-edge research we are undertaking and the leading role Liverpool is playing in developing the next generation of experiments in particle physics. Success belongs to everyone in the Liverpool group, be they academics, students, engineers, technicians or computer scientists. We are all very excited to see what the next three years have in store for us.

Professor Grahame Blair, Executive Director of Programs at the STFC, said: “The STFC continues to support the experimental particle physics community in the UK by answering fundamental questions about our Universe.

“Grants are essential to support technicians, engineers and academics in their skills and expertise in the field, while encouraging career development in basic research with universities and international collaborators.

“This investment supports the UK physics community and enables the UK to continue to lead the field of experimental particle physics.”

The STFC funds UK particle physicists working on a wide range of experiments around the world. UK-funded research teams are working to solve groundbreaking challenges in particle physics, including the race to detect dark matter, the study of neutrino oscillations and the search for proton decay – all key questions in fundamental physics that we still have not answered.

More information on STFC’s $60 million investment in global physics research can be found here.

]]>
Some thoughts on the Standard Model of Particle Physics – Kashmir Reader https://polkinghorne.org/some-thoughts-on-the-standard-model-of-particle-physics-kashmir-reader/ Sat, 05 Feb 2022 19:58:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/some-thoughts-on-the-standard-model-of-particle-physics-kashmir-reader/ It doesn’t answer the most fundamental mystery: what constitutes the dark energy and dark matter that make up the majority of our universe? The Standard Model became the fundamental model of elementary particle physics in the second half of the 20th century. It is considered today as the best description of the constituent elements of […]]]>

It doesn’t answer the most fundamental mystery: what constitutes the dark energy and dark matter that make up the majority of our universe?

The Standard Model became the fundamental model of elementary particle physics in the second half of the 20th century. It is considered today as the best description of the constituent elements of the universe. It explains how quarks (which form protons and neutrons) and leptons (electrons, etc.) make up all known matter. It is also an explanation of how quarks and leptons are influenced by the exchange of intermediate force carriers. It describes three of the four fundamental interactions that sum up the structure of matter up to the measurement of 10 high at -18 meter. It is in short a quantum theory of three basic theories of electromagnetic interaction, strong interaction and weak interaction. The development of the Standard Model has been led by a large number of experimental and theoretical physicists alike. The structure or mathematical framework of the Standard Model is provided by quantum field theory
According to the standard model, all matter is made up of three types of elementary particles: leptons, quarks and their mediators. There are six leptons divided into three generations. There are also six anti-leptons, so the total number of leptons is 12. Similarly, the number of quarks is six, each of which comes in three colors (this color bears no resemblance to the concept of color in our daily life), which represents 36 quarks in total, including the antiquarks. Quarks like leptons have three generations. Finally, for each interaction, we have a mediator. The carrier of the electromagnetic interaction is a massless photon while the carriers of the weak interaction are called intermediate vector bosons, which are two charged Ws and a neutral heavy Z. Finally, for the strong interaction exchange, we have 8 gluons.
The missing link of the Standard Model, the Higgs boson theoretically predicted by Peter Higgs in the early 1960s, which explains the mass of elementary particles via the Higgs mechanism, involving chiral symmetry breaking, was discovered in 2012 at Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. The marvelous achievement of the Standard Model can be measured by the simple fact that it has led to more than 50 Nobel Prizes in Physics so far.
Loopholes:
Even though the Standard Model is currently the best description we have of the subatomic world, but despite its robust predictions, there is a consensus among physicists that the Standard Model is neither complete nor the final theory. “There is a certain degree of ugliness in the standard model,” says Steve Weinberg, one of its main architects. First, the standard model is completely silent about dark energy and dark matter. This does not answer the question of what constitutes the dark energy and dark matter that make up the majority of matter in our universe. Second, it fails to explain neutrino oscillations and, more importantly, it fails to incorporate one of the most fundamental interactions, gravity, which explains the large-scale structure of the universe. At a more fundamental level, he fails to explain why there are precisely three generations of quarks and leptons. Likewise, the difference in masses of the elementary particles that they acquire due to their interaction with the Higgs field via the Higgs boson remains a mystery.
Possible output:
In order to accommodate many of the shortcomings of the Standard Model listed above, physicists over time have come up with different theories and approaches. All of these theories and approaches fall under the category “Physics Beyond the Standard Model”. Theories that lie beyond the Standard Model include the various extensions of supersymmetry and entirely new explanations and theories such as string theory, looping quantum gravity, and extra dimensions. But the theory that has gained most prominence among them is string theory. String theory has captured the imagination of a generation of particle physicists over the past 40 years. String theory not only promises the reconciliation of quantum mechanics with Einstein’s general relativity and eliminates the infinities that plague quantum field theory, it also provides a unified theory of everything from which all elementary particle physics , including gravity, would emerge as an inevitable consequence. But the bottleneck of particle physics, as string theorist and Nobel laureate David Gross puts it, is experimental, not theoretical, so in the absence of experimental evidence to back up his predictions, the future of string theory seems grim, or at least you have to cross your fingers. If string theory lives up to expectations, which seems unlikely, it will be the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

—The author is a physics student
[email protected]





]]>
The Absolutely Incredible Theory of Almost Everything https://polkinghorne.org/the-absolutely-incredible-theory-of-almost-everything/ Sat, 15 Jan 2022 08:00:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/the-absolutely-incredible-theory-of-almost-everything/ How does our world work at the subatomic level? The standard model. What a boring name for the most accurate scientific theory known to human beings. More than a quarter of the Nobel Prizes in Physics of the last century are direct inputs or direct results of the Standard Model. Still, its name suggests that […]]]>

How does our world work at the subatomic level?

The standard model. What a boring name for the most accurate scientific theory known to human beings.

More than a quarter of the Nobel Prizes in Physics of the last century are direct inputs or direct results of the Standard Model. Still, its name suggests that if you can afford a few extra bucks a month, you should buy the upgrade. As a theoretical physicist, I would prefer The Absolutely Incredible Theory of almost anything. That’s what the standard model really is.

Many remember the enthusiasm of scientists and the media over the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson. But this high-profile event didn’t come out of nowhere — it capped a five-decade unbeaten streak for the standard model. All fundamental forces except gravity are included. All attempts to overthrow it to demonstrate in the laboratory that it needs substantial reworking – and there have been many over the past 50 years – have failed.

In short, the standard model answers this question: what is it all made of and how does it fit together?

The smallest building blocks

You know, of course, that the world around us is made of molecules, and molecules are made of atoms. Chemist Dmitri Mendeleev discovered in the 1860s how to arrange all of the atoms – aka the elements – in the periodic table that you probably studied in college. But there are 118 different chemical elements. There’s antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium… and 114 others.

Periodic table

But these elements can be broken down further. Credit: Ruben Vera Koster

Physicists like simple things. We want to boil things down to their essence, a few basics. More than a hundred chemical elements is not simple. The ancients believed that everything was made up of only five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. Five is much simpler than 118. It’s also wrong.

In 1932, scientists knew that all these atoms were made up of only three particles: neutrons, protons and electrons. Neutrons and protons are tightly bound in the nucleus. Electrons, thousands of times lighter, whirl around the nucleus at speeds close to the speed of light. The physicists Planck, Bohr, Schroedinger, Heisenberg and their friends had invented a new science – quantum mechanics – to explain this movement.

It would have been a satisfying place to stop. Just three particles. Three is even easier than five. But how to hold together? Negatively charged electrons and positively charged protons are bound by electromagnetism. But the protons are all packed into the nucleus, and their positive charges should powerfully push them away. Neutrons can’t help.

What binds these protons and these neutrons? “Divine intervention” a man told me on a Toronto street corner; he had a pamphlet, I could read all about it. But this scenario seemed to pose a lot of problems, even for a divine being – to keep an eye on every one of the 108° protons and neutrons in the universe and bend them to his will.

Expand the Particle Zoo

Meanwhile, nature has cruelly refused to limit its particle zoo to just three. Really four, because you would have to count the photon, the particle of light described by Einstein. Four changed to five when Anderson measured electrons with a positive charge – positrons – hitting Earth from space. At least Dirac had predicted these first antimatter particles. Five became six when the pawn, which Yukawa believed would hold the core together, was found.

Then came the muon – 200 times heavier than the electron, but otherwise a twin. “Who ordered this? II Rabi joked. That sums it all up. Number seven. Not only not simple, redundant.

In the 1960s, there were hundreds of “fundamental” particles. Instead of the neatly organized periodic table, there were only long lists of baryons (heavy particles like protons and neutrons), mesons (like Yukawa pions) and leptons (light particles like the electron and the elusive neutrinos) – with no organization and no guiding principles.

Into this breach has slipped the standard model. It wasn’t an overnight flash of brilliance. No Archimedes jumped out of a bathtub shouting “eureka”. Instead, there was a series of crucial ideas from a few key people in the mid-1960s that turned this quagmire into a simple theory, and then five decades of experimental verification and theoretical elaboration.

Standard model of elementary particles

The standard model of elementary particles provides a list of ingredients for everything around us. Credit: National Fermi Accelerator Laboratory

Quarks. They come in six varieties which we call flavors. Like ice cream, except it’s not as tasty. Instead of vanilla, chocolate and so on, we have high, low, weird, charm, low and high. In 1964, Gell-Mann and Zweig taught us the recipes: mix and match three quarks to get a baryon. Protons are two ups and one down quark bound together; neutrons are two lows and one high. Choose a quark and an antiquark to get a meson. A pion is an up or down quark bound to an anti-up or an anti-down. All the material of our daily life is composed only of quarks, anti-quarks and electrons.

Simple. Well, it’s simple, because keeping those quarks bound is a feat. They are so closely related to each other that you never find a single quark or antiquark. The theory of this binding, and the particles called gluons (laughs) that are responsible for it, is called quantum chromodynamics. It is an essential piece of the standard model, but mathematically difficult, even posing an unsolved problem of basic mathematics. We physicists do our best to calculate with it, but we are still learning how.

The other aspect of the standard model is “a lepton model”. It’s the name of Steven Weinberg’s landmark 1967 paper that brought together quantum mechanics with the essential knowledge of how particles interact and organized the two into a single theory. He incorporated the familiar electromagnetism, associated it with what physicists called “the weak force” that causes certain radioactive decays, and explained that they were different aspects of the same force. It incorporated the Higgs mechanism to give mass to fundamental particles.

Since then, the Standard Model has predicted the results of experiment after experiment, including the discovery of several varieties of quarks and W and Z bosons, heavy particles that are to weak interactions what the photon is to electromagnetism. The possibility that neutrinos are not massless was overlooked in the 1960s, but slipped easily into the Standard Model in the 1990s, a few decades later.

CERN particle accelerator Higgs boson decay SM

3D view of an event recorded at the CERN particle accelerator showing the expected characteristics of the decay of the SM Higgs boson into a pair of photons (dashed yellow lines and green towers). Credit: McCauley, Thomas; Taylor, Lucas; for the CMS CERN collaboration

Discovering the Higgs boson in 2012, long predicted by the Standard Model and long sought after, was a thrill but not a surprise. It was yet another crucial victory for the Standard Model over the dark forces that particle physicists have repeatedly warned were looming on the horizon. Concerned that the Standard Model did not adequately embody their expectations of simplicity, worried about its mathematical consistency, or anticipating the possible need to incorporate the force of gravity, physicists made numerous proposals for theories beyond of the norm. Model. These go by exciting names like Grand Unified Theories, Supersymmetry, Technicolor, and String Theory.

Unfortunately, at least for their proponents, theories beyond the Standard Model have not yet successfully predicted a new experimental phenomenon or an experimental divergence from the Standard Model.

After five decades, far from needing an upgrade, the Standard Model deserves to be celebrated as an absolutely incredible theory of almost everything.

Written by Glenn Starkman, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Case Western Reserve University.

This article first appeared in The Conversation.The conversation

]]>
Beate Heinemann becomes the new director in charge of particle physics at DESY https://polkinghorne.org/beate-heinemann-becomes-the-new-director-in-charge-of-particle-physics-at-desy/ Tue, 07 Dec 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/beate-heinemann-becomes-the-new-director-in-charge-of-particle-physics-at-desy/ A professor of physics completes the board of directors of the Research Center First woman on the board of DESY: Beate Heinemann. Image: DESY / Angela Pfeiffer Beate Heinemann, DESY Principal Investigator and Professor of Physics at the University of Fribourg, will take over as Director of DESY’s High Energy Physics Division on February 1. […]]]>

A professor of physics completes the board of directors of the Research Center

First woman on the board of DESY: Beate Heinemann. Image: DESY / Angela Pfeiffer

Beate Heinemann, DESY Principal Investigator and Professor of Physics at the University of Fribourg, will take over as Director of DESY’s High Energy Physics Division on February 1. This was unanimously decided by DESY’s supervisory body, the Foundation Council, at its meeting on 7 December. Heinemann is the first female director in the history of DESY.

“Beate Heinemann is a real asset to the research centre,” says Dr. Volkmar Dietz of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Chairman of the Foundation Board. “With her international experience, vast knowledge, reputation and forward-looking ideas, she will certainly lead the field of particle physics research into the next exciting era. As the first female CEO, she will mark also the DESY story!”

Beate Heinemann is a true Hamburger, having grown up very close to DESY in Hamburg. She cut her teeth in particle physics experiments and at universities and research centers around the world. After completing her PhD at the University of Hamburg on an experiment at DESY’s HERA accelerator, she joined the CDF experiment at Fermilab near Chicago as a scientist at the University of Liverpool before becoming a professor at the ‘University of California at Berkeley working on the ATLAS experiment, a giant particle detector at CERN in Geneva. From 2013 to 2017, she was deputy spokesperson for the ATLAS experiment. She then returned to Germany to continue her research with ATLAS as a senior scientist at DESY and a professor at the University of Freiburg.

“I am very pleased that Beate Heinemann will join the management of DESY in the future”, says Helmut Dosch, Director of DESY. “His excellent expertise in particle physics and his experience in managing large international teams are perfectly suited to the many facets of fundamental research at DESY and the Helmholtz Association. We are proud to welcome him to the team and have looking forward to shaping the future with her.”

Heinemann succeeds Joachim Mnich, who joined European research center CERN as research director in early 2021, and Ties Behnke, who led the research division as interim director. At DESY, the particle physics division includes not only the particle physicists and technicians involved in the international experiments, but also theorists, the DESY computer department, the library and many service groups such as electronics development.

“DESY is a world-class laboratory and I am thrilled to be part of shaping its present and its future,” says Heinemann. “Many topics and projects are close to my heart – from fundamental research and developments in future technologies to sustainability and diversity. The next decade offers many exciting challenges, both scientifically and socially, and I look forward to the decisive contributions DESY will meet these challenges.”

We spoke to the new director and asked her about her plans and ideas.

What are your plans for your new research center?

As Director, you are not only responsible for your own division, but for DESY as a whole. DESY as a whole is close to my heart. First of all, I think it is very important that we maintain and further expand our pioneering role as a center for fundamental research for the study of matter.

We know that many of the major breakthrough developments and changes stem from basic research. This is why I think it should continue to be the basis of research at DESY – but we also have actions and a research mandate in application-oriented fields, for example climate, digitalization or health . DESY can contribute with all its research areas, for example through new accelerator technologies, new methods for developing detectors or new facilities for photon science. And we must also prioritize sustainability on campus.

Another topic close to my heart, both personally and through my new office, is diversity. DESY must remain a cosmopolitan and diverse laboratory, and there is still room for improvement in many areas, for example the number of women in leadership positions.

And what about your own research division?

Of course, I also have ideas for particle physics, which is based on several very strong pillars at DESY: we participate in international experiments, have our own very interesting experiments on campus, a strong theory group and we are pioneers of digital transformation with our IT sector. . Thanks to our cutting-edge research, we are also very attractive to young scientists who come to us from countries all over the world to do their PhD, postdoctoral research or take up a staff position. We must continue to evolve to stay at the international forefront and review our strategy for the next decade.

In our detector assembly facility here on campus, for example, we are building several core components for the upgrade of experiments as part of the LHC accelerator expansion. DESY has taken on a huge responsibility – it is important that we deliver!

But we can also be proud of the exciting experiments we carry out here at DESY in the framework of international collaboration. The ALPS II experiment will begin next year. ALPS searches for dark matter using small, elusive particles called axions, which also play a role in several other experiments that are on DESY’s wish and planning list. If they all came, which I will of course defend, DESY would be world-leading in the very dynamic field of axion research. The excellent infrastructure we have at DESY as a national research laboratory for particle physics plays a major role here.

We can also be very proud of our theory. It rightly enjoys an excellent reputation around the world, based in particular on the fact that our experts cover more than 60 orders of magnitude in physics – from string theory to cosmology. With the future Wolfgang Pauli Center, it will be even larger and more multidisciplinary.

In the next few years, the course will be set for the successor project to the LHC, namely the next big particle accelerator, the technology and location of which have not yet been chosen. It is very important to me that DESY also actively participates in the preparation of this project in order to maintain and expand its pioneering role.

These are just a few of my ideas and we should always be open to new ones. We have a lot of smart, creative people here, and you never know what spectacular proposition they’ll come up with next.

DESY aside – what are the things that are most important to you?

Above all, durability is very important to me. Our generation bears the responsibility now; we must act now and think climate in everything, both in research and in the development of the DESY campus and Science City Bahrenfeld.

Fundamental research is also close to my heart because not only is it extremely interesting, but it can also stimulate innovation. Take for example the mRNA vaccine, which is based on 20 years of basic research, or the accelerators, which were developed 100 years ago in particle physics and are now used worldwide to treat tumors.

But above all, I am still determined to find out how nature works and what laws of nature underlie it. In my opinion, we are now in the most exciting period in particle physics since the structure of the atom was first discovered and then understood in the early 20th century. In about forty years, physics has been completely revolutionized. At this moment, we are again entering a new energy scale, the electroweak force scale, which is closely related to the Higgs particle and gives us many questions. Studying this scale in detail now is extremely exciting and can also lead to groundbreaking discoveries that no one can even dream of today.

You were born in Hamburg and also studied here. What’s it like to become the first female director at DESY?

First of all, it is a great honor for me to be the first female director at DESY, having taken my first career steps at DESY during my university studies. In general, it is very, very important to me that women have the same opportunities and find the same conditions as men in all areas. In a modern society, we must make the most of everyone’s potential, regardless of gender, religion or social or ethnic origin.

And I’ve always stayed connected to Hamburg: I’m a big HSV fan! As the eldest of three siblings, my dad took me to the stadium from an early age, and to this day I still watch every game with him (although usually on the couch rather than in the stadium) .

DESY is one of the world’s leading particle accelerator centers and studies the structure and function of matter – from the interaction of tiny elementary particles and the behavior of new nanomaterials and vital biomolecules to the great mysteries of the universe. . The particle accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds at its sites in Hamburg and Zeuthen are unique research tools. They generate the most intense X-radiation in the world, accelerating particles to record energies and opening new windows on the universe. DESY is a member of the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest scientific association, and receives its funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (90%) and the German federal states of Hamburg and Brandenburg (10%).

]]>
Wobbling in the history of particle physics – now. Powered by Northrop Grumman https://polkinghorne.org/wobbling-in-the-history-of-particle-physics-now-powered-by-northrop-grumman/ Mon, 18 Oct 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/wobbling-in-the-history-of-particle-physics-now-powered-by-northrop-grumman/ Particle physics is the quest to discover the fundamental components of the universe by analyzing, cataloging and measuring the particles that combine to create everything. It’s no easy task – the variety and variability of these physical firmaments makes them an ever-changing puzzle that can seem completely impenetrable until a new secret is unlocked. Now, […]]]>

Particle physics is the quest to discover the fundamental components of the universe by analyzing, cataloging and measuring the particles that combine to create everything. It’s no easy task – the variety and variability of these physical firmaments makes them an ever-changing puzzle that can seem completely impenetrable until a new secret is unlocked.

Now, new research on the muon – a small electron-like particle 200 times heavier than its negatively charged cousin – could pave the way for the particle’s next pivot: oscillations.

Standard operation procedure

To help make sense of the universe and how it works, scientists created the Standard Model. It was not an easy task either. As SciTechDaily notes, while the electron was discovered in 1897, the last element in the current framework – the Higgs boson – wasn’t confirmed until 2012.

The model makes it possible to reconcile three of the four fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. It also highlights the role of quarks and leptons as the building blocks of all matter, including the familiar trio of protons, neutrons and electrons. Work on the Standard Model has shown that photons play a role in the transport of electromagnetism, while the strong force relies on gluons to ensure the stability of atomic nuclei and the weak force exploits W and Z bosons. to drive the powerful nuclear processes that keep stars burning for billions of years. year.

However, despite its usefulness, the standard model has a blind spot: gravity. While the model does an excellent job of describing which particles underlie the other three fundamental forces, gravity is conspicuously absent. This is because scientists have never been able to link a specific particle to the creation and distribution of gravity. While it plays a vital role in the workings of our universe – whether it’s counteracting the expansive tendencies of nuclear reactions within our sun or keeping our feet firmly planted on planet Earth – this apparently appealing operation simple has historically resisted deep understanding.

But new muon measurements could change all that.

Crack the code

What is important to remember from scientists – and particle physicists in particular – is that they are never satisfied with the status quo. Although the Standard Model provides a starting point for understanding the universe, obvious shortcomings in the current framework mean there is still work to be done. In practice, this work involves finding new approaches to potentially breaking the model by conducting experiments, taking measurements, and then comparing the results to what the model predicts.

The challenge? For years, the model has found the right answers, much to the frustration of physicists who know something is missing. Repeated experiments using different particle approaches have produced precise measurement after precise measurement – ​​so far. Recent follow-up work on earlier muon experiments using more advanced equipment suggests a crack in the current model and raises hope that scientists may finally have found the key to a new revolution in particle physics.

Meet the muon

So what exactly is a muon? Think electron, but heavier. Much heavier – 200 times heavier, in fact. As Science Daily notes, muons and electrons “are essentially tiny magnets with their own magnetic field.” However, unlike electrons, muons are much less stable, existing only a few millionths of a second before decaying. It is also difficult to observe muons, even during their brief stay here, because the vacuum they occupy is not empty.

“It’s your cappuccino-foam version of a vacuum, where there are virtual particles appearing and disappearing all the time,” Lawrence Gibbons, who led the Cornell team involved in the new research, told Science Daily. “And that turns out to affect the strength of a muon’s magnetic field.”

Through work at CERN in 1959, followed by more precise experiments in 1966 and 1969, and then another round at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1999, the researchers finally found something: a disconnect between the observed magnetic measurements and predicted when the muons made their way into this void. New efforts at Fermilab with more precise and advanced equipment have confirmed these findings – and could pave the way for a much more massive muon impact.

Let’s Get Physics-al

Work at CERN, Brookhaven and Fermilab all focus on the same thing: the g-2 value of the muon, which represents the amount it “wobbles” via vacuum interactions. As Jessica Esquivel, a particle physicist at Fermilab, notes, this oscillation is called the precession frequency.

“When muons enter a magnetic field, they precess or spin like a top,” she told Vox.

To measure precession, efforts at Fermilab used a powerful particle accelerator – capable of creating 20 times more muons than those previously used at CERN – to shoot an intense beam of muons into highly sensitive detectors, which measured their precession frequency. As the Standard Model predicts, this precession occurs when muons collide with virtual particles, which Esquivel describes as “a kind of ghosting of real particles.”

“We have photons going in and out and they’re just kind of like there, but not really there,” she told Vox. However, despite this recurring strangeness, these virtual particles have a physical impact on muon oscillations.

But this is where it gets really weird: Experiments at Fermilab confirm that muons flicker more than they should, according to the Standard Model. Even more exciting? Scientists don’t know why.

Stumbling our way forward

The lack of certainty here is what makes these experimental results so interesting. According to the Standard Model, g-2 muon values ​​are explainable using actual particle interactions and should produce predictable results. However, Fermilab’s efforts suggest that something else is causing this additional oscillation – something outside the current functional framework, as Esquivel and his colleagues told Vox.

And while there have been discussions about this “breaking” of the Standard Model before, it’s more about filling in the details where the data was clearly missing. Esquivel likens it to adding elements to the periodic table.

“Even back then,” she tells Vox, “they had places where they knew an item had to go, but they hadn’t been able to see it yet. That’s basically where we are now. In practice, this movement of muons opens the door to a multitude of potential operations on the particles.This unexpected oscillation could be caused by an interaction with dark matter or long-predicted dark energy particles, or it could help establish a particle-based link with the peripheral fourth fundamental gravitational force.

Esquivel simply explains the impact of this measurement of movement: “It’s once in a lifetime. We are looking for new physics and we are so close that we can taste it. A meal of muons, an extra oscillation – it happens!

Being at the forefront of change, especially in space, physics and engineering, has been part of the Northrop Grumman culture for generations. Click here to search for jobs in these areas of scientific innovation.

]]>
UNM’s QuarkNet Workshop at Explora Helps Educators Understand Particle Physics : UNM Newsroom https://polkinghorne.org/unms-quarknet-workshop-at-explora-helps-educators-understand-particle-physics-unm-newsroom/ Tue, 28 Sep 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/unms-quarknet-workshop-at-explora-helps-educators-understand-particle-physics-unm-newsroom/ The role of science in our everyday world has perhaps never been more important than in the past 18 months as a pandemic gripped the world. With that in mind, teaching the next generation of scientists is mission critical, and nurturing that interest in K-12 students is a key area for realizing big gains. It’s […]]]>

The role of science in our everyday world has perhaps never been more important than in the past 18 months as a pandemic gripped the world. With that in mind, teaching the next generation of scientists is mission critical, and nurturing that interest in K-12 students is a key area for realizing big gains. It’s a mission that the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of New Mexico take seriously.

QuarkNet, a nonprofit collaboration dedicated to developing America’s tech workforce, is an NSF-funded partnership between Fermilab and the University of Notre Dame that provides science teachers with the means to further develop their skills and to bring real research experience to classrooms across the United States.

Through a nationwide network of QuarkNet Centers, including the University of New Mexico, NSF brings together science teachers and academic researchers in active research projects in contemporary physics with focused hands-on workshops covering a variety of topics. in physics. Teachers gain experience in actual scientific research, maximizing their talents and effectiveness in the classroom; researchers achieve educational impact from their research and engagement with their local communities; and students immerse themselves in meaningful scientific research, preparing them for post-secondary education and developing essential intellectual skills.

At a recent workshop held in Albuquerque at the Explora Science Center & Childen’s Museum, QuarkNet staff Shane Wood led a group of teachers who traveled from Grants, Durango, Ft. Wingate, Roswell, Laguna-Acoma School and several in Albuquerque, including Public Academy of the Performing Arts, Desert Ridge Middle School, and Escuela del Sol Montessori, through a series of activities and experiences designed to help teachers bring real-world research experience in their classrooms.

“Our mission is really to work with teachers who, in turn, work with students. From this process, I think there are a lot of potential gains that we see happening,” said Wood, who works at the University of Notre Dame where NSF funds for QuarkNet are allocated. “We work on everything from researching our future particle physicists, who may not have known about it until they learned about it in their high school physics class, to simply having an appreciation and an informed taxpayer.

“I think the fact that students and therefore society in general have a better understanding of how science works really allows us to have a more informed public. We really have many goals along these roads, but our main mission is to work with teachers to then bring 21st century research experiences into the classroom.

“The idea is to help teachers become more aware, comfortable and interested in particle physics. We were happy to offer this workshop to all teachers of science, technology and mathematics , and that is precisely because particle physics is not so well known.” – Professor Sally Seidel, UNM Department of Physics and Astronomy

UNM’s QuarkNet program is led by Professor Sally Seidel of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Seidel’s research interests include particle physics instrumentation and high energy collider physics. She is currently working on the Atlas experiment in high energy physics at the Large Hadron Collider, the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world. Seidel has coordinated QuarkNet activities at UNM since proposing a center and became the 48th QuarkNet member in 2016.

Events at the recent QuarkNet Workshop held at Explora included a presentation given by Seidel titled “The Beauty of Particle Physics”, a basic introduction to particle physics also known as high-energy physics, which studies the most small building blocks of nature. This particular field of science is a way to learn what the universe was like just seconds after it was born, billions of years before life existed to see it first hand.

Other activities included mixing the particle game, an activity based on particle maps describing the fundamental particles and their characteristics to become familiar with the Standard Model. Another fun activity was Rolling with Rutherford where the probe and target are a number of balls lined up in a row. The activity consists of rolling another marble in the aligned area. The data then consists of calculating the diameter of the target balls to use indirect measurements to determine a parameter. Teachers also took part in a real-time experiment to visualize particle tracks in a portable cloud chamber detector. The workshop also included a presentation on the LHC and what happens there.

“The idea is to help teachers be more aware, comfortable and interested in particle physics. We were happy to bring this to all science, technology and math teachers, and that’s precisely because particle physics is not so well known,” said Seidel, who enjoys helping people understand the technological implications of particle physics. “People like Shane and I partner with community engagement events like this to engage teachers and build this science education to try to help people understand the scientific description of the world.”

Previous QuarkNet@UNM activities have included a guided behind-the-scenes technical tour of the Very Large Array, a science heritage history tour at Los Alamos, and a high school workshop with a variety of presentations where students must be teachers themselves.

Turtle Haste, who has participated in QuarkNet twice at Desert Ridge Middle School in Albuquerque, enjoyed the workshop and thinks mentoring young students in STEM fields is imperative.

“It is extremely important. We come from a generation where there is a lot of bias against women in science,” Haste said. “It took me a long time to find someone who would take me in no matter what and get me through it. If I hadn’t had that mentor, I probably would have ended up being a secretary for that period. But because I had someone like, ‘Hey, you know what? You get this, let’s go. So I think it’s really important to mentor young students.

The Quarknet@UNM program is open to all New Mexico middle and high school teachers interested in gaining research experience. For more information, visit QuarkNet@UNM.

]]>
Tiny, flickering muon just shook particle physics to its core https://polkinghorne.org/tiny-flickering-muon-just-shook-particle-physics-to-its-core/ Wed, 07 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://polkinghorne.org/tiny-flickering-muon-just-shook-particle-physics-to-its-core/ The results of one of the most eagerly awaited experiments in particle physics have arrived, and they could be about to make every researcher’s wildest dreams come true: they might, might, shatter physics. as we know it. Evidence from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago suggests a tiny subatomic particle known as the muon […]]]>

The results of one of the most eagerly awaited experiments in particle physics have arrived, and they could be about to make every researcher’s wildest dreams come true: they might, might, shatter physics. as we know it.

Evidence from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago suggests a tiny subatomic particle known as the muon wobbling far more than theory predicts. The best explanation, physicists say, is that the muon is being pushed by types of matter and energy completely unknown to physics.

]]>