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Hot Topics

Possible new particle excitement

Quantum Diarist Pauline Gagnon tracks the anticipation and excitement around announcements made in December by ATLAS and CMS reporting the detection of a few events that might, might indicate a new particle decaying into two photons.

A frenzy among theorists

Pauline Gagnon | Feb. 4, 2016  

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Is the world flat? That question was posed by popular rap musician B.o.B. on his Twitter account this past week, prompting angry, but comical video and rap responses by popular science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson and his musician nephew. What do we really know? A few thousand years ago, Greek philosophers and Phoenician explorers began

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Depuis le 15 décembre, j’ai compté 200 nouveaux articles théoriques, chacun offrant une ou plusieurs explications possibles sur la nature d’une nouvelle particule qui n’a pas encore été découverte. Cette frénésie a commencé lorsque les expériences CMS et ATLAS ont toutes deux rapporté avoir trouvé quelques événements qui pourraient révéler la présence d’une nouvelle particule

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Frenzy among theorists

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Since December 15, I have counted 200 new theoretical papers, each one suggesting one or several possible explanations for a new particle not yet discovered. This flurry of activity started when the CMS and ATLAS Collaborations both reported having found a few events that could possibly reveal the presence of a new particle decaying to

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In the late 1980s, as particle colliders probed deeper into the building blocks of nature, there were hints of a strange and paradoxical behaviour in the heart of atoms. Fundamental particles have a curious quantum mechanical property known as “spin”, which the electron carries in magnitude ½. While the description of electron’s spin is fairly

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After a long-anticipated data run, LHC proton-proton running concludes in early November.  A mere six weeks later, on a mid-December afternoon, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations present their first results from the full dataset to a packed CERN auditorium, with people all over the world watching the live webcast.  Both collaborations see slight excesses in

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Si, et vraiment seulement si…

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Si le LHC était une échelle et les nouvelles particules tant recherchées, des boîtes cachées sur les étagères les plus hautes, la montée en énergie du LHC s’apparente à l’acquisition d’une échelle plus longue donnant accès aux dernières étagères. Fin 2012, les échelles étaient plus courtes, mais on en avait dix fois plus, facilitant l’exploration

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If, and really only if…

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

If the LHC were a ladder and the new sought-after particles, boxes hidden on the top shelves, operating the LHC at higher energy is like having a longer ladder giving us access to the higher shelves. By the end of 2012, our ladders were shorter but we had 10 times more than now. ATLAS and

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It’s amazing that so much hard work (and such high levels of stress) can be condensed down so much… 5 pages, 3 plots and a table – and the new world leading limit on the WIMP-nucleon spin-independent elastic scattering cross section, of course. Yes, the LUX Run 3 reanalysis results are finally out. It’s been in the

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Dark Matter: A New Hope

Monday, December 7th, 2015

[Apologies for the title, couldn’t resist the temptation to work in a bit of Star Wars hype] To call the direct detection of dark matter “difficult” is a monumental understatement. To date, we have had no definite, direct detection on Earth of this elusive particle that we suspect should be all around us. This seems

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The Large Hadron Collider is almost done running for 2015.  Proton collisions ended in early November, and now the machine is busy colliding lead nuclei.  As we head towards the end-of-year holidays, and the annual CERN shutdown, everyone wants to know — what have we learned from the LHC this year, our first year of

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