Diana Parno’s head swam when she first stepped inside the enormous, metallic vessel of the experiment KATRIN. Within the house-sized, oblong structure, everything was symmetrical, clean and blindingly shiny, says Parno, a physicist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “It was incredibly disorienting.”
Now, electrons — thankfully immune to bouts of dizziness — traverse the inside...
Letters to the Editor
Fighting fake news09/19/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Health, Particle Physics
Computer programmers are building deception-detecting algorithms to fight the onslaught of fake news, Maria Temming reported in “People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?"(SN: 8/4/18, p. 22).
Reader Lou Floyd found the story compelling and troubling. “It points [to] a major problem facing us all today that affects the very foundation of...
When I think of an experiment, I think of some flasks, a pipette, maybe an incubator. But to a particle physicist, an experiment can be a machine bigger than a house, designed to study subatomic particles.09/19/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Particle Physics
There’s a certain charm to the fact that such vast equipment has to be constructed to study the smallest known bits of matter. The tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider has a...
An enormous future particle detector is now within closer reach. The first data from a prototype experiment hint that scientists may have what it takes to build the planned neutrino detector.
Known as the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, the experiment will use 70,000 metric tons of liquefied argon to study the secrets of these neutrinos — bizarre, nearly massless particles...
Particle accelerator technology has crested a new wave.
For the first time, scientists have shown that electrons can gain energy by surfing waves kicked up by protons shot through plasma. In the future, the technique might help produce electron beams at higher energies than currently possible, in order to investigate the inner workings of subatomic particles.
News in Brief
The Higgs boson has been spotted bottoming out — but that’s a good thing.
Physicists have detected the elementary particle decaying into two bottom quarks, exotic, short-lived particles that often appear in the aftermath of high-energy particle collisions. The elusive process was finally observed six years after the Higgs boson’s initial discovery, by physicists working at the Large...
The sleepy sun turns out to be a factory of extremely energetic light.
Scientists have discovered that the sun puts out more of this light, called high-energy gamma rays, overall than predicted. But what’s really weird is that the rays with the highest energies appear when the star is supposed to be at its most sluggish, researchers report in an upcoming study in Physical Review Letters...
Rogue nations that want to hide nuclear weapons tests may one day be thwarted by antineutrinos.
Atomic blasts emit immense numbers of the lightweight subatomic particles, which can travel long distances through the Earth. In general, the particles — the antimatter twins of neutrinos — are notoriously difficult to spot. But a large antineutrino detector located within a few hundred...
Dim light emanating from the purgatory between galaxies could illuminate the most shadowy constituents of the cosmos.
Dark matter, an unidentified type of particle that interacts gravitationally but otherwise shuns normal matter, lurks throughout clusters of galaxies. Because the elusive substance emits no light, it’s difficult to pin down how it is distributed, even though it makes up...
Letters to the Editor
Melt away08/09/2018 - 07:00 Climate, Particle Physics, Microbiology
In the last five years, Antarctica has lost ice nearly three times faster on average than it did over the previous 20 years — largely due to climate change, Laurel Hamers reported in “Antarctica has lost about 3 trillion metric tons of ice since 1992” (SN: 7/7/18, p. 6).
“Isn’t there a volcano or multiple volcanoes recently found under Antarctica that might also be...