US experiments find hint of a break in the laws of physics

At 9 pm India time on April 7, physicists at an American research facility delivered a shot in the arm to efforts to find flaws in a powerful theory that explains how the building blocks of the universe work. Physicists are looking for flaws in it because the theory doesn’t have answers to some questionsContinue reading “US experiments find hint of a break in the laws of physics”

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””

A new LHC: 10 things to look out for

Through an extraordinary routine, the most powerful machine built by humankind is slowly but surely gearing up for its relaunch in March 2015. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), straddling the national borders of France and Switzerland, will reawaken after two years of upgrades and fixes to smash protons at nearly twice the energy it did duringContinue reading “A new LHC: 10 things to look out for”

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”

New Higgs results show signs of SUSY

Two years ago, physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider first announced the discovery of a Higgs boson-like particle, setting the high-energy physics community atwitter. And it was only a couple weeks ago that physicists also announced that the particle was definitely the one predicted by the sturdy Standard Model of particle physics, the theory thatContinue reading “New Higgs results show signs of SUSY”

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”

The hunt for supersymmetry: Reviewing the first run

What do dark matter, Higgs bosons, the electron dipole moment, topological superconductors and quantum loops have in common? These are exotic entities that scientists have been using to solve some longstanding problems in fundamental physics. Specifically, by studying these entities, they expect to discover new ingredients of the universe that will help them answer why it is the way it is.Continue reading “The hunt for supersymmetry: Reviewing the first run”

The hunt for supersymmetry: Is a choke on the cards?

As scientists have progressed by leaps and bounds in making discoveries and confirming new ideas, they have been disappointed by how one of their favorite theories has been unable to post a positive status update in… years.

Window for an advanced theory of particles closes further

A version of this article, as written by me, appeared in The Hindu on November 22, 2012. — On November 12, at the first day of the Hadron Collider Physics Symposium at Kyoto, Japan, researchers presented a handful of results that constrained the number of hiding places for a new theory of physics long believedContinue reading “Window for an advanced theory of particles closes further”

Signs of a slowdown

The way ahead for particle physics seems dully lit after CERN’s fourth-of-July firecracker. The Higgs announcement got everyone in the physics community excited – and spurred a frenzied submission of pre-prints all rushing to explain the particle’s properties. However, that excitement quickly died out after ICHEP ’12 was presented with nothing significant, even with anythingContinue reading “Signs of a slowdown”

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.Continue reading “After the Higgs-boson-like particle, what's next?”