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Hot Topics

Neutrino chameleons

Hot topic: Wily neutrinos

Mysterious and ubiquitous, neutrinos are one of the least understood particles in the Standard Model. They’re extraordinarily abundant, yet they pass through almost all matter unnoticed. New experiments seek insight into these wily particles.

The helium dilution refrigerator in CUORE

By Laura Gladstone | February 4, 2015 Thanks in part to a high-tech refrigerator, CUORE is on the hunt to see if neutrinos are their own antimatter.

ELBNF is born

By Fermilab | February 3, 2015 On January 22, the largest and most ambitious experimental collaboration for neutrino science was born.

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Latest Posts

1. Some people think that physics is exciting. 2. They say “There’s nothing like the thrill of discovery”. 3. But that feeling won’t prepare you for the real world. 4. Discoveries only happen once. Do you really want to be in the room when they happen? 5. It’s not as though people queue overnight for

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Twitter, Planck et les supernovae

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Matthieu Roman est un jeune chercheur CNRS à Paris, tout à, fait novice sur la twittosphère. Il nous raconte comment il est en pourtant arrivé à twitter « en direct de son labo » pendant une semaine. Au programme : des échanges à bâton rompu à propos de l’expérience Planck, des supernovae ou l’énergie noire,

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Ten unusual detector materials

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

This article appeared in symmetry on Feb. 17, 2015. Hans had been waiting in the darkened room for 45 minutes. It was a dull part of his day, but acclimating his eyes was a necessary part of his experiment—counting faint sparkles of light caused by alpha particles deflecting off a thin metal foil. The experiment

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This article appeared in Fermilab Today on Feb. 11, 2015. Now one year into its five-year construction plan, the Linac Coherent Light Source II, an electron accelerator project at SLAC, will produce a high-power free-electron laser for cutting-edge scientific explorations ranging from refined observations of molecules and cellular interactions to innovative materials engineering. Cornell University

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Well, that was fun! At 8 PM ET on February 5, 2015, Quantum Diaries ran a post that was tied to “The Troll Manifestation”, an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” (TBBT) that was being aired at exactly that time.  This was generated in partnership with the show’s writers, staff and advisers. What happens when

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Sonic Copper Cleaning

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Today we cleaned parts to go into the detector using a sci-fi piece of machinery called a “sonic bath”. On CUORE, we’re looking for a faint signal of radioactivity. That means we can’t let anything swamp that signal: we have to clean away the normal low-level of dirt present in the atmosphere and biological systems.

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Regular readers of Quantum Diaries will know that in the world of particle physics, there is a clear divide between the theorists and the experimentalists. But sometimes scientists from the two sides of particle physics come together, and the results can be intriguing. For instance, I recently came across a new paper by two up-and-coming physicists at Caltech: S. Cooper and L. Hofstadter.

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Physics + wine = plasma + fun

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Ever fancied making your own particle accelerator? Fermilab posted a great Quantum Diaries blog entry last month showing how anyone can make a particle detector for viewing cosmic rays. In this post, I will explain how particle accelerators can also be hacked so that you can make your very own cathode ray tube.

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CUORE is looking for a kind of radioactive decay that’s extremely rare — if indeed it happens at all. It’s never been observed before. It’s called “neutrinoless double beta decay,” a decay emitting two electrons but no neutrinos. The experiment’s dilution refrigerator keeps the crystals cold enough that the heat can be detected from a single such decay. Since the purpose of CUORE is to study the energy spectrum of these decays, the refrigerator is vital. Here’s how it works.

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A particle detector in your pocket

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Do you love science and technology and sometimes wish you could contribute to a major discovery? I’ve got good news: “there’s an app for that.” With the Crayfis app, you can join a world-wide network of smartphones designed to detect ultra-high energy cosmic rays.

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