The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, has been releasing portions of its research to the public for years. This week's massive 300 terabyte dump of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data is the biggest yet by a long shot -- and it's all out there, open source, free for the exploration.
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What comes after the Large Hadron Collider? Obviously, the answer is a Very Large Hadron Collider. At least, that's what some physicists are hoping for. Read the rest
What's it like to live and work in the world's most famous physics mecca? Suzanne Moore went to Geneva, Switzerland to meet the scientists who study particle physics at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson — and also home to a multinational population that can reach 10,000 at different times of year. There's a kindergarten at CERN. And Halloween parties. And, of course, the much-noted tendency toward Comic Sans Powerpoints
. In other words, CERN has a culture. This is its story
. Read the rest
I got to join in on a great conversation this morning on Minnesota Public Radio's "The Daily Circuit", all about the Higgs Boson and what it means for the future of physics.
This is a fascinating issue. Finding the Higgs Boson (if that is, indeed, what scientists have done) means that all the particles predicted by the Standard Model of physics have now been found. But that's not necessarily good news for physicists. For one thing, it would have been a lot more interesting to break the Standard Model than to uphold it. For another, we're now left with a model for the Universe that mostly works but still has some awkward holes — holes that it might be hard to get the funding to fill.
Daily Circuit host Kerry Miller, Harvard physics chair Melissa Franklin, and I spent 45 minutes talking about what is simultaneously a beautiful dream and a waking nightmare for the physics world. And I got to make a "Half Baked" reference in a conversation about particle physics, so you know it's a good time, too.
Listen to the whole conversation at Minnesota Public Radio's website. Read the rest
The discovery of the particle that is most likely the Higgs Boson was met with wild-eyed excitement almost everywhere except CERN, writes physicist Glenn Starkman
at Scientific American Blogs. That's because it means the theoretical Standard Model of Physics is probably on the right track. Which means there aren't any crazy inaccuracies leading to awesome mysteries that must be solved. Which means experimental particle physics haz a sad — and more than a little depressive ennui. (Via Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic) Read the rest
The Massey Lectures are an annual event in Canada, where one person gives five different public speeches over the course of a month. This year, the speaker is theoretical physicist Neil Turok. He's also the director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute is sponsoring a contest where you can win tickets to the lectures (there are two left) or copies of Turok's latest book. The grand prize, though, is the really exciting bit. One lucky winner will get a 7-day trip for two to both the Perimeter Institute and CERN (home of the Large Hadron Collider). Feeling lucky? Enter your name in the drawing by October 24. Read the rest
Typography enthusiasts "moved by Dr Fabiola Gianotti's incredibly strange choice of font in announcing the recent results of Cern's ATLAS collaboration" are petitioning Microsoft to rename Comic Sans to "Comic Cerns." Cosmic Sans might work, too! Read the rest
Big science news today: Scientists at Europe's CERN research center have discovered a new subatomic particle believed to be a basic building block of the universe, which appears to be the "boson" imagined and named half a century ago by theoretical physicist Peter Higgs. And Stephen Hawking loses a $100 bet. Many of us on Twitter know that we should be excited by all of this, but have no idea what it really means, having dope-smoked our way through Physics class in high school. This animation helps. Still: If you can't join 'em, LOL at 'em. Here are some of the better #higgsjokes I faved on Twitter after the news broke. Did I miss any good ones? Let me know in the comments. And read Maggie's post.
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Buttons glow in the control room of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva on April 5, 2012. At 0:38 CEST this morning, the LHC shift crew declared "stable beams" as two 4 TeV proton beams were brought into collision at the LHC's four interaction points. The collision energy of 8 TeV is a new world record, and increases the machine's potential to solve perplexing scientific questions. Top of the list: confirming the existence of the Higgs boson, a hypothetical particle posited to explain why matter has mass. Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Read the rest
Data from Fermilab's shuttered Tevatron accelerator seems to support the data released by CERN last December. These two different accelerators are both seeing a signal that could be the Higgs Boson in roughly the same place. To quote the New York Times
: "It has led to a joke in physics circles now: The Higgs boson has not been discovered yet, but its mass is 125 billion electron volts." (Via dsut
in Submitterator) Read the rest
Last week, while I was on a train, researchers at CERN announced that neutrinos are probably not traveling faster than the speed of light. Last year, as you'll recall, the OPERA experiment clocked the neutrinos breaking that speed limit. Unfortunately, it looks like those measurements were probably caused by one or more problems with the GPS system used to synchronize clocks between the neutrinos' point of origin and where they were speeding off to.
That's disappointing news. To make up for it, I offer you this art chaser—a gallery of beautiful quilts inspired by CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
The quilts are the work of artist Kate Findlay, and they're completely amazing. The one pictured here is called "Inner Eye." It's based on ATLAS, one of the major detectors built to encircle the Large Hadron Collider and collect information on what's going on inside it. Comparing the photo with the quilt makes both images doubly awesome.
See the rest of the quilts at Symmetry Magazine
Via Alexandra Witze Read the rest
"They said when the collider goes on
Soon they'd see that elusive boson
Very soon we shall hear
Whether Cern finds it this year
But it's something I won't bet very much on."
— Shelly Glashow, Boston University. Nobel prize in physics, 1979
From a collection of physicists' statements on the Higgs boson in The Guardian. (Via Ed Yong) Read the rest