GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Hiding in the suburbs behind trees and a meadow with furry brown donkeys is a warehouse with an elevator that only visits negative floors. Hundreds of feet down, hyper complex detectors inside an octagonal tube the colour and size of a large barn whistle loudly and peer like cameras at protons, the positively charged bits at the center of every atom. Those cameras may have just produced an exotic phase of matter in a brand new way. Maybe.
Tagged With particle physics
Conceptually, particle physics experiments are surprisingly simple. Smash a buttload of particles together, and look at what comes out. The results will either confirm whatever the business-as-usual theory is, or, if there's a really crystal clear deviation from that theory, they might prove some new hypothesis about some new particles. But the middle ground, where the difference between what we know and what we see is still fuzzy, is where a lot of results live.
Fermilab's Tevatron collider officially retired in 2011 after a long and glorious history of scientific discovery. But the data from its final run is still yielding potentially exciting results. Physicists from the DZero collaboration have announced the discovery of a new particle, believed to be part of an exotic family called "tetraquarks".
The nuclear strong force binds the smallest bits of matter together to form atoms, thereby making our material world possible. Now physicists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have made the first-ever measurement of a similar strong force for antimatter — the mirror image of regular matter that lies at the heart of one of our biggest cosmological mysteries.
So you want to become a particle physicist, but you're just not sure which area of research is best suited to your temperament. Never fear, special snowflakes! Symmetry magazine now has a fun personality quiz* to help you find out your physics destiny.
After two years of upgrades, the world's largest particle accelerator is back and business. And it's already bashing subatomic particles together at higher energies than ever before to probe the most fundamental questions about the nature of the universe.