Archive for November, 2011

Hunting the Higgs

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

posted by: Tom Loughran

Combined CMS-ATLAS Higgs Search November 2011

The search for the Higgs boson has been the primary focus of the Large Hadron Collider and its detectors, the largest science experiment in human history. A recent release of data is edging science closer to a discovery, though we’re not there yet. Great progress has been made toward the elimination of possibilities as to what mass the Higgs might have: this process is known as exclusion, something like a certified non-discovery in a certain range of possible values. In other words, particle physicists are now pretty sure (to a 95% confidence level, or greater) what mass the Higgs does not have. And there are some intriguing hints in the data of what mass the Higgs might actually have, though the level of confidence in these hints is far too low yet to support any claim of discovery. So this is an interesting moment of insight into how particle physicists actually make progress: with painstakingly careful analysis of data accumulated slowly over time.

This November 2011 plot of combined data from the CMS and ATLAS experiments shows the current public state of the search for the Higgs boson. The video below shows a glimpse into the deliberations inside the CMS experiment over whether to release combined data of this sort. Take a few minutes to watch. If you are interested in the history of the Higgs search, this blog archive is a good place to begin.

Be the first to like.

Uh oh, not so ‘Faster than light’ particles!

Monday, November 21st, 2011

posted by: krueff

On November 18th, this article was posted:
“New test finds neutrinos still faster than light”

On November 20th, (yesterday) this article was posted:
“Study rejects faster than light particle finding”

So far, I’m still inclined to keep Einstein in his relativistic place, so I’m hoping this flip-flopping will get resolved soon.  I personally don’t believe neutrinos are special enough to be so awesomely speedy…

*Thanks to Prof. Spagna @ Randolph-Macon College for keeping up on these highly energized physics topics!

Be the first to like.

Sun Funnel Workshop on November 21

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

posted by: Tom Loughran

GLPA Sun Funnel Workshop

GLPA Sun Funnel Workshop

In preparation for the 2012 transit of Venus, the Michiana Astronomical Society will host a workshop for building Sun Funnels, which allow a group of observers to view the sun safely and concurrently. The workshop is during the regular MAS meeting on Monday, November 21, from 7PM to 8:45PM at the downtown Mishawaka Branch library. Also covered will be additional techniques for viewing the sun. Cost of the workshop is $30.00, and we ask that you send your preferred eyepiece focal length size in by Friday, November 11. See http://www.transitofvenus.org/misc/303-michiana-sun-funnel-workshop for instructions and details

Be the first to like.