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Posts Tagged ‘high energy physics’

I have been learning a few new tricks about phenomenology of dark matter recently. Particularly, I started reading about inelastic dark matter.  I have had the benefit to be able to talk to one of the originators of some of these ideas and I thought I would share some of them. Not because I believe that this is the correct solution to dark matter, but rather for its pedagogical value. There are various things that I learn again many times over in various guises and some of the details regarding this particular solution of the dark matter problem have that quality to them.

 

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Stringy reflections on LHC

Stringy reflections on LHC

I have been attending the conference called “Stringy reflections on LHC”. This has been put together by the Clay Mathematics Institute, and here is the link. So with that wonderful title, you might be wondering what are we up to. What will follow is a quasi-technical discussion of what I have seen so far.

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The announcement of the nobel prize in physics was made today. The prize goes to Yoichiro Nambu, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa.

The prize goes for flavor symmetry breaking due to weak interactions. This is parametrized in the modern days by a three times three unitary matrix called the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa marix and it is an integral part of the standard model of particle physics.
It is the source of CP violation in the standard model: how we see the matter over antimatter asymmetry in physical processes.

The half of the prize awarded to Nambu goes for explaining aspects of spontaneous symmetry breaking. This mechanism is what gives mass to the quarks. Combined with the work of Kobayashi and Maskawa, this makes it possible to see the different flavors as different masses and to predict that they will mix with each other via the weak interactions. Congratulations to all of them.

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We all like to play darts occasionally, and some others like buying lottery tickets. Although there is some skill that needs to be acquired when playing darts (we could call this the aim), playing the lottery requires no skill at all. In both of these situations a natural mathematical object comes to the fore. We usually call it the odds of winning. In some sense, the odds describe how you should bet money on the different possible outcomes of one of these games. If you do your analysis carefully you will find that betting on the lottery is always (statistically) a losing proposition, unless you could bet against winning.

Given that we are in the middle of a financial crisis, essentially because the odds of something happening were not calculated correctly, I thought this might be nice place to talk about the odds of stuff happening at another place: the Large Hadron Collider (I will use the standard acronym: LHC). Sadly, the odds were not in favor last week where there was a Helium leak.
Failures of these kinds are considered routine and they tend to happen more at the beginning, so there should be no alarm. It’s just that the schedule for collisions gets pushed back and the eager collective of particle physicists have to wait longer for new data. This gives us theoretical folk just a little more time to place bets as to what we will see come out of the LHC accelerator.

I want to describe the ‘bets’ that are made to find the missing link of the Standard Model: the Higgs particle. So if you want to hear about some odds, follow me through some reading of specs.

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