September 22, 2008 |
University of Pennsylvania physicist Evelyn Thomson says she's long been fascinated by the nature of mass, which in its familiar form gives things heft and makes them prone to gravity. But mass stops making sense when applied to subatomic particles. So far, for example, physics has uncovered evidence for 16 indivisible particles, some carrying hundreds, even thousands of times as much mass as others. A few weigh nothing at all. No known rule or law explains this. Solving the mystery could revolutionize our understanding of the ultimate substructure of matter and perhaps explain why the properties of its smallest building blocks appear "fine tuned" to make our existence possible.
January 6, 2013 |
GENEVA, Switzerland - The world's largest and most powerful atom smasher goes into a two-year hibernation in March, as engineers carry out a revamp to help it reach maximum energy levels that could lead to more stunning discoveries after the detection of the so-called God particle. With the reopening of its $10 billion proton collider in early 2015, the stage will be set for observing more rare phenomena - and unlocking more mysteries, said James Gillies, chief spokesman for the European particle physics laboratory known as CERN.
March 21, 2014 |
WHEN you lose your keys, you know you'll probably find them in your other pants. Lose the key to proving that all known matter is symmetrical and stable, and you're in bigger trouble, as someone may have left that key in another universe. So we learn in the absorbing documentary "Particle Fever," about physicists, the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the so-called God particle, the theoretical missing piece of matter that would verify modern theories about forces that created the universe, and bind matter together.
December 2, 2009 |
Particle physicists have been enduring a real nail-biter for the past 14 months. But, happily, the wait seems to be over: The Large Hadron Collider - the largest, priciest, and most complex scientific experiment in the world - has risen from its slumber. Straddling the Swiss-French border, the LHC's 17-mile ring links four underground, state-of-the-art detectors. Thanks to new safeguards for its thousands of ultracold, superconducting magnets and sophisticated electronics, researchers are optimistic that it will soon be churning out enough collision data to fill myriad hard drives around the globe.
April 11, 2011 |
WHEN IT COMES to scientific disciplines, studying avalanches would be hard to categorize.' But that was Nicholas DiGiacomo's favorite preoccupation. And he was in the perfect place to observe the scary phenomenon - the mountains of Colorado. Nick, whose day jobs involved nuclear physics, antimatter, particle colliders and his service as a science adviser to President Ronald Reagan, died March 9 of complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease). He was 58 and lived in Telluride, Colo.
December 14, 2011 |
After days of rumor and anticipation, physicists Tuesday shared the first results from the biggest and most expensive scientific apparatus ever built - the 17-mile Large Hadron Collider on the French-Swiss border. At the University of Pennsylvania, physicists gathered at 8 a.m. to listen to a webcast from the European lab CERN announcing hints of an invisible and short-lived particle called the Higgs or Higgs boson. That particle has been the last missing piece in the current theory of matter and the forces that govern it. "The atmosphere at CERN was electric," said Penn physicist Brig Williams, who flew to Europe to hear the results firsthand and to represent his team.
July 17, 2012 |
It took a very large village to find the Higgs boson — one with 10,000 scientists and engineers who came from 600 institutions in more than 100 countries. In the variety of languages one hears at the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, better known as CERN, it resembles the Olympic Village. But its common language is physics, not sports, and CERN differs from the other village in another important way: It aims to advance science through international cooperation; matters of national pride are left at the door.
January 9, 2012
By David Kaiser Fifty years ago, particle physicists faced an unexpected challenge. Their best mathematical models could account for some of the natural forces that explain the structure and behavior of matter at a fundamental level, such as electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force responsible for radioactive decay. But the models worked only if the particles inside of atoms had no mass. How could huge conglomerations of such particles - proteins, people, planets - behave as they do if their constituent parts weighed nothing at all?
December 13, 2011 |
After days of rumor and anticipation, physicists Tuesday morning will share the first results from the biggest and most expensive scientific apparatus ever built - the 17-mile Large Hadron Collider on the French-Swiss border. University of Pennsylvania physicist Brig Williams said he expected the announcement would involve hints - but not a full-fledged discovery - of an invisible and short-lived particle called the Higgs, or Higgs boson. That particle is the missing piece in the current picture of matter and the forces that govern it. "There's a general consensus that they're getting very close and it's getting very interesting," Williams said.