Tweeting the Higgs

23 01 2013

Back in July two seminars took place that discussed searches for the Higgs boson at the Tevatron and the LHC. After nearly 50 years of waiting an announcement of a \(5\sigma\) signal, enough to claim discovery, was made and all of a sudden the twitter world went crazy. New Scientist presented an analysis of the tweets by Domenico et al. relating to the Higgs in their Short Sharp Scient article Twitter reveals how Higgs gossip reached fever pitch. I don’t want to repeat what is written in the article, so please take a few minutes to read it and watch the video featured in the article.

The distribution of tweets around the July 2nd and July 4th announcements (note the log scale)

The distribution of tweets around the July 2nd and July 4th announcements (note the log scale)

Keep reading…

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[Article] The neutrino matrix: why are there three of everything?

13 03 2012
Various flavours. But also mass, unfortunately.

Various flavours. But also mass, unfortunately.

Last week’s results from the Daya Bay neutrino experiment were the first real measurement of the third neutrino mixing angle, θ13 (theta one-three). There have been previous experiments which set limits on the angle, but this is the first time it has been shown to be significantly different from zero.

Since θ13 is a fundamental parameter in the Standard Model of particle physics1, this would be an important measurement anyway. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

Read more…

(This is a great article by Jon Butterworth at the Guardian on one of my favourite topics!)





[Article] Is the Higgs Boson real? (Guardian Science)

6 12 2011

Rumours abound that Cern scientists have finally glimpsed the long-sought Higgs boson. We asked physicists to share their thoughts on the elusive entity.

Soon after Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the director general at Cern, emailed staff about next Tuesday’s seminar on the most sought-after particle in modern times, rumours hit the physics blogs that the lab might finally have caught sight of the Higgs boson

ATLAS event

ATLAS event

Read more…





[Article] Isis lab funding shortfall “damaging UK’s research standing”

28 11 2011

Some more bad news for funding in the UK. The Isis neutron source is suffering from a shortage of funds. It’s oversubscribed and underpaid.

Hundreds of scientific experiments are being dropped by British universities because there is too little money to run one of the country’s major research facilities.

Work on high priority fields from green energy and drug design to biotechnology and microchips has been disrupted, threatening the UK’s research base and the country’s standing internationally, scientists said.

Isis neutron source (Guardian)

Isis neutron source (Guardian)

Read more at the Guardian…





[Article] Faster-than-light neutrino result to get extra checks

26 10 2011

(From New Scientist)

The OPERA detector (OPERA Collaboration)

The OPERA detector (OPERA Collaboration)

Neutrinos may move faster than light, but double-checking the results is decidedly slower, as the team prepares to submit a paper for publication.

Last month the OPERA collaboration at Gran Sasso, Italy, announced that neutrinos had arrived from CERN, 730 kilometres away in Switzerland, 60 nanoseconds faster than light speed. The controversial claim triggered a flood of criticism, support and speculation from the rest of the physics world.

Read more…

This is great news. There are many people out there (myself included) who are skeptical of the existing result. Unfortunately, since this wasn’t the main analysis at OPERA the experimental paradigm was not optimised for this measurement and there are a few tweaks we’d like to see to really get a precise measurement of the time of flight of the neutrinos. CERN is taking the most obvious step and they’re going to send tighter bunches, improving the precision. The new proton spills are expected to give about a dozen events which should be independent of the previous dataset, and should either confirm or refute the previous result.

What happens if the new result also shows superluminal neutrinos? Then if there is a bias it really is a subtle one and one source of bias has been eliminated. This should answer some of OPERA’s own critics. If the result shows neutrinos that respect special relativity then the situation gets a bit more interesting! The skeptics will become louder, but we’d still need more data. 15 events can’t overturn the result obtained with 15,000 events, no matter how tempting it is to dismiss the existing result. No matter what we see with these new events, we still need a completely independent check from a different experiment, perhaps MINOS or T2K.