WBEZ | LHC http://www.wbez.org/tags/lhc 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 Glimpse of a new force of nature at Fermilab http://www.wbez.org/story/fermilab/glimpse-new-force-nature-fermilab-84837 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/CDF detector.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Scientists at west suburban Fermilab are abuzz today about <a href="http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1104/1104.0699v1.pdf">a tiny hiccup</a> in some experimental data. It could be nothing, or it could be a new force of nature.</p><p>The results come from the lab’s Tevatron collider – due to shut down this year for lack of funding. When particles crash into each other inside the Tevatron, they produce a spray of other particles. Now scientists are <a href="http://blogs.uslhc.us/a-hint-of-something-new-in-wdijets-at-cdf">seeing pieces of subatomic shrapnel</a> that don’t make sense, unless there’s a brand-new mystery particle there.&nbsp;</p><p>If so, it could be “new physics” – a basic change in the standard model of what makes up the universe.</p><p>“So if this really holds up, this would be part of a family of new things that should reveal us the layer of physics beyond what we know today,” said Giovanni Punzi, a spokesman for the CDF collaboration, which published the results. “So that’s why everybody’s so excited.”</p><p>The results could be evidence of a new fundamental force, joining gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces.</p><p>There’s still a quarter-percent possibility it’s just a statistical glitch, which leaves these results far short of what physicists consider a true discovery. The researchers expect to have a good deal more data by the time Tevatron shuts down, likely this fall. In any case, the more powerful Large Hadron Collider in Europe should be able to nail down the new particle, if it exists, with direction from the Fermilab research.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 20:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/fermilab/glimpse-new-force-nature-fermilab-84837