The Wild West of physics

January 22, 2015 by Charlotte Hsu
The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) pixel detector. The CMS is used to detect particles generated by collisions at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator. A University at Buffalo team is working to connect findings from particle acceleration experiments to findings in cosmology. Credit: CERN

Call it macro-micro physics: the study of the huge paired with the study of the very, very small.

In a new National Science Foundation-funded project, University at Buffalo physicists are looking to bridge the gap between two related but distinctive fields: the study of "outer space" (stars and galaxies) and "inner space" (fundamental particles and forces).

That description is from UB Professor Will Kinney, one of the three scientists involved. His partners on the research are Associate Professor Dejan Stojkovic, the principal investigator, and Professor Doreen Wackeroth.

To explain their project further: In the moments after the Big Bang, when the universe was young, it was an incredibly hot, dense soup of matter and energy.

Today, physicists can study this unique time in history by creating a similar environment inside giant machines called particle accelerators, which slam teeny-tiny protons into one another to create even smaller particles. The accelerators are like a "time machine," enabling scientists to study the conditions of the baby universe, Wackeroth says.

This is just one way in which research on the huge (cosmology) and the miniscule (subatomic particles and particle acceleration) are connected.

Taken together, the two fields could provide answers to some of the most important questions in physics today: How did our universe begin? How do gravity and quantum mechanics relate to one another? And what is the role of the vacuum in space and time?

The new project will advance knowledge in all of these areas.

"If you want to understand the macro—the cosmos—you have to understand the micro," Stojkovic says.

The hunt for 'exotic physics'

The team will be asking some bizarre questions.

For example, Stojkovic's portion of the research involves, among other things, a computer simulation called BlackMax that he created with colleagues. The program is what physicists call an "event generator," and it will help researchers investigate one of the great questions in science today: What is dark matter?

BlackMax shows what it would look like if a collision inside a particle accelerator generated various forms of "exotic physics"—phenomena beyond what scientists have observed in the real world.

Researchers at the world's most powerful , the Large Hadron Collider, use BlackMax to determine if their collision experiments are producing any of the anomalies the program simulates, including components of string theory or mini .

(If you're worried that such black holes could destroy the Earth, don't: Those that could be created at the Large Hadron Collider would have a lifetime of around 10 to the minus 27 seconds, "which is incredibly short," Stojkovic says. "They will practically disappear in a burst of particles before they have any chance to suck even a single atom. BlackMax describes this process very precisely.")

So how does this relate to the NSF-funded project's theme of using the small to investigate the big, and vice versa?

The answer is that the curiosities explored by BlackMax are directly connected to the study of the universe.

Here's how: Today's telescopes can only detect 4 percent of the stuff that makes up the cosmos. Scientists know the other 96 percent exists because it distorts space in a way that can be seen, but they don't know what it is. This missing, invisible stuff is called "dark matter" and "dark energy."

According to Stojkovic, "Dark matter could be entirely comprised of tiny which were formed naturally in the early universe"—the types of tiny black holes modeled by BlackMax.

He says that while this possibility may seem unlikely, the time has come for asking strange questions.

"We need to ask strange questions, since nature sometimes uses logic superior to our own," Stojkovic says. "Some of the phenomena we are exploring with BlackMax may sound unusual and indeed may not exist. But if we never ask the question, we'll never find out. If we discover that they do exist, the implications will be enormous in terms of our understanding of our universe."

That's science: Many great discoveries and observed phenomena are totally bizarre.

And if there were ever a time to explore odd possibilities, this is it.

When scientists launched the Large Hadron Collider in 2008, one major objective was to find the Higgs boson, an extremely important fundamental particle that had been predicted by scientists but never before observed. The Higgs was discovered at the facility in 2012, marking the success of one of the greatest scientific endeavors of our time.

However, a second goal of scientists working with the collider proved more elusive: They had hoped that the proton-proton collisions there would generate a new, never-before-seen zoo of particles, some of which would account for dark matter. But this has not happened, which suggests that physicists may be looking for the wrong thing, or need to improve their search strategies, Stojkovic says.

Enter BlackMax.

As the Large Hadron Collider gears up for a new season this spring after a two-year break for maintenance, the program will be assisting scientists in their quest for .

The UB researchers aren't suggesting that all of the possibilities they are examining truly exist. They are, in fact, expecting that their work could generate negative results, possibly helping to debunk exotic theories.

For the love of knowing

Why does this research matter?

It's a question that Stojkovic, Kinney and Wackeroth hear all the time. One answer is spin-offs: particle collider research has generated all sorts of new knowledge and machinery that could lead to advancements in fields from health care to computing.

But at the heart of the matter is simple scientific curiosity—the joy of discovery.

Kinney's portion of the new NSF-funded project will involve studying various models of the early universe, and explaining what new data from particle accelerators tells us about the properties of the infant cosmos. Wackeroth will be honing the accuracy of models showing what types of particles are produced at the Large Hadron Collider.

To better understand the world around us—the origins of our universe, and the smallest particles that make up the matter in the cosmos, on Earth and inside of each one of us—is a worthwhile goal, the scientists say.

"It brings society to a higher level," Stojkovic says.

Kinney explains the importance of basic science this way: "Electricity was once considered a parlor trick. Five hundred years ago, when it was shown that the sun was at the center of the Solar System, it wasn't necessarily clear why this mattered. It turned out that this realization was the key that allowed Newton to develop his laws of motion, which form the basis of our entire technological society today.

"Now, we are again trying to understand the structure of the cosmos. The impact of what we're learning cannot be measured, but we know that the questions we are asking are important. Fundamental discoveries drive progress in society in unpredictable ways."

Explore further: What's next for particle physicists, post-Higgs?

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ElectronSpinDensityPlots
not rated yet Jan 22, 2015
Dark matter, dark energy, & the cosmos is certainly not my specialty, so please take the following with a grain of salt. Using an event generator, similar to BlackMax, would it be possible, make sense to simulate the unfolding of events of ~simultaneously 3+ colliding (beams of) particles at arbitrary or strategic angles to "strip away" the nucleons of an atomic center, held extremely tight together by the immensely attractive nuclear force of the center of the atoms, in a sense, to "build up" a series of stronger, longer-lasting or (careful) self-sustaining mini-black holes, aka, larger & larger nuclear center/nuclear force unions? For example, would the adjoining of several nuclear forces/nuclear centers (ie, atoms w/ their nucleons stripped) and up to an immensely large number of nuclear forces/nuclear centers produce a mini-black hole all the way up to extremely large & self-sustaining black holes? Please forgive as my specialty is more w/ pharmacologic structure determination
CMAenergy
1 / 5 (7) Jan 22, 2015
Seems science has already assumed there was a big bang,
You can't prove that easily. You can't reach the outer limits of the thing called out space, to know exactly what is coming or going, Your on the inside looking away as things keep traveling further away. and is it expanding faster then one can see.

Then how can you say stones are so old, when you can't prove the dating system of palladium rings will not hold true. Do the study and see that that is true, So why is it they use round circular analysis to say some thing is so old when both are only an assumption, By using 1 theory to prove another.
It is much easier to look at all the wonderful things on earth that disagrees with anything called a big bang theory, and it is impossible for the odds to say big bang, If that was so, Put a stick of dynamite under your chair, and ask yourself, How long before I will be evolved as you would say. Impossible odds, Rather easier to agree to creation. Just look at the beauty around us
Losik
Jan 22, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
arom
1 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2015
Today, physicists can study this unique time in history by creating a similar environment inside giant machines called particle accelerators, which slam teeny-tiny protons into one another to create even smaller particles….


Smaller particles -? Maybe it is wrong interpretation, actually it seems that all the new particles are bigger (having more energy), isn't it?

Taken together, the two fields could provide answers to some of the most important questions in physics today: ….. How do gravity and quantum mechanics relate to one another?


How could we do if we do not understand how the mechanism of both gravity and quantum mechanics work?

And what is the role of the vacuum in space?


It seems that physicists today depend on it a lot, but pay no attention; maybe it could solve all the problems mentioned ….
http://www.vacuum...=9〈=en
Whydening Gyre
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 22, 2015
CMA.
All empirical evidence points to a "Big Bang" (or maybe just a "Little Wiggle"). Provide concrete evidence of something else and science will point in that direction.
At this point in time, all evidence tells us that more than likely, the Universe created itself. And everything in it evolved from that point.
Maintaining an "It's all beyond my comprehension" attitude indicates an "I give up" kinda attitude. And Albert E. said "weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character..."

Personally, I think it started from an imbalance of "total nothing" and a tiny spot of "almost nothing" - and the dance began.:-)...
However, that is a conversation for a different place and time (and probably involving some sort of brain altering substance).
This site is here to discuss science, not debunk it.
If ya wanna be amazed, be amazed by all the different ideas and things science has come up with to make your life more productive and interesting (like the computer you communicate with).
RealityCheck
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 22, 2015
Hi Whyde. :) If self-evident alternative makes current BB-related assumptions/interpretations untenable, it is unseemly to not actually address them squarely and fairly in order to keep up a pretense that better reality-based 'contra-indications 'do not exist'. :)

Confirmation Bias has insidiously infected the mainstream science literature/studies/review-system (as confirmed by recent mainstream scientists articles on this very problem). It is this bias that keeps allowing people to make 'claims' of 'done deal' like you have just made. Don't add more uncritical adherence to Confirmation Biased BBang 'understanding/view' of the Universal Phenomenon. Given due consideration, one can see eternal-infinite 'steady-state-overall-recycling-over-eons' energy-space Universe can produce all that we observe that is currently being misunderstood/misapplied as supposedly 'supporting BBang' scenarios.

Challenging/debunking is part of Scientific Method. One can't have it both ways. :)
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 22, 2015
Hi Whyde. :) If self-evident alternative makes current BB-related assumptions/interpretations untenable, it is unseemly to not actually address them squarely and fairly in order to keep up a pretense that better reality-based 'contra-indications 'do not exist'. :)

They are unproven, unsubstantiated alternatives. Usually without the capability to back them up empirically.
That said, however.... The pic at the beginning of the article is pretty cool....
RealityCheck
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 22, 2015
Hi Whyde. :)
They are unproven, unsubstantiated alternatives.
See how insidious is the lag effect of Confirmation Bias infesting mainstream Cosmology literature/interpretations/claims etc? You've just repeated a falsity-based 'belief' built upon a foundation of confirmation bias based claims which you 'believe' to 'prove' anything at all, let alone that alternatives are not viable even BEFORE the biased swerve into BBang fantasies now pervading literature/beliefs/thoughts in you/those not yet aware of the terrible mistake: ignoring the previously perfectly valid and observations-supported infinite-eternal process 'steady state' overall Universal energy-space phenomena. Occam's Razor, and increasingly contrary indications and just plain realization that confirmation bias has been driving belief/certainty in BBang etc, now makes clear the earlier understandings were valid, and now increasingly informed/confirmed. Rethink it from scratch. Don't miss the obvious this time. :)
Uncle Ira
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 23, 2015
Challenging/debunking is part of Scientific Method. One can't have it both ways. :)


@ Really-Skippy. How you are this morning Cher? I'm good me, thanks for asking.

Putting out the better idea than the one you are debunking it part of the Scientist's Methods too. Maybe that is a part you could show us about. It's easy to be a debunker if you don't have anything that can be debunked in return.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (5) Jan 23, 2015
Hi Whyde. Isn't it too 'funny' that idiot Ira.....who BOT-votes from a person/source LIST in order to SKEW rating system on a SCIENCE site.....is now chiming in with the bleeding obvious?

Oh the Irony; the Humanity; the Insensibility of it!

It doesn't appear to have been 'updated' into Ira-idiot-bot's trolling database that I've been presenting ideas/discussion points for years; and that I am soon publishing the complete work for just that: falsification or confirmation, as the case may be.

Is this lowest-common-denominator idiot Ira, pretending to be in any position to fairly judge anything/anyone/ideas, let alone have any real objective scientific interest or ethics (his BOT-voting continues, remember), now a 'champion of science discourse' for this century?

How sad for science/discourse; when genuine members who would discuss ideas for their own sake can be sabotaged/harassed by such 'personality' cretins.

By your silence 'it' flourishes. And 'it' is a travesty.
Whydening Gyre
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 23, 2015
It doesn't appear to have been 'updated' into Ira-idiot-bot's trolling database that I've been presenting ideas/discussion points for years; and that I am soon publishing the complete work for just that: falsification or confirmation, as the case may be.

No, you haven't. You've claimed you had info but were too worried about plagiarists and the like to give it out. We live in a "give a little to get some" world.
Is this lowest-common-denominator idiot Ira, pretending to be in any position to fairly judge anything/anyone/ideas, let alone have any real objective scientific interest or ethics (his BOT-voting continues, remember), now a 'champion of science discourse' for this century?

Ira appears to be shootin' from his gut (intuition) that tells him what I said above is true.
sabotaged/harassed by such 'personality' cretins.

Thee only person sabotaging you is yourself.

Oh the Irony; the Humanity; the Insensibility of it!
RealityCheck
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 24, 2015
Hi Whyde. :)
You've claimed you had info but were too worried about plagiarists and the like to give it out.
I have been posting ideas/discussion points and 'soundboarding' for years across four/five forums. I withdrew last year from further detailed discussion of it because complete work publishing soon. Not worth last-minute involvement in futile arguments with trolls, or 'piecemeal' priority-battles etc; which history shows usually accompanies/distracts authors of major works. And, as recent PO articles highlighted, the probability of plagiarism/sabotage etc is REAL. So only sensible to learn from history, yes?
Ira appears to be shootin' from his gut (intuition) that tells him what I said above is true.
Double standards again? Intuition is ridiculed when others try that on, but it's 'ok' when 'it suits' your opinions?
The only person sabotaging you is yourself.
So Ira BOT-voting irrespective from a 'list' is 'ok' with you as long as it '5's you? Hmmm.
Whydening Gyre
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 24, 2015
... the probability of plagiarism/sabotage etc is REAL. So only sensible to learn from history, yes?

Quit tryin' to talk like Yoda.
Ira appears to be shootin' from his gut (intuition) that tells him what I said above is true.
Double standards again? Intuition is ridiculed when others try that on, but it's 'ok' when 'it suits' your opinions?

When it fit's better with my intuition - yes.
The only person sabotaging you is yourself.

So Ira BOT-voting irrespective from a 'list' is 'ok' with you as long as it '5's you? Hmmm?

Don't give a crap what someone votes me. Had "lite" follow me through every thread at one time and 1 it all. Anyway, that's them deciding that my intuition fits with theirs...
I don't believe in whining about it...
Uncle Ira
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 24, 2015
So Ira BOT-voting irrespective from a 'list' is 'ok' with you as long as it '5's you? Hmmm.


Really-Skippy for a "wanna-be-a-scientist-or-at-least-fool-people-to-think-I-am-one" you are not very smart are you? I give Whydening-Skippy 5 votes because he is nice and pleasant to me and everybody. Also his commentations are fun and light and interesting to read.

I give you 1 votes because you are always talking down to everybody you talk to and you are always grumpy and ill-tempered. You are the buffoon without trying to be one. And the harder you try to be the BIG SMART CHIEF the sillier you look.

Do some experimenting diligence, Do it better and see if you can figure it out. It is not rocket doctor science, it's just the way the world is.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2015
Whyde, is that your 'scientific' unbiased 'justification' for abetting obvious bot-voting idiot trolls on a SCIENCE site?
Quit tryin' to talk like Yoda.
You know what 'limited text' format here does to expressions when they have to be 'pruned' to fit. Stop making 'semantics' the basis of your 'defense' for the indefensible abetting of bot-voting twerps.
When it fit's better with my intuition - yes.
So your measure of objective fact is based on what BOT-votes suit your own intuition?...despite all evidence to the contrary? What are you doing to yourself, Whyde?
Don't give a crap what someone votes me.
But you don't criticize bot-voters on a SCIENCE site because you are scared it will no longer '5' you. Cowardly appeasement is destructive to you in the end irrespective of expedient 'rationalizations'.
I don't believe in whining...
On a SCIENCE site, no-one should be put into a position of being BOT-voted against irrespective of content. Agreed?
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2015
Anyhow, Whyde, if you are agreed with that last, then Peace; and Bye for now. Cheers. :)
Whydening Gyre
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 25, 2015
You completely turned around my statements and mistated them to fit your agenda. That makes you look like a sad little man.
Now, Stop trying to win me over to your "side".
And put up or shut up with your TOE...
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2015
On a SCIENCE site, no-one should be put into a position of being BOT-voted against irrespective of content. Agreed?


@ Really-Skippy. How you are Skippy? I'm good, thanks for asking.

Let me tell you one thing Cher. Should I be put into the position of having you decide how I vote, and what I vote on as long as I follow the rules and only vote the one time for each comments that peoples make? Telling me how to vote is not working in your favor Podna. Telling other people to tell me how to vote is a crime against scientists and humans.

Would you knock it off the crying babies? I don't know how they do things over there in Australia but down here in Louisiana, we vote fair, and suck it up and move on if we lose the election. That is why we all know you are not the 69 year old scientist-Skippy. Because you act like the 35 year Skippy with the mental condition that lives in momma's spare bedroom when you are not in the institution being checked by the doctors.
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2015
On a SCIENCE site, no-one should be put into a position of being BOT-voted against irrespective of content. Agreed?


P.S. for you Really-Skippy from me again because I run out of space before.

And let me tell you one more another thing Skippy, even if I was to quit voting 1 for you, you will still have the bad karma score. Because I only have the one vote, that's how we do things down here. We tried that before, remember? But you were still nasty to me when I tried to make the peace and be nice. You still get the 1 votes because a lot of peoples besides me think you are the couyon. You are like the Zephir-Skippy, you get the bad karma score card anyway without my vote. He gets about the same score you do and I never vote on him no.

You don't have a clue about it it, do you Cher? Voting is not scientical. Scientist-Skippys don't care about votes. I don't know if they even take votes when they do their stuffs. Only not-scientist-Skippys care about votes.
PhotonX
5 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2015
OFF TOPIC
...
Isn't it too 'funny' that idiot Ira.....who BOT-votes from a person/source LIST in order to SKEW rating system on a SCIENCE site.....

@RealityCheck: I'm not saying one way or the other that I think it is, but conceding for the sake of argument that what you say is true, would you mind explaining how exactly it is that you know this, and how that works?
.
.
movementiseternal
Jan 25, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2015
HI Whyde. :) Take it easy, man! :) Wasn't it you (and the bully-bot-voter-idiot you are so cowardly and self-interestedly intent on appeasing at every turn so he will not turn on you) who told others to "have a sense of humor"? Where's yours?

Mate, what are you doing to Artist's Integrity?...that you will abet a travesty like Bot-voting Uncle Ira while you attacking those with the courage to stand up to "it"?

By your silence "it" flourishes; and "it" is a travesty of all science and humanity ethics. No 'sense of humor' will compensate for the damage done to otherwise free and open discourse and ratings system ON A SCIENCE SITE.

Before you react, Whyde, let the inner ARTIST's VISION (you profess to have) free rein to PAINT YOUR OWN PORTRAIT now; depicting honestly your baser selfish nature appeasing bullies bot-voting and skewing/lying about people irrespective of posted science/logics/facts content.

Then see your 'sense of humor' being bought at too high a price! :(
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2015
Hi PhotonX. :) Longtime readers/members here will attest that Uncle Ira was tricked into openly admitting "it" BOT-voted from "its" personal hate/like list IRRESPECTIVE of content posted. His BOT-voting is within SECONDS...across many threads, rarely even addressing points/issues/facts/links posted!

Even my objective observations supporting Climate Science trends/conclusions, "it" bot-votes me a '1'...at odds with what his 'friends' did!

So idiot-bot-Ira even downvotes my posts which AGREE with his 'friends' on Climate Science. It rates from "its" PERSONAL hate-list...BOT-like proven already! :)

The tragic irony is that "it" accuses ME of attempting to dictate to others what to vote or why!

In fact all I've done is expose "its" idiot-bot-vote ANTISCIENCE attempts to skew/dictate what readers' 'filter' will show because "it" bot-votes '1' to even CORRECT SCIENCE posts.

Some forums deactivated their ratings system due to similar BOT-voters corrupting them.

Ok, mate?

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