Tag Archives: particle physics

Midnight Sun

“I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected.” Those were the words uttered by the eminent physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 when he first put forward the idea of the neutrino. Such is the delightful eccentricity of physicists of … Continue reading

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Black hole nucleosynthesis

If I had to pick a handful of favourite things in all of physics, black holes and nuclear fusion would be among them. Hands down. This interesting little paper which I stumbled across earlier (via a link to the APS … Continue reading

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Peter Higgs and the Chocolate Cookie

“Picture the scene: Geordie boy Prof Peter Higgs steps out of the lecture theatre into the refreshments area, hoping to get to the coffee and those delicious chocolate cookies. Unfortunately, he is besieged by a throng of clamouring scientists, hacks … Continue reading

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A brand new boson?

It’s official. As was the subject of a press conference here in Europe this morning, the LHC has discovered a new particle. Is it the much talked about Higgs boson? Evidently it’s far too early to say with certainty. But whatever … Continue reading

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Cosmic Rays and Chemicals

Did you know that, seen in high energy gamma rays, the Moon is actually brighter than the Sun? Remarkably, the photons that make up this image carried over 20 million electron volts of energy each. That already sounds like a … Continue reading

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Looking for planets? It’s all about the lithium!

I have a lot of respect for planet hunters. It’s not an easy job. Discovering and confirming the existence of a planet requires a lot of patience, and I’d imagine it must be frustrating at times. So I’m sure a … Continue reading

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“Who ordered that?”

While you were reading this sentence, several hundred muons passed straight through your body. In fact, around ten thousand pass each square metre of Earth’s surface every minute. Slightly disconcerting, isn’t it? A muon is essentially a bigger, fatter version … Continue reading

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α’s always welcome at the helium party!

I stumbled upon a fascinating paper on arXiv the other day. Anyone who works with lasers should be familiar with the concept of stimulated emission – the means by which photons excite electrons which, in turn, emit more photons (identical, … Continue reading

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Colliding Hadrons

So the LHC is up and running, and pretty soon (within a few weeks, apparently) it’ll start smashing things together. Ultimately, it’ll be able to reach energies of 7 Teraelectronvolts. The funny thing is, while 7 trillion electronvolts may be … Continue reading

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Happy Particle Day!

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