Ads 468x60px

luni, 29 octombrie 2012

Steven Weinberg discusses Higgs Boson particle advancements

About 1,500 people from all over the world gathered in Texas Hall to listen to Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg’s lecture Wednesday.

The lecture titled "The Standard Model, Higgs Boson: Who Cares?" was part of the annual International Workshop on Future Linear Colliders. This is the first time the conference is being held in Texas.

Jaehoon Yu, physics department associate professor, said the event’s attendance was record-breaking.

“This is the first time Texas Hall is so packed and I am so glad it happened at a physics department’s event,” he said. “Thank you to all who showed up tonight.”

Weinberg, one of the three people who won the Nobel Prize in 1979 for the Standard Model, said the model describes all the particles that make up the universe.

“These particles are packets of energy that different fields generate,” he said. “For example, the photon is a particle of energy from the electro-magnetic field. There are different fields like that and the Standard Model describes all such particles.”

Sheldon Glashow and Abdus Salam were the other scientists who won the Nobel Prize with Weinberg.

The Higgs Boson is that particle in the Standard Model that gives all the other particles their mass, Weinberg said.

“The mass of all the particles is calculated with respect to the Higgs Boson,” he said. “The mass depends on the force with which these particles interact with the Higgs field. The greater the force of interaction, the greater its mass.”

The Higgs Boson is the only unknown particle in the Standard Model, Weinberg said.

“It is the last undiscovered particle, the missing piece of this model,” he said.

Weinberg said a huge number of scientists were involved in the discovery of the Higgs Boson-like particle.

“About 3,000 physicists signed each of the two papers that were proposed to prove the discovery,” he said. “The papers were each about six pages long and the list of authors was seven pages.”

About 10 billion dollars were invested in the project, Weinberg said.

The Large Hadron Collider, which was used at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to discover the Higgs Boson-like particle, is about 17 miles in circumference and uses a high amount of energy in the collision process.

“The energy used in them is about the same energy you get when you connect two trillion flash light batteries in series,” he said. “The particles collide at a very high speed and a lot of new matter is generated in the process. It is an incredible triumph that the experimentalists were able to discover the particle in all that mess.”

There are still several properties that have to be confirmed to know if the discovered particle really is the Higgs Boson, Weinberg said.

The short life span of the Higgs particle is posing a challenge at the moment, Weinberg said.

“We are not able to capture Higgs particles and look at them,” he said. “Travelling at about half the speed of light, they don’t even make it to a few trillionths of a centimeter. And you have to realize that you get one Higgs particle for every trillion collisions.”

Weinberg said though it is hard to understand the Higgs Boson’s importance in daily life, the particle is important, nevertheless.

“My lecture is titled 'Standard Model, Higgs Boson and Who Cares?' And the ‘Who Cares’ part is really the hard part to explain,” he said. “For physicists it means a lot of different things but to everyday life, not so much.”

Communications assistant professor Sheetal Patel said the lecture was easily understandable and it was a privilege to learn about the particle from a Nobel Prize winner.

“The lecture was lucid and I, being a communications researcher, was able to understand the particle,” she said. “It feels good to know about what the particle is, what is happening right now in the field and what the future of the Higgs Boson looks like.”

Weinberg encouraged students interested in pursuing a career in particle physics to pay attention to Mathematics and Physics.

“My advice about mathematics and physics is, however, useless because if you love it you are going to do it and if you don’t, then you should not," he said.

Niciun comentariu:

Trimiteți un comentariu