Iowa State physicists excited about Higgs studies, look forward to new physics

Aug 31, 2012
Data from the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider show the tracks of electrons (green) and their heavier cousins muons (red) during proton-proton collisions recorded on June 18, 2012. Physicists say the event could be evidence of the long-sought Higgs boson. Image: ATLAS Experiment © 2012 CERN

Ten Iowa State University physicists have their names on a new paper describing how the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider has observed a new particle in the search for the Higgs boson.

Get the faculty leaders of Iowa State's work with the in a conference room and it's clear they're proud of the research described in that paper. After all, few expected a Higgs-like particle to be detected within three years of the collider's restart in November 2009.   

But, they're also quick to say any future discoveries at the collider near Geneva, Switzerland, that's operated by the for () could be even more exciting.

"The most disappointing outcome, which is still quite exciting, would be if we find the Higgs and nothing else – we really do hope that we will find something beyond the Standard Model," said Jim Cochran, a professor of physics and astronomy. "That would be an absolutely monumental discovery."

Soeren Prell, a professor of physics and astronomy, said the Standard Model of particle physics already tells a lot about the Higgs, a theorized to be an of a field that interacts with other particles, giving them their mass. The standard model of particles and their interactions, however, doesn't tell physicists the mass of the .

The ATLAS physics paper explains that a particle with a mass of about 126 billion electron volts has been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider. The paper says the particle is "compatible with the production and decay of the Higgs boson."

Prell said there will be many more studies to determine just what the physicists have found. If it is the Higgs boson, physicists still have to collect more data and perform additional studies to measure its exact mass and confirm other properties.

"We want to emphasize the discovery of this Higgs-like particle is a huge achievement," said Chunhui Chen, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy. "But we did expect that. In the future we will find even more interesting things."

Those discoveries could include:

  • an explanation of how matter came to dominate antimatter in the early universe
  • direct production of dark matter, the mysterious and invisible matter that makes up 84 percent of the universe
  • an understanding of why the force of gravity is so weak.
"This whole thing could really be getting into science fiction, things like hidden dimensions or a fourth generation of quarks and leptons," said W. Thomas Meyer, a retired adjunct research professor of physics and astronomy. "I really think the next 10 to 20 years of high energy physics could be very exciting."

As physicists and engineers upgrade the Large Hadron Collider and ramp it up to nearly full power of 7 trillion per beam of colliding protons or lead ions in late 2014 and early 2015, the Iowa State researchers expect more opportunities for new physics.

More energy in the collider is better for finding new physics than just collecting more data at the same energy levels, Prell said. It's like Einstein said – E=mc² – more energy equals heavier particles to study in the collider.

As the physics goes to higher energies, Iowa Staters are positioned to contribute to any discoveries at the Large Hadron Collider: Cochran will help manage United States operations of the ; Prell is working with the software for the silicon pixel detector (the innermost part of the larger ATLAS detector); Chen just finished a one-year ATLAS fellowship at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., and is developing new techniques to search for new physics; Meyer is giving talks and doing other work to explain the high energy physics at the collider; and Eli Rosenberg, an Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy, collaborated on the ATLAS project and is just finishing an assignment with the U.S. Department of Energy.

There are also Iowa State post-doctoral research associates, graduate students and undergraduates working on collider experiments.

As part of their work with the , Iowa State physicists are building collaborations at the Argonne and Brookhaven (Upton, N.Y.) national laboratories. The labs have tools and technologies that aren't available at Iowa State while the university has students not available at the labs.

Without those collaborations, it's difficult for students to get real experience in physics experiments.

And it would be impossible for students and faculty to get their names on big papers such as "Observation of a new particle in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector at the LHC."

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johanfprins
1 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2012
They have ONLY discovered another excited state of matter-waves: There is no proof whatsoever that it is a "Higgs boson". Such a "particle" is not even required to explain mass-energy. Mass-energy is a logical consequence of the wave-nature of matter. When an electron-wave moves past, it is a Maxwell-wave for the electric-potential of light; but this light is moving at a speed less than c. Thus, you can move WITH this wave; and within this inertial reference frame the wave-energy is stationary-energy: Voila MASS-ENERGY! The origin of mass-energy was solved by Einstein during 1905 to 1908.
dtyarbrough
1 / 5 (6) Sep 01, 2012
With billions of collisions occuring every second for years on end, and with the interaction between the collisions, any feasible pattern imaginable will emerge many times. The real question is why doesn't an expected pattern emerge most of the time? None of these patterns would ever emerge in nature, so what do they even prove? We have long since surpassed nature in our ability to create heat and pressure. Gravity, the weekest force in nature, can not create nor contain such forces.
jsdarkdestruction
2.2 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2012
"We have long since surpassed nature in our ability to create heat and pressure"

ahahahaha. are you kidding me? do you actually know about physics at all? answer=NO
johanfprins
1 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2012
"We have long since surpassed nature in our ability to create heat and pressure"

ahahahaha. are you kidding me? do you actually know about physics at all? answer=NO

Can you assure us that the "particles" which we are being created within our accelerators were around at the time of the Big Bang? I do not think so. It is claimed that one had such a terribly high temperature within a singularity that these so-called "building blocks" formed spontaneously. But to have a high temperature one must have a high kinetic energy; and this demands that energy must be moving through space. Is a singularity "space within which objects are moving"? Hardly likely. There was no temperature: Our universe started of at absolute zero temperature and zero entropy. Kinetic-energy and thus time, only came into being after Guth's inflation which occured instantaneously, before time started to manifest!
Shahidur_Rahman_Sikder
1 / 5 (7) Sep 02, 2012
Pensive it mentioned below the little serving as an example about reality of Creator and see how our God is!

"Beginning of the creation a part of the power of the nature became divisible as a result of the big bang". Again, "Everything of the present universe is the result of evolution of single energy of Power" i.e. revolving of the sole level picture and evolution of picture or advent of multilateral matter as a result of change.

In or under the circumstances

As I see it that the existence of the God/creator is in everything at all i.e. God is omnivorous i.e. at the root of God or creator is everything at all in the universe. Everything is the result by evolution/variable of her part such as in physics
jsdarkdestruction
2.2 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2012
their is no evidence of a god. you are deluding yourself with wishful thinking....
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (6) Sep 02, 2012
It's not single Higgs boson, but the whole spectrum of dodecahedral quantum foam (AdS/CFT dual to dark matter foam), which has been observed at LHC...
johanfprins
2 / 5 (4) Sep 03, 2012
It's not single Higgs boson, but the http://i50.tinypi...em2q.gif of dodecahedral quantum foam (AdS/CFT dual to dark matter foam), which has been observed at LHC...

What is dark matter? Foam??? So there was first soap, and then dark matter?
johanfprins
1 / 5 (4) Sep 03, 2012
There is dark matter but your explanation is pure fantasy: Anybody who believes in quarks and anyons is seriously deluded. There is no dynamic transition between bosons and fermions. Anyons is just another one of Frank Wilczek's hallucinations: Just like "asymptotic freedom".

Fractional charges do not exist and are not required to explain the fractional quantum Hall effect. The qunatum Hall effect is caused by superconduction: Integers relate to type I SC and fractions to type II SC. Anyons! What a JOKE!!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (22) Sep 03, 2012
@Yoda
Pensive it mentioned below the little serving as an example about reality of Creator and see how our God is!
But god missing from equations he is. Needed to explain anything, he isn't. Superfluous he made himself, has.
God is omnivorous
And so maybe he ate himself. This would explain a lot.
Ventilator
4.5 / 5 (4) Sep 04, 2012
http://www.youtub...PYvO4qCE

So, positing this, God won't be found, unless he wants to be?

I vote for stop preaching; there's no stopping a scientist from having faith but keeping the pursuit of applicable knowledge purely Empirical. That's the plan, and I say we stick to it.

This is a science site. A working mind should inform the user that nothing we do will find God, unless he wants to be found, should he exist.

As we currently know mathematics, we can't yet form a theory of everything. So, let's say we could; if God were not a part of this equation, would it really matter? Reality works due to an unknown; this may not be an unknown much longer.

Play on, MacDuff.

Edit: the unknown is the theory of everything equation.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (5) Sep 04, 2012
I don't quite understand, why these physicists are fascinated with new physics, when they revealed particle predicted with Standard Model before fifty years. What is evident from such proclamations is, they just want to keep their research jobs at any price.


That is humankind: If a system or institution can be abused it WILL be abused. This is our downfall.
Pkunk_
1.5 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
That is humankind: If a system or institution can be abused it WILL be abused. This is our downfall.

Rather , it is scientific insight and our greatest strength. There are always the perennial kooks who will pull out whacked out hypotheses right out of their asses. 99.9% of these will be complete nonsense , but that 0.1% which are thought of as nuts shake the very foundations of previous theories.
There were enough people who throught Newton , Galileo, Einstein as kooks. But then their theories were found to be verified by experimental fact. And suddenly they became the standard by which other competing theories were measured.
It is very important for these "outbursts" of creativity to happen , and equally important to ignore the trash which cannot be experimentally verified.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Sep 06, 2012
It is very important for these "outbursts" of creativity to happen , and equally important to ignore the trash which cannot be experimentally verified.

It's really more than outbursts. If you look atthe people you cited then ALL of those did some SERIOUS work on their theories - putting them on very solid mathematical foundations and double and triple checking against past observations before they published.

This is markedly different from the 'brainfarts' one sees around the net (and also on this very site in the comments sections)

Revolutionary insights never come from people who do not have a basic understanding of the subject. It comes from people who truly understand the old models (i.e. have studied them and worked with them) and see where they clash with reality.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Sep 06, 2012
I don't quite understand, why these physicists are fascinated with new physics, when they revealed particle predicted with Standard Model before fifty years.

If something is prediceted by theory (no matter how successful the theory is up to now) then that doesn't mean that the prediction will hold - until you actually do the experiment.

In the case of the Higgs there are several possibilities (a single Higgs or an entire Higgs-zoo with different properties) and we don't know which one it is. So whichever it turns out to be that will be new physics.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (4) Sep 06, 2012

If something is prediceted by theory (no matter how successful the theory is up to now) then that doesn't mean that the prediction will hold - until you actually do the experiment.

In the case of the Higgs there are several possibilities (a single Higgs or an entire Higgs-zoo with different properties) and we don't know which one it is. So whichever it turns out to be that will be new physics.

The greatest possibility is that this excitation does not do what is claimed that the Higgs boson is doing. All these billions of dollars have been waisted. If a theory predicts that there is a lion hiding in tall grass, movement of the grass does not prove that there is a lion: It could be squirrel. To excitedly state that this excitation confirms the hypothesis of the Higgs boson, violates every rule of sanity that should apply to physics research.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Sep 06, 2012
All these billions of dollars have been waisted

No they have not. It has deepend our understanding of the nature of reality. While this may not be imediately useful for a product at your local grocery store it will eventually be useful in one way or another.

E.g. if it turns out that the Higgs field exists we can start thinking about how to trick it into not interacting with mass...which would open the door to faster than light space travel and antigravity. If we can trick it into interacting more strongly with mass we can think about artificial gravity. Either of which would be enormously useful.

If a theory predicts that there is a lion hiding in tall grass, movement of the grass does not prove that there is a lion: It could be squirrel.

Exactly. That's why you invest in the experiment and not just walk by the grass because you don't care (it might be a lion and you would get eaten). The investment in the experiment may save your life.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (4) Sep 06, 2012
No they have not. It has deepend our understanding of the nature of reality.
When and where has it done so? I can think of more and better pursuits than to spend billions in order to create excited matter states which probably contribute nothing to "deepen our understanding" at all. These states most probably did not even exist when our universe inflated into existence.
E.g. if it turns out that the Higgs field exists we can start thinking about how to trick it into not interacting with mass...which would open the door to faster than light space travel and antigravity. If we can trick it into interacting more strongly with mass we can think about artificial gravity. Either of which would be enormously useful.
It is obvious that the Higgs-field is a fantasy! The reason for the existence of mass and gravity is a direct consequence of Maxwell's wave-equations for EM energy which model both light and matter. Any EM-wave moving with a speed less than c MUST have mass-energy
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Sep 06, 2012
When and where has it done so?

We didn't know there was a Higgs field. Now we can be reasonably sure (at least we're sure that there's something there we haven't seen before). How does this not count as 'deepening our understanding'. Just having a nice formula is not enough (see E8 or similar).

Any EM-wave moving with a speed less than c MUST have mass-energy

Since no such wave haws ever been observed that is exactly what I'm talking about. Just blindly plugging stuff into formulas is not what science is about. At some point you have to match theory to reality.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
When and where has it done so?

We didn't know there was a Higgs field. Now we can be reasonably sure (at least we're sure that there's something there we haven't seen before).
And by increasing the energy further you will get more and more irrelevant meaningless debris
How does this not count as 'deepening our understanding'. Just having a nice formula is not enough
Any physics that has been fudged by renormalisation is not a "nice formula".

Any EM-wave moving with a speed less than c MUST have mass-energy

Since no such wave haws ever been observed
It is easy to prove from Einstein's special relativity that an electron-wave is exactly such a wave: These waves are observed every day within electron microscopes.
Just blindly plugging stuff into formulas is not what science is about. At some point you have to match theory to reality.
Exactly: That is why the standard model is such a fake! You can NEVER match it to reality.
Ventilator
not rated yet Sep 06, 2012
Something I just thought of: Fe, Iron, is the heaviest atom on the periodic table, and the cutoff point where fusion stops as a reaction.

How might this be applied to helping achieve fusion power, long term? I'm thinking just as a starter turns over an internal combustion engine, does fusion per-chance need a small boost at the start to begin?

The answer is likely no, no need for a fusion reaction starter system; just a thought I was curious about.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
Natello,

You are very verbose while not saying anything! You definitely have a talent for saying nothing important in a manner that sounds important. Ever thought to go into politics?
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
Did you ever try to think, why we have just two main celebrated physical theories - not just three, four or single one?

As usual I cannot understand your motive for asking this question. What are the two "main celebrated theories" you are referring to?
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
General relativity and quantum mechanics, indeed. I don't care by now, if you're celebrating them personally or not. Why the understanding of reality got separated into two main models, which are inconsistent mutually? Did you ever put such a question? The realizing of problem is usually the very first step in its solution.

The same approach I do prefer with Higgs field or Standard Model. I don't care if you consider the Higgs field model or Standard Model correct or not. They're simply here - so we are facing the question, how to explain them. Not refusal, but explanation of theories should be the new approach in physics.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2012
General relativity and quantum mechanics, indeed. I don't care by now, if you're celebrating them personally or not. Why the understanding of reality got separated into two main models, which are inconsistent mutually?


They are not inconsistent: The stupidity of the Copenhagen interpretation based on "particle-wave" duality make them seem inconsistent. In fact, Schroedinger's equation is consistent with both Maxwell's equations AND with Einstein's gravity; as long as you accept the fact that light and matter consist of EM-waves: Moving and stationary EM-waves.

The same approach I do prefer with Higgs field or Standard Model.


Both are based on the Copenhagen interpretation and therefore both of them are just plain claptrap.

I don't care if you consider the Higgs field model or Standard Model correct or not. They're simply here - so we are facing the question, how to explain them.


Why "explain" models based on Voodoo? It is a waste of time
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (1) Sep 06, 2012
OK, they're claptrap. Does it imply some new testable predictions in sequence of logical steps? If not, then it's redundant hypothesis for now.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (3) Sep 07, 2012
Yes, many!! If only we lived in normal times where editors like Wilczek, 'tHoofdt. Berry, Eckern, Saller etc. do not censor new hypotheses, we would not have been in this quagmire of the standard model and non-existent Higgs bosons. If you write claptrap about anyons, renormalisation, etc. you get it published: But just try and write about physics-reality, then you have no chance to get it published. And Galileo thought it was bad in his times! He has not seen how bad it can become under our present cardinals and the Vatican called The Royal Society of London.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Sep 07, 2012
Any physics that has been fudged by renormalisation is not a "nice formula".

'Nice' is not a quality measure of a formula. Works/Doesn't work is the only quality measure that is relevant.

That is why the standard model is such a fake! You can NEVER match it to reality

If its predictions turn out to show up (like the Higgs boson did) then it's not a fake.
Fe, Iron, is the heaviest atom on the periodic table

No it is not. Please go look at a periodic before talking about it.
I'm thinking just as a starter turns over an internal combustion engine, does fusion per-chance need a small boost at the start to begin?

Please go look up fusion before using the word. It really makes no sense 'thinking about it' if you don't know what 'it' means.
johanfprins
1 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2012
Any physics that has been fudged by renormalisation is not a "nice formula".

'Nice' is not a quality measure of a formula. Works/Doesn't work is the only quality measure that is relevant.
Correct! That is why these models do not work! Renormalisation is used to fudge physics to get the answer you want to get by subtracting infinity from infinity. It does not give a rational model based on reality: It is incorrectly assumed that there is an electric field energy around a solitary electron, while there is no such thing.
That is why the standard model is such a fake! You can NEVER match it to reality

If its predictions turn out to show up (like the Higgs boson did) then it's not a fake.
There is NO PROOF whatsoever that the excitation discovered in CERN acts like a Higg's boson is supposed to be acting! To say that it proves the existence of the Higgs boson is BAD BAD physics. Now wonder physics is in the mess it is at present!