The awesome limits of superconductors

On June 24, a press release from CERN said that scientists and engineers working on upgrading the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) had “built and operated … the most powerful electrical transmission line … to date”. The transmission line consisted of four cables – two capable of transporting 20 kA of current and two, 7 kA.Continue reading “The awesome limits of superconductors”

My heart of physics

Every July 4, I have occasion to remember two things: the discovery of the Higgs boson, and my first published byline for an article about the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have no trouble believing it’s been eight years since we discovered this particle, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its ATLAS andContinue reading “My heart of physics”

Money for science

Spending money on science has been tied to evaluating the value of spin-offs, assessing the link between technological advancement and GDP, and dissecting the metrics of productivity, but the debate won’t ever settle no matter how convincingly each time it is resolved. For a piece titled The Telescope of the 2030s, Dennis Overbye writes in TheContinue reading “Money for science”

The Large Hadron Collider is back online, ready to shift from the “what” of reality to “why”

The world’s single largest science experiment will restart on March 23 after a two-year break. Scientists and administrators at the European Organization for Nuclear Research – known by its French acronym CERN – have announced the status of the agency’s upgrades on its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its readiness for a new phase of experiments running from now until 2018.Continue reading “The Large Hadron Collider is back online, ready to shift from the “what” of reality to “why””

Fabiola Gianotti, the first woman Director-General of CERN

The CERN Council has elected a new Director-General to succeed the incumbent Rolf-Dieter Heuer. Fabiola Gianotti, who served as the ATLAS collaboration’s spokesperson from 2009 to 2013 – a period that included the discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS experiments – will be the first woman to hold the position.Continue reading “Fabiola Gianotti, the first woman Director-General of CERN”

Restarting the LHC: A timeline

CERN has announced the restart schedule of its flagship science “project”, the Large Hadron Collider, that will see the giant machine return online in early 2015. I’d written about the upgrades that could be expected shortly before it shut down in 2012. They range from new pixel sensors and safety systems to facilities that will double theContinue reading “Restarting the LHC: A timeline”

The hunt for supersymmetry: Reviewing the first run – 2

I’d linked to a preprint paper [PDF] on arXiv a couple days ago that had summarized the search for Supersymmetry (Susy) from the first run of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). I’d written to one of the paper’s authors, Pascal Pralavorio at CERN, seeking some insights into his summary, but unfortunately he couldn’t reply by theContinue reading “The hunt for supersymmetry: Reviewing the first run – 2”

Which way does antimatter swing?

In our universe, matter is king: it makes up everything. Its constituents are incredibly tiny particles – smaller than even the protons and neutrons they constitute – and they work together with nature’s forces to make up… everything. There was also another form of particle once, called antimatter. It is extinct today, but when theContinue reading “Which way does antimatter swing?”

Higgs boson closer than ever

The article, as written by me, appeared in The Hindu on March 7, 2013. — Ever since CERN announced that it had spotted a Higgs boson-like particle on July 4, 2012, their flagship Large Hadron Collider (LHC), apart from similar colliders around the world, has continued running experiments to gather more data on the elusiveContinue reading “Higgs boson closer than ever”

A different kind of experiment at CERN

This article, as written by me, appeared in The Hindu on January 24, 2012. — At the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, experiments are conducted by many scientists who don’t quite know what they will see, but know how to conduct the experiments that will yield answers to their questions. TheyContinue reading “A different kind of experiment at CERN”