Professors Patrick Skubic, Mike Strauss, Brad Abbott and Phillip Gutierrez, OU College of Arts and Sciences, Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, work on projects at both Fermilab and CERN. The group concurs the discovery of the Higgs is one of the most important results produced from the international collaboration. The Higgs is the missing piece of the puzzle—it is the one particle that validates and completes what is known in particle physics as the Standard Model.
"We are trying to understand nature by answering some of the most fundamental questions of the universe," says Strauss. "What are the most basic building blocks of the universe? How did the universe begin? If you don't understand nature today, you won't have technological advances tomorrow. Semi-conductors are a very good example of this," Strauss remarks.
"Along the way, scientists make discoveries that result in major technological advances. In order to discover these things, we often have to develop new technologies, such as high-speed electronics," says Abbott. "A part of the OU supercomputer is used to analyze data from the Atlas project at CERN."
"Another important note, OU scientists helped to build parts of the detector used at CERN and some assembly of detector parts was done in Oklahoma City. Oklahomans played an important role in the discovery of the Higgs boson," according to Skubic.
Gutierrez explained the differences in how the data is collected at Fermilab and CERN. Fermilab collected data from 2001 to 2011 and ran experiments at a much lower energy than CERN. The other difference is that CERN looks at the decay of the Higgs particle to photons and Fermilab looks at its decay to b-quarks. Fermilab's approach is more direct while CERN's approach is more indirect; however, the two complement each other.
Data collected and analyzed at 5 sigma indicated the discovery of a new particle, but CERN cautioned that further analysis is needed to determine if the particle has the properties of the Higgs. Gutierrez says additional data will be collected and analyzed and samples will have to be extracted to see how the particles decay. The Higgs boson decays immediately after production. So, reconstructing the Higgs in the various decay modes is critical for verification.
Scientists will look at the mass of the particle to determine if it is consistent or inconsistent with the Standard Model. If it is inconsistent, Gutierrez says OU theorist Howard Baer or Chung Kao will be consulted to try to explain the inconsistency. According to Baer, "Finding the Higgs is only the tip of the iceberg. It raises a lot of questions, but we are closing the book on one chapter and opening the door to another chapter in the world of particle physics."
Funding for the U.S. projects comes from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. For more information about the OU High-Energy Physics group, visit www.nhn.ou.edu.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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