Updates tagged: “supersymmetry”
Many of the most important unanswered questions in fundamental physics are related to mass. Why do elementary particles, which we have observed and measured at CERN and other laboratories, have the masses they do? And why are they so different, with the mass of the top quark more than three hundred thousand times that of the electron? The presence of dark matter in our universe is inferred because of its mass but, if it is a particle, what is it? While the Standard Model has been a tremendously successful theory in describing the interactions of sub-atomic particles, we must look to even larger masses in search of answers and, potentially, new supersymmetric particles
ATLAS physicists have been eagerly searching the collected data for evidence of the production of the supersymmetric top quark (squark). Recent ATLAS results feature five separate searches for this elusive particle.
The nature of dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries in physics. While extraordinary, the Standard Model can not explain dark matter, whose existence is well established by cosmological measurements.
According to classical electrodynamics, the electromagnetic energy (and mass) of a point-like electron should be infinite. This is of course not the case! The solution of the riddle is antimatter - the ‘vacuum’ around every electron is filled with a cloud of electrons and anti-electrons and the combined energy turns out to be finite.
Most of the matter in the universe is made not of stuff we understand, but of invisible “dark matter” particles. We have yet to observe these mysterious particles on Earth, presumably because they interact so weakly with normal matter. The high energy collisions in the Large Hadron Collider provide our best current hope of making dark matter particles, and thus giving us a better understanding what most of the universe is made of.
If all the experimental evidence supports a theory, why should anyone want to dream up additional particles? Yet exactly this situation arose in the late 1960s. At that time, when the complete table of the known hadrons could be explained with just three quarks, theorists were already proposing a fourth, which they whimsically called “charm”.
Theories, such as supersymmetry, propose the existence of new types of particles to explain important questions about the universe, such as the nature of dark matter. ATLAS has performed a search for one such type – exotic heavy particles that have lifetimes long enough that they travel partway through the detector before decaying, at what is called a displaced vertex.
Friday was the last occasion for Moriond participants to see new results on specific physics topics since Saturday is reserved for summary talks. The topic was 'Beyond the Standard Model' -- a very large subject, which covers an incredible number of theoretical models, from Supersymmetry to Two-Higgs-Doublet Models, two of the most discussed topics of the day.
The winter conference season is well under way, and what better way to fill my first blog post than with a report from one of the premier conferences in particle and astroparticle physics: the Rencontres de Moriond.