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Science

Ramblings on partons

When matter and anti-matter meet, they annihilate each other in a “flash” of energy. Usually, this release of energy is in the form of high-energy photons, or gamma rays, which are then detected, analysed, and interpreted to understand more of the collision’s other properties. In nature, however, matter/anti-matter collisions are ultra-rare if not altogether non-existent […]

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Science

A simple overview of particle physics

(Click on the image for a larger size)

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Op-eds Science

Putting particle physics research to work

In the whole gamut of comments regarding the Higgs boson, there is a depressingly large number decrying the efforts of the ATLAS and CMS collaborations. Why? Because a lot of people think the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a yawning waste of time and money, an investment that serves mankind no practical purpose. Well, here and […]

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Science

Gunning for the goddamned: ATLAS results explained

Here are some of the photos from the CERN webcast yesterday (July 4, Wednesday), with an adjoining explanation of the data presented in each one and what it signifies. This first image shows the data accumulated post-analysis of the diphoton decay mode of the Higgs boson. In simpler terms, physicists first put together all the […]

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Science

After the Higgs-boson-like particle, what’s next?

This article, as written by me, appeared in print in The Hindu on July 5, 2012. — The ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) collaboration at CERN has announced the sighting of a Higgs boson-like particle in the energy window of 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV. The observation has been made with a statistical significance of 5 sigma. […]

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Science

After the Higgs-boson-like particle, what's next?

This article, as written by me, appeared in print in The Hindu on July 5, 2012. — The ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) collaboration at CERN has announced the sighting of a Higgs boson-like particle in the energy window of 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV. The observation has been made with a statistical significance of 5 sigma. […]

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Op-eds Science

Hunt for the Higgs boson: A quick update

And it was good news after all! In an announcement made earlier today at the special conference called by CERN near Geneva, the discovery of a Higgs-boson-like particle was announced by physicists from the ATLAS and CMS collaborations that spearheaded the hunt. I say discovery because the ATLAS team spotted an excess of events near […]

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Science

So, is it going to be good news tomorrow?

As the much-anticipated lead-up to the CERN announcement on Wednesday unfolds, the scientific community is rife with many speculations and few rumours. In spite of this deluge, it may be that we could expect a confirmation of the God particle’s existence in the seminar called by physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The […]

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Life notes Science

The philosophies in physics

As a big week for physics comes up–a July 4 update by CERN on the search for the Higgs boson followed by ICHEP ’12 at Melbourne–I feel really anxious as a small-time proto-journalist and particle-physics-enthusiast. If CERN announces the discovery of evidence that rules out the existence of such a thing as the Higgs particle, […]

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Life notes Op-eds

Eigenstates of the human mind

Would a mind’s computing strength be determined by its ability to make sense of counter-intuitive principles (Type I) or by its ability to solve an increasing number of simple problems in a second (Type II)? Would Type I and Type II strengths translate into the same computing strength? Does either Type I or Type II […]

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Science

Necessity of the interdisciplinary

A strange cosmic “crucifix” in 774 AD, recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, could be explained by the occurrence of a supernova, perhaps rendered unobservable by a dense cloud of gas between Earth and the dying star that scattered all but some of the light. The real story, however, is that of Jonathon Allen, who came […]

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Science

Understanding the Solar System from within a shard

A new variant of titanium oxide was discovered less than two days ago at Caltech, embedded within the famous Allende meteorite, which crashed on Earth in 1969. Using electron diffraction, mineralogists found the mineral, named panguite after the Chinese legend of Pan Gu, in a refractory incursion (RI). In the early stages of the formation […]