New high-energy particle research by a team working with data from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory further heightens the uncertainty about the exact nature of a key theoretical component of modern physics — the massive fundamental particle called the Higgs boson.
Analysis of data from particle collisions resulting in two leptons helps improve measurements of the mass of another heavy subatomic particle called the top quark, says physicist Robert Kehoe at SMU, who led the team that calculated the measurement. Improving the measurement of the mass of the top quark bears on the nature of the Higgs, says Kehoe, an assistant professor in SMU’s Department of Physics.
After a huge success in first testing, followed by a very public meltdown last September, the Large Hadron Collider may be ready for action again as early as June.
But before the science can proceed, the world’s scientists must come to terms with the complex organism they have created, says one project manager.
At 10 p.m. on a Saturday night in April, a handful of SMU scientists continue working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, called by its acronym CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland. A scattering of lights illuminates the windows in several buildings along the Rue Einstein, where researchers from dozens of countries and hundreds of institutions are combining their expertise on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — the biggest physics experiment in history.
Ryszard Stroynowski, chair and professor of physics at SMU, points out each building in succession to a group of visitors. “By October, every light in every one of these windows will be on all night,” he says. Continue reading