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Dylan    4,126

Bit old but meh

Higgs boson spills secrets as LHC prepared for return

By Paul RinconScience editor, BBC News website

_75940505_75935213.jpgThe LHC has been shut down since 2013 for a programme of upgrades and repairs

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It's nearly time. After shutting down last year for vital repairs and upgrades, the Large Hadron Collider is being prepared for its comeback.

Engineers at Cern in Geneva have begun cooling the huge machine to its operating temperature of -271.3C, which is colder than deep space.

And the accelerator system that supplies the LHC with its proton particle beams - which are smashed together to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang - is up and running for the first time since 2012.

Teams are working to get the LHC - located in a circular tunnel beneath the French-Swiss border - back online by January 2015 and this time it will operate at its full energy of 14 trillion electron volts.

After the $10bn machine was switched on for the first time in 2008, problems were found with many of the electrical splices between the 1,200 superconducting magnets that bend particle beams around the 27km-long underground ring.

To prevent serious damage, officials decided to run the collider at an energy of seven to eight trillion electron volts - about half what it was designed for.

"Much work has been carried out on the LHC over the last 18 months or so, and it's effectively a new machine, poised to set us on the path to new discoveries," said Cern's director-general Rolf Heuer at the EuroScience Open Forum in Copenhagen this month.

Continue reading the main story

The Higgs boson

_75952166_a3254510-58a4-45db-bc58-4d75aa

  • The Higgs is a sub-atomic particle that was detected at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012
  • It was proposed as a mechanism to explain mass by six physicists, including Peter Higgs, in 1964
  • It imparts mass to other fundamental particles via the associated Higgs field
  • It is the cornerstone of the Standard Model, which explains how particles interact
The low energy run from 2010-2012 was nevertheless sufficient to achieve a key scientific goal: Detecting the elusive Higgs boson particle.

The Higgs is the cornerstone of our current best theory of particle physics - the Standard Model. This is the "instruction booklet" that describes how elementary particles (the smallest building blocks of the Universe) and forces interact.

On 4 July 2012, two years ago this week, Cern announced that a five-decade-long search for the particle, first proposed by Edinburgh-based physicist Peter Higgs and others in the 1960s, had reached its conclusion.

Scientists working on Atlas and CMS, the two huge multi-purpose detectors placed at strategic points around the LHC tunnel, saw the Higgs at a 5-sigma level of significance - the statistical threshold for announcing a discovery.

While the LHC has been sitting idle of late, its scientists have not. They've continued to crunch the results from the first science run, and hundreds of them will gather to listen to the latest findings at the ICHEP physics meeting in Valencia, Spain, this week.

Particle physicists have learnt more about the Higgs boson's behaviour and how well it conforms to predictions. In a paper published last week in the journal Nature Physics, researchers outlined how they have watched the Higgs decay into the particles that make up matter (known as fermions), in addition to those that convey force (bosons), which had already been observed.

This is exactly as the Standard Model predicts. Physicists know that this framework, devised in the 1970s, must be a stepping stone to a deeper understanding of the cosmos. But so far, it's standing up exceptionally well. Searches at the LHC for deviations from this elegant scheme - such as evidence for new, exotic particles - have come to nothing.

_75952170_147821060.jpgPhysicists packed out the auditorium at Cern to hear the Higgs boson discovery announcement in 2012

_75952890_147821195.jpgFrancois Englert (L), Peter Higgs ® and other originators of the Higgs boson theory were at Cern to hear the announcement. Englert and Higgs would later win a Nobel Prize for their work

_75940500_75940498.jpgThe announcement was a huge media event too

At ICHEP, other scientists are expected to outline details of a refined mass for the fundamental particle, which has been measured at approximately 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV). For those outside the particle physics community, this might seem like a minor detail. But the mass of the Higgs is more than a mere number.

There's something very curious about its value that could have profound implications for the Universe. Mathematical models allow for the possibility that our cosmos is long-lived yet not entirely stable, and may - at some indeterminate point - be destroyed.

"The overall stability of the Universe depends on the Higgs mass - which is a bit funny," said Prof Jordan Nash, a particle physicist from Imperial College London, who works on the CMS experiment at Cern.

"There's a long theoretical argument which I won't go into, but that value is intriguing in that it sits on the edge between what we think is the long-term stability of the Universe and a Universe that has a finite lifetime."

To use an analogy, imagine the Higgs boson is an object resting at the bottom of a curved slope. If that resting place really is the lowest point on the slope, then the vacuum of space is completely stable - in other words, it is in the lowest energy state and can go no further.

_75952891_75937467.jpgThe mass of the Higgs (inside rectangle) may hint at the stability of the Universe

However, if at some point further along this slope, there's another dip, the potential exists for the Universe to "topple" into this lower energy state, or minimum. If that happens, the vacuum of space collapses, dooming the cosmos.

"The Higgs mass is in that place where it gets interesting, where it's no longer guaranteed that there are no other minima," Prof Nash, who works on the CMS experiment at Cern, told the BBC. But there's no need to worry, the models suggest such a rare event would not occur for a very, very long time - many times further into the future, in fact, than the current age of the Universe.

This idea of a finite lifetime for the cosmos is dependent on the Standard Model being the ultimate scheme in physics. But there is much in the Universe - gravitation and dark matter, for example - that the Standard Model can't fully explain, so there are reasons to think that's not the case.

The existence of exotic particles, such as those predicted by the theory known as supersymmetry, would shore up the stability of the Universe in those mathematical models.

But as previously mentioned, searches for these particles, called superpartners, have so far drawn a blank, as have attempts to detect dark matter, extra dimensions, and other phenomena beyond the Standard Model. Hopes that the LHC would allow scientists to lift the veil on a whole new realm of physics have proved optimistic, at least during its initial run.

_75952897_5a1a207b-7ae1-49df-9506-252a3dElectrical connections between the superconducting magnets have been re-soldered

_75952894_3687f41d-955e-4098-94e9-974341Engineers have been working to prepare the machine for a planned re-start at the beginning of 2015

Some versions of supersymmetry have already been all but ruled out by the LHC. But the theory has many forms, depending on how you tweak the mathematical parameters.

"From the theory community's point of view, this is all very interesting because it fleshes out much better what the first run of the LHC has excluded," said Prof Dave Charlton, who leads the Atlas experiment at Cern.

"Therefore, it better establishes where we should be looking for new signals next year."

Assuming the theorists are indeed correct, supersymmetry will have to wait some time longer for its big reveal.

Other hypothesised particles, such as the W prime and Z prime bosons could possibly be detected soon after the LHC returns to particle smashing.

For now, all eyes are on the engineers at Cern. The LHC's initial switch on was marked by mishaps, including a magnet that buckled in the tunnel during a test in 2007. The following year, another magnet failure caused a tonne of helium to leak out, forcing controllers to shut the machine down just nine days after its big switch-on.

But after the re-start in 2009, the LHC performed flawlessly, and the rest, as they say, is history.

If all goes well, by the end of March 2015 scientists could begin colliding high-energy beams of particles at the LHC.

And that's when the real fun will begin.

Follow Paul on Twitter.

The Standard Model and the Higgs boson

_61348405_higgs_standard_mod_464.gif

• The Standard Model is the simplest set of ingredients - elementary particles - needed to make up the world we see in the heavens and in the laboratory

• Quarks combine together to make, for example, the proton and neutron - which make up the nuclei of atoms today - though more exotic combinations were around in the Universe's early days

 Leptons come in charged and uncharged versions; electrons - the most familiar charged lepton - together with quarks make up all the matter we can see; the uncharged leptons are neutrinos, which rarely interact with matter

• The "force carriers" are particles whose movements are observed as familiar forces such as those behind electricity and light (electromagnetism) and radioactive decay (the weak nuclear force)

• The Higgs boson came about because although the Standard Model holds together neatly, nothing requires the particles to have mass; for a fuller theory, the Higgs - or something else - must fill in that gap

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Dylan    4,126

0804060_04-A5-at-72-dpi.jpg

 

 

This is my favorite photo of the LHC that red bottle cost around 50 bucks and its a 10 year supply of protons to run the entire machine haha

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HEARTinator    987

That photo looks like it's some machinery from an old Batman and Robin TV show! Like how '100KV' looks almost handwritten. An after thought after someone got a bang out of sticking their fingers where they shouldn't have :)

Edited by HEARTinator

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hedaik    2,629

My good mate works in the synchrotron here in Melbourne which is basically a different version of the hadron collider

Edited by hedaik

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KSK_47    5,482

Beijing, China - Chinese scientists are racing to complete plans for a supergiant particle collider that, when built, will dwarf every other accelerator on the planet.

 

2014919134429520734_20.jpg

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/09/china-unveils-world-largest-supercollider-science-physi-2014919131524321817.html

Edited by KSK_47

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Dylan    4,126

Well the Superconducting Super Colider was going to be 5 times the size of CERN so I guess if they get close to that that would be pretty cool

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Deviant    1,491

 

Science has come up with the answer for exactly why we like big butts, and it seems we cannot deny it. Researchers from Bilkent University in Turkey have been studying intently trying to figure out the reason and they think they've cracked it.

 
The curve would have enabled ancestral women to shift their centre of mass back over their hips during pregnancy, a time during which there is a dramatic forward shift of their centre of mass. Consequently, ancestral women who possessed this degree of lumbar curvature would have been able to forage longer into pregnancy and would have been able to carry out multiple pregnancies with a reduced risk of spinal injury.
Dr. David Lewis
 
So, what we can make from this is basically, we tend to like women with bigger bums because historically, it means females will be able to collect more food and get pregnant without suffering any medical problems. Whether there is also a direct correlation between the bigger your backside the more famous you are is yet to be discovered.

 

 

I always thought this... 

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Tesla    8,097

 

Science has come up with the answer for exactly why we like big butts, and it seems we cannot deny it. Researchers from Bilkent University in Turkey have been studying intently trying to figure out the reason and they think they've cracked it.

 

The curve would have enabled ancestral women to shift their centre of mass back over their hips during pregnancy, a time during which there is a dramatic forward shift of their centre of mass. Consequently, ancestral women who possessed this degree of lumbar curvature would have been able to forage longer into pregnancy and would have been able to carry out multiple pregnancies with a reduced risk of spinal injury.

Dr. David Lewis

 

So, what we can make from this is basically, we tend to like women with bigger bums because historically, it means females will be able to collect more food and get pregnant without suffering any medical problems. Whether there is also a direct correlation between the bigger your backside the more famous you are is yet to be discovered.

 

 

I always thought this... 

I thought it was already established that only closet paedophiles like women with the bodies of little boys. I didn't need a scientific study to tell me that heterosexual males like big booty.

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Deviant    1,491

Not Science: Well from that position... and the effort she's gone to... it should theoretically be in her mouth.  

 

Science: Science states that they're all ball breakers.

Edited by Deviant
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Shahanga    3,502

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/apr/13/nasas-curiosity-rover-finds-water-below-surface-of-mars

 

Mars has liquid water just below its surface, according to new measurements by Nasa’s Curiosity rover.

Until now, scientists had thought that conditions on the red planet were too cold and arid for liquid water to exist, although there were known to be deposits of ice.

Prof Andrew Coates, head of planetary science at the Mullard Space Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, said: “The evidence so far is that any water would be in the form of permafrost. It’s the first time we’ve had evidence of liquid water there now.”

The latest findings suggest that Martian soil is damp with liquid brine, due to the presence of a salt that significantly lowers the freezing point of water. When mixed with calcium perchlorate liquid water can exist down to around -70C, and the salt also soaks up water vapour from the atmosphere.

New measurements from the Gale crater show that during winter nights until just after sunrise, temperatures and humidity levels are just right for liquid brine to form.

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Tesla    8,097

How fucking cool is space? Been losing a lot of hours in productivity to New Horizons articles

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-09/pluto-comes-into-focus/6566818

Just have to avoid blowing each other up for a little while longer before we can spread out into space and ensure the survival of the human race :up:

If there are any aliens out there then they should be scared AF, we're some ruthless motherfuckers. Being the dominant species on earth is no longer cutting it for me TBH, I look forward to being part of the dominant species in the universe :up:

 

Edited by Tesla
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Jun    189

Just have to avoid blowing each other up for a little while longer before we can spread out into space and ensure the survival of the human race :up:

If there are any aliens out there then they should be scared AF, we're some ruthless motherfuckers. Being the dominant species on earth is no longer cutting it for me TBH, I look forward to being part of the dominant species in the universe :up:

 

Like when Sci-Fi regularly portrays space-faring humans as benevolent. Bullshit, we're going to be the boogiemen of the galaxy.

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Tesla    8,097

Like when Sci-Fi regularly portrays space-faring humans as benevolent. Bullshit, we're going to be the boogiemen of the galaxy.

 

I've said it before:

What I've always found funny is that popular culture always makes aliens out to be a civilisation with far greater weaponry / military technology than us.

 

Do people really think it's possible that there is another civilisation which devotes more of their resources to killing each other than we do, and this civilisation still exists?

 

Actually probably says a lot about us that when we try imagine a more advanced civilisation, we imagine one with greater weaponry and military technology.

 

The way I see it, if there are some other intelligent life forms out there, we shouldn't be worried about them. But they should probably be fucking scared of us.

 

Edited by Tesla

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KSK_47    5,482

Like when Sci-Fi regularly portrays space-faring humans as benevolent. Bullshit, we're going to be the boogiemen of the galaxy.

Maybe we already are 

645813530_spaceships20over20pyramids_ans tinfoilhat.jpg?w=290&h=240&crop=1

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Begbie    333

Just have to avoid blowing each other up for a little while longer before we can spread out into space and ensure the survival of the human race :up:

If there are any aliens out there then they should be scared AF, we're some ruthless motherfuckers. Being the dominant species on earth is no longer cutting it for me TBH, I look forward to being part of the dominant species in the universe :up:

 

Saw this on 'Famous thinkers quoting Herald Sun readers'.

Knew it was you.

1526192_176657152545142_1507602128_n.jpg

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xXJawsaXx    343

Reminds me of Mass Effect haha. Most of the other races in that game are wary of us because we are determined bastards who just want to expand and colonise.

Edited by xXJawsaXx

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Dylan    4,126

Kepler 452b: NASA discovers planet orbiting 'cousin' of Sun in closest match to Earth yet


Not only is this planet squarely in the "Goldilocks zone" — where life could exist because it is neither too hot nor too cold to support liquid water — its star looks like an older cousin of our Sun, the US space agency said.Astronomers hunting for another Earth have found what may be the closest match yet, a potentially rocky planet circling its star at the same distance as the Earth orbits the Sun, NASA says.

That means the planet, which is 1,400 light-years away, could offer a glimpse into the Earth's apocalyptic future, scientists said.


"Kepler 452b is orbiting a close cousin of our Sun, but one that is 1.5 billion years older," NASA said in a statement.Known as Kepler 452b, the planet was detected by the US space agency's Kepler Space Telescope, which has been hunting for other worlds like ours since 2009.

Its star is four per cent more massive than the Sun and 10 per cent brighter.

If the planet is rocky, and scientists believe that it has a better than even chance of being just that, then it could be in the midst of a fearful scenario, as the heat from its dying star evaporates Kepler 452b's lakes and oceans.

"If Kepler 452b is indeed a rocky planet, its location vis-a-vis its star could mean that it is just entering a runaway greenhouse phase of its climate history," said Doug Caldwell, a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute scientist working on the Kepler mission.

"The increasing energy from its aging sun might be heating the surface and evaporating any oceans.

"The water vapour would be lost from the planet forever.

"Kepler 452b could be experiencing now what the Earth will undergo more than a billion years from now, as the Sun ages and grows brighter."

Kepler mission discovers more than 4,000 possible planets

The Kepler mission launched in 2009 to search for exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system, particularly those about the size of Earth or smaller.

"Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years — another Earth," NASA said in a statement.

On Thursday, NASA released the latest catalogue of exoplanet candidates, adding more than 500 new possible planets to the 4,175 already found by the space-based telescope.

"This catalog contains our first analysis of all Kepler data, as well as an automated assessment of these results," SETI Institute scientist Jeffrey Coughlin said.

"You and I probably won't be travelling to any of those planets with out some unexpected breakthorugh, but our children's children's children may.

"Kepler is the first stop. We're finding out if planets like Earth are common, and the answer so far seems to be yes."

The new catalogue includes 12 candidates that are less than twice the diameter of Earth and which are orbiting in the habitable zones of their stars.

Of those 12 new candidates, Kepler 452b "is the first to be confirmed as a planet", NASA said.

Kepler identifies possible planets by watching for dips in the brightness of stars, which could be caused by a planet passing between the star and the telescope.

Other scientific tools are needed to judge whether the planet is gassy or rocky.

The Kepler mission has cost NASA about $800 million, and the US space agency said in 2013 that two of its orientation wheels had lost function, leaving the space telescope beyond repair.

But scientists have years to pore over the data it has returned in order to narrow the search for Earth-like worlds.

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