Ways to weigh a neutrino
Symmetry Magazine
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6d ago
For decades scientists have tried to find a way to measure the mass of the lightest matter particle known to exist. Three new approaches now have a chance to succeed In 1980, Hamish Robertson was a tenured professor at Michigan State. He’d been there since his postdoc in 1971, and he was content. “I want to stress how valued and happy I felt there,” he says. “It was, and still is, an outstanding place.”  But he and his friend and colleague, Tom Bowles, had begun to hatch an idea that would take him far from MSU. They were devising a new experiment to measure the mass of the elusive and ..read more
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Energy consumption, cost considerations could shape future of accelerator R&D
Symmetry Magazine
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1w ago
A recent report underscores the importance of energy consumption and cost to decisions about future large-scale particle accelerator projects. The construction of a large-scale particle accelerator like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN requires a staggering investment of time, resources, and labor. To make the best use of its efforts in this and other areas of study, the particle physics community organizes recurring regional planning exercises. These discussions help the community align on research priorities in areas like neutrino, cosmic and accelerator physics. The group tasked with eva ..read more
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Feeling the universe in the ‘Particle Shrine’
Symmetry Magazine
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2w ago
A physicist, a composer and a creative technician team up to translate the unseen particles around us into a format that human bodies can understand. During his postdoc, particle physicist Teppei Katori enjoyed spending his free time at the pub, discussing physics with his colleagues. But he also loved dancing and listening to music in the nearby creative districts of Chicago. He spent his days studying neutrinos at the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. In the evenings, he ventured to the city, seeking the company of artists and musicians ..read more
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Physics books of 2022
Symmetry Magazine
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1M ago
This year’s list includes a book about an eminent physicist striving to avoid fame, two unique books for children, and a book with equations you'll actually be able to read. Elusive: How Peter Higgs Solved the Mystery of Mass, by Frank Close On the day the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics was to be announced, University of Glasgow theoretical physicist and presumed winner Peter Higgs took himself off the grid. Telling no one where he was going, Higgs left his apartment and started walking. This year, for the 10th anniversary of the discovery that cemented the physicist’s reluctant fame, prom ..read more
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First-time ATLAS measurement provides new look at Higgs
Symmetry Magazine
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2M ago
For the first time, physicists have a statistically significant measurement of the joint polarization of W and Z bosons. Luka Selem says he was always a curious kid. Growing up in France, he was given copies of Science et vie junior, a science magazine for young people, by his parents. “Since I was very young, I was always interested in quite a lot of things,” he says. “I was always asking, ‘Why? But why that? Why that, and then why that?’ I wanted to go all the way to the end. I was never satisfied by the answer.” Particle physics, the study of the fundamental particles and forces that ..read more
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Finding art in astrophysics technology
Symmetry Magazine
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2M ago
LSST Camera images provide the inspiration for artist Lennart Lahuis’s “Astromelancholia.” Throughout his artistic career, Lennart Lahuis has found inspiration in the collision between technology and nature, and in the idea that over a long enough timespan, all art is impermanent.  For one piece, “when is it that we feel the change in the air,” Lahuis built a platform that produced lines of poetry written in steam, which dissipated moments after they appeared. For others, he collected advertisements touting the durability of expensive watches and burned them, mounting and displaying the ..read more
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Madagascar’s path to neutrino physics
Symmetry Magazine
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2M ago
Laza Rakotondravohitra was the first Malagasy grad student to conduct research in neutrino physics. He and others are working to ensure he will be far from the last. Miriama Rajaoalisoa had initially planned on pursuing a career in nanotechnology after completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar. But in 2015, a scientist’s lecture about neutrinos made her change her mind. Rajaoalisoa was captivated by the elusive, ghostlike particles that the scientist described. “That’s when I decided to pursue experimental particle physics,” she says.  It wouldn’t ..read more
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Parenting in physics
Symmetry Magazine
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2M ago
Scientists discuss the challenges of being caregivers in physics and some ways they’ve seen the field change for the better. As Russell Mammei and his three kids exited the hotel pool—sandals squeaking, swimsuits dripping, new giant inflatable alligator in tow—they crossed paths with one of Mammei’s colleagues, also in town for the physics conference.  “Oh hey, J.D.,” Mammei said, as he used his free hand to herd his chlorine-soaked youngsters out of the way. It wasn’t the first time Mammei’s caregiving responsibilities had scuttled a chance for him to network. “There were several peopl ..read more
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How to maintain a physics experiment in a desert
Symmetry Magazine
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3M ago
Threats of scorching heat, walls of tumbleweed, and countless critters mean innovation is a must for the facilities manager for LIGO Hanford Observatory. Glynn “Bubba” Gateley is not a physicist. And yet, the first thing he does upon waking is check on a physics experiment. The tablet he takes home from work provides constant updates about the HVAC system at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO Hanford Observatory, in Richland, Washington. Before heading to work, Gateley checks his phone to make sure he hasn’t missed any calls about tumbleweeds, porcupines, ravens ..read more
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The next stage of cosmic microwave background research
Symmetry Magazine
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3M ago
With CMB-S4, scientists hope to connect a sandy desert with a polar desert—and revolutionize our understanding of the early universe. In the 1960s, an anomalous, faint electromagnetic glow was observed across the entire sky. Physicists later determined that the light came from the very early universe, released when the first atoms formed shortly after the Big Bang.  We now call this relic radiation the cosmic microwave background, or CMB. Studying it is one of the highest priority pursuits in cosmology. “We’re going back to look for physics from the dawn of time and test the model for ..read more
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