You want me to present a poster…. remotely?

Though an academic affair, poster sessions are also an opportunity to network and socialise with colleagues. Typically, a large hall will be filled with rows of poster stands, their authors standing anxiously beside them, anticipating whatever question may be posed by a passer-by. Finger food and drinks are usually served. Sometimes these encounters lead to in-depth discussions about a new result but, more often than not, they just serve as ice-breakers for would-be colleagues, or a kind of “physics buffet” for conference attendees to sample subjects outside their specialization. Could such an experience be recreated in an online conference?

22nd June 2020

Physicists gather online for the Large Hadron Collider Physics conference

The eighth Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP 2020) conference concluded today, 30 May, in Zoom rooms around the world. Instead of descending on Paris to meet, particle physicists held the conference fully online for the first time. As a result, LHCP 2020 welcomed some 1300 registered participants – nearly triple its previous record of attendance. A bumper crop of new ATLAS results were prepared for the conference covering a broad range of topics, from precise measurements of the Standard Model to novel searches for new physics. These new results probed the full dataset collected during Run 2 of the LHC (2015-2018) – a proven gold mine for ATLAS’ rich physics programme.

30th May 2020

New ATLAS result addresses long-standing tension in the Standard Model

This week, at the LHCP 2020 conference, the ATLAS Collaboration presented a precise measurement of lepton flavour universality using a brand-new technique. Physicists examined collision events where pairs of top quarks decay to pairs of W bosons, and subsequently into leptons. They then measured the relative probability that this lepton is a muon or a tau-lepton – a ratio known as R(τ/μ). According to the Standard Model, R(τ/μ) should be unity – but there has been long-standing tension with this prediction, ever since it was measured at the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider in the 1990s.

28th May 2020

Fantastic decays and where to find them

Supersymmetry offers an elegant solution to the limitations of the Standard Model, extending it to give each elementary particle a “superpartner” with different spin properties. Yet SUSY also contains interactions that would cause phenomena not observed in nature, such as the decay of protons. This has traditionally been avoided by requiring the conservation of a property known as “R-parity” (or “matter-parity”), which incorporates the baryon number, lepton number and spin. ATLAS physicists are also considering SUSY models with R-parity violation (or “RPV”), which would allow the lightest SUSY particle to be observed decaying directly into Standard Model particles.

27th May 2020

ATLAS finds evidence of spectacular four-top quark production

In a new result released today, the ATLAS Collaboration announced strong evidence of the production of four top quarks. This rare Standard Model process is expected to occur only once for every 70 thousand pairs of top quarks created at the LHC and has proven extremely difficult to measure.

26th May 2020

ATLAS measures light scattering on light and constrains axion-like particles

Light-by-light scattering is a very rare phenomenon in which two photons – particles of light – interact, producing another pair of photons. Direct observation of this process at high energy had proven elusive for decades, until it was first seen by the ATLAS Collaboration in 2016 and established in 2019. In a new measurement, ATLAS physicists are using light-by-light scattering to search for a hyped phenomenon beyond the Standard Model of particle physics: axion-like particles.

25th May 2020

Summary of new ATLAS results from LHCP 2020

The eighth annual conference on Large Hadron Collider physics (LHCP 2020) kicks off today in video-conference rooms around the world. This week-long event is usually an opportunity for physicists from around the world to meet in person and share the latest news from their LHC experiments. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference is being held online.

25th May 2020

ATLAS releases new result in hunt for mysterious magnetic monopoles

Dipole magnets are probably the best-known source of magnetic fields. They consist of a north and south pole; while one end magnetically attracts, the opposite repels. If you cut a magnet in half, you are left with two magnets, each with its own north and south pole. This apparent absence of an isolated magnetic pole - or “magnetic monopole” - has puzzled physicists for more than a century. It would seem perfectly natural for this particle to be present in our universe; Maxwell’s equations would reflect complete symmetry between electricity and magnetism if particles with magnetic charge were observed. So far the mystery remains: while every known particle in our universe is either electrically charged or neutral, none have been found to be magnetically charged.

3rd June 2019

Highlights from LHCP2018

Physicists from around the globe assembled this week at the Centre Domenico in Bologna, Italy, the site of Europe’s oldest university, to attend the sixth annual conference on Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP2018). The 425 participants enjoyed picturesque architecture, world-renowned cuisine, and a full menu of recent physics results from the LHC. A sample platter of a few of the tasty morsels is presented.

11th June 2018

ATLAS observes direct interaction of Higgs boson with top quark

The ATLAS Collaboration at CERN has announced the observation of Higgs bosons produced together with a top-quark pair. Observing this extremely rare process is a significant milestone for the field of High-Energy Physics. It allows physicists to test critical parameters of the Higgs mechanism in the Standard Model of particle physics.

4th June 2018

New ATLAS result establishes production of Higgs boson in association with top quarks

According to the Standard Model, quarks, charged leptons, and W and Z bosons obtain their mass through interactions with the Higgs field, whose fluctuation gives rise to the Higgs boson. To test this theory, ATLAS takes high-precision measurements of the interactions between the Higgs boson and these particles. While experiments had observed and measured the Higgs boson decaying to pairs of W or Z bosons, photons or tau leptons, the Higgs coupling to quarks had – until now – not been observed.

4th June 2018

Something old, something new: perspective of LHCP2017

More than 400 physicists from around the world visiting Shanghai to hear the latest LHC results, at the fifth annual Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP17) conference. It was a wonderful opportunity for Chinese particle physicists and students, who do not often have the chance to travel abroad! Even for me, although I have been working on the LHC for almost 10 years, this was still my first time attending such a high-level conference to hear the first-rate physics results from all four experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

7th June 2017

ATLAS highlights from LHCP

The fifth annual Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP2017) conference was held this week at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in a leafy suburb in the former French concession in Shanghai, China. This year there were more participants than ever before: 470 people from universities across the globe. ATLAS presented an interesting set of new results exploiting the high statistics of the combined 2015 and 2016 dataset.

23rd May 2017

ATLAS releases new results in search for weakly-interacting supersymmetric particles

Supersymmetry is an extension to the Standard Model that may explain the origin of dark matter and pave the way to a grand unified theory of nature. For each particle of the Standard Model, supersymmetry introduces an exotic new “super-partner,” which may be produced in proton-proton collisions. Searching for these particles is currently one of the top priorities of the LHC physics program. A discovery would transform our understanding of the building blocks of matter and the fundamental forces, leading to a paradigm shift in physics similar to when Einstein’s relativity superseded classical Newtonian physics in the early 20th century.

18th May 2017

Hunting for the superpartner of the top quark

Supersymmetry (SUSY) is one of the most attractive theories extending the Standard Model of particle physics. SUSY would provide a solution to several of the Standard Model’s unanswered questions, by more than doubling the number of elementary particles, giving each fermion a bosonic partner and vice versa. In many SUSY models the lightest supersymmetric particle (LSP) constitutes dark matter.

17th May 2017

New ATLAS precision measurements of the Higgs Boson in the 'golden channel'

With the huge amount of proton–proton collisions delivered by the LHC in 2015 and 2016 at the increased collision energy of 13 TeV, ATLAS has entered a new era of Higgs boson property measurements. The new data allowed ATLAS to perform measurements of inclusive and differential cross sections using the “golden” H->ZZ*->4l decay.

15th May 2017

Continuing the search for extra dimensions

For a long time, physicists have assumed that space-time has four dimensions in total – three of space and one of time – in agreement with what we see when we look around us. However, some theorists have proposed that there may be other spatial dimensions that we don’t experience in our daily lives.

17th June 2016

Di-photons in the spotlight

The ATLAS collaboration has now released the final results on the search for new physics in the di-photon channel using 2015 data.

17th June 2016

Something went bump in the night

ATLAS has published hundreds of studies of LHC data, with the Higgs boson discovery being perhaps the best known. Amongst the Run 1 searches there was one which stood out: the diboson excess.

16th June 2016

A peek inside the proton…

When the protons from the LHC collide, they sometimes produce W and Z bosons, the massive carriers of the weak force responsible for radioactive decays. These bosons are produced in abundance at the LHC and ATLAS physicists have now precisely measured their production rates using 13 TeV proton-proton collision data recorded in 2015.

16th June 2016

Weighing in on the top quark mass

ATLAS has released a new precise measurement of the mass of the top quark, the heaviest known elementary particle.

15th June 2016

Stacking the building blocks of the 2016 ATLAS physics programme

2016 is set to be an outstanding year for the ATLAS experiment and the Large Hadron Collider. We’re expecting up to 10 times more data compared to 2015, which will allow us to make precise measurements of many known physics processes and to search for new physics.

13th June 2016

ATLAS to present new results at LHCP conference

The Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP2016) conference kicked off today in Lund, Sweden. Held annually, the LHCP conference is an opportunity for experimental and theoretical physicists to discuss results from across the high-energy physics community. From Standard Model Physics and Heavy Ion Physics to Supersymmetry and other Beyond Standard Model investigations, the conference unites the disciplines to examine recent progress and consider future developments.

13th June 2016

Shedding new light on the Higgs

Today, at the Large Hadron Collider Physics conference (LHCP2015), the ATLAS and CMS collaborations presented the most precise measurements yet of Higgs boson properties. By combining Run 1 data from both experiments, the new measurements paint a clear picture of how the Higgs boson is produced, decays, and interacts with other particles.

1st September 2015

Taking stock at the LHCP conference

I felt like I was returning home as I walked through the gates of Columbia University at 116th Street and Broadway, the day before the LHCP conference began. The scaffolding from the recently completed graduation ceremonies reminded me of my own PhD graduation thirteen years ago. The ubiquitous Columbia-blue signs of "Welcome back Alumni" seemed to be talking just to me.

17th June 2014

LHCPlanning for the future

As someone who comes from a small mountain town, for many years I've linked the word 'summer' to 'seaside' and 'sun'. During my experience as a physicist working in ATLAS, I found myself associating the word 'conferences' to the word 'summer' more often than to the two above.

16th June 2014

Higgs Mass to String Balls

ATLAS presented new results at the Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP) Conference in Columbia University, New York, 2 to 7 June. Many new searches and improved measurements were presented, among which were an updated Higgs boson mass measurement, a search for double Higgs boson production and new searches for Supersymmetry and exotic phenomena.

6th June 2014

Sleepless Nights Lead to First Results of 2010...

Do you hear that? The incessant typing? The coffee machines vending cup after cup? If you go to Building 40, or Building 32, Building 188, or to any one of the many graduate student offices around the world, you will hear the tap of key boards, the whir of disk drives, and even the occasional heated civil discussions with "elevated" voices.

6th June 2010