WBEZ | CERN http://www.wbez.org/tags/cern Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A ghostly sighting, but no clear sign of mystery particle http://www.wbez.org/story/ghostly-sighting-no-clear-sign-mystery-particle-94860 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-13/Higgs event.gif" alt="" /><p><p>Scientists have caught a <a href="http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2011/PR25.11E.html">faint whiff of the Higgs boson</a>, the most sought-after prize in particle physics. But the findings are sketchy, dashing rumors that the particle has actually been found. If the Higgs boson were Bigfoot, today’s announcement would be like that grainy X-Files picture: worth a closer look, but maybe just a trick of the light.</p><p>Two teams at the European lab CERN say they’ve narrowed down the area where the Higgs could be hiding, and each team has seen a flash of data that could be the particle’s calling card. They’re about 97 percent confident, which is actually pretty low in physics terms.</p><p>West suburban Fermilab is sifting data from its own particle collider, which shut down this fall. Rob Roser, spokesman for the Fermilab team CDF, says the Fermilab data could partially corroborate CERN’s findings from the Large Hadron Collider, or rule them out.</p><p>“Between the LHC and the Tevatron, within a year I think we will know. It will run out of places to hide,” says Roser.</p><p>Roser says, for him, today’s most significant takeaway is confirmation that the LHC is working better than expected. CERN and Fermilab were in a race to discover the Higgs, until the European lab finally eclipsed its competitor this year. The Higgs is the last undiscovered building block predicted by the leading theory of the makeup of the universe.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 16:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ghostly-sighting-no-clear-sign-mystery-particle-94860 Fermilab will chase supposed faster-than-light particles http://www.wbez.org/story/fermilab-will-chase-supposed-faster-light-particles-92433 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-25/Rameiks.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Scientists at west suburban Fermilab are already working to scrutinize a potential scientific discovery widely believed to be impossible. European physicists announced last week <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/science/24speed.html">they clocked something traveling faster than the speed of light. </a>If true, the observation from the European lab CERN would turn much of physics inside out, as the speed of light is thought to be an absolute limit on how fast anything in the universe can travel.</p><p>The <a href="http://www-numi.fnal.gov/">MINOS experiment at Fermilab </a>may be the best equipped in the world to test CERN’s results, and its spokesman says they’re hopping to it.</p><p>“Obviously it’s a very high priority,” said Robert Plunkett. “Anything that makes a statement about the foundations of Einstein’s theory of special relativity, that’s one of the two underpinnings of all 20th century physics. So it has to be scrutinized and of course it’s urgent to attempt to reproduce the results as soon as possible.”</p><p>Plunkett said his team is already at work refining some of their old results to see if they agree with the CERN findings. Then, upgrades should allow the Fermilab scientists to get much more precise measurements within two or three years.</p><p>The CERN results concern neutrinos, an extremely light particle that passes right through most matter. Scientists say there are lots of uncertainties around the creation of these particles in the lab, making it difficult to keep accurate time in a race between neutrinos and light. Plunkett and others say they are withholding judgment until someone verifies the observation.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 02:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/fermilab-will-chase-supposed-faster-light-particles-92433