Physicists deal with background in their experiments in two ways: by reducing it and by rejecting it.
When observed parameters seem like they must be finely tuned to fit a theory, some physicists accept it as coincidence. Others want to keep digging.
10 more words that mean something different to scientists.
Some of this science sounds awfully familiar.
Predicted by Einstein and discovered in 1979, gravitational lensing helps astrophysicists understand the evolving shape of the universe.
Cross sections tell physicists how likely particles are to interact in a given way.
How did the proton, photon and other particles get their names?
I do not think it means what you think it means.
The Standard Model is far more than elementary particles arranged in a table.
The Planck scale sets the universe’s minimum limit, beyond which the laws of physics break.
Matter and antimatter behave differently. Scientists hope that investigating how might someday explain why we exist.
It’s everywhere. It will determine the fate of our universe. And we still have no idea what it is.
What are WIMPs, and what makes them such popular dark matter candidates?
Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago.
The concept of wave-particle duality ascribes two seemingly contradictory traits to a single object.
Through ‘spooky action at a distance,’ the properties of two systems remain correlated even after they are separated.
Scientists have found a way to study sound waves from the early universe to learn more about its history and contents.
Cosmic microwave background is the oldest light in the universe.
The observation of neutrinoless double beta decay would suggest that, by itself, the Standard Model Higgs cannot give mass to neutrinos.
Particles communicate with one another through force carriers.
What if all of nature’s forces can be woven together into one comprehensive force?
When a scientific result fails the test of “naturalness,” it can point to new physics.
Like surfers on huge ocean waves, electrons can ride waves of plasma to very high energies.
Objects as large as a planet or as small as a photon can have the property of spin. Spin is also the reason we can watch movies in 3D.
All particles fall into one of two classes, bosons or fermions.
When particles decay, they transform into lighter particles. Physicists can predict how often a particle will decay into certain end products.
Sigma is a unit that describes how much a set of experimental data deviates from what’s expected.
Your birthday cake isn’t the only thing studded with lights.
Meet the Twinkie of particle physics: the muon.
Symmetry is an expression of exact correspondence between things.
Synchrotron light gets its name from the synchrotron particle accelerators where it was first observed.
Discovery is the process of uncovering something new.
The moment that kicked off the growth of our universe is called the Big Bang.
Cherenkov light is the optical equivalent of a sonic boom.
Virtual particles’ existence is fleeting, but their effects are real.
The charm quark is a heavier cousin of the up and down quarks that make up much of the matter around us.
Whereas matter on Earth and in stars is made of atoms and nuclei, scientists know that dark matter must be made of something else. Neutralinos are a prime candidate.
Particle accelerators are used for a variety of purposes worldwide.
A quench occurs when a magnet in a particle accelerator loses its superconductivity.
The Z boson is a neutral particle that mediates the weak force.
Scientists search for rare decays to test their understanding of how matter behaves.
The W boson is a charged force-carrying particle that transmits the weak force.
A jet forms when a quark or gluon is produced in a high-energy particle collision.
Theories describe scientists’ understanding of observed phenomena.
Scientists call the particle collisions and interactions they study “particle events.”
According to string theory, matter is made up of strings.
A positron is the electron’s antimatter counterpart.
Dark matter seems to be abundant in the universe but has yet to be directly detected.
Simulations allow physicists to make predictions.
The discovery of the Higgs boson provided insight into what gives elementary particles mass.
Postdocs are temporary research positions for scientists who have completed their PhDs.
Quarks are fundamental particles found in the matter all around us.
Luminosity is a measure of how many particles are brought together in a certain space over a certain period of time.
B factories mass-produce B mesons, particles that contain a bottom quark.
The grid provides computing power on demand.
CP is violated if there is a difference between the ways nature treats matter and antimatter.
Superconductors transmit electricity without wastefully producing heat.
Gravitational lenses distort light and help scientists study dark matter.
Antimatter is matter’s natural counterpart.