The Higgs boson was discovered because it couples to other bosons, which mediate forces. The Higgs gives mass to virtually all particles, however, so should also couple to fermions, which are matter particles – the more massive the particle, the stronger the coupling. At a CERN seminar last week, Sasha Pranko of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division presented the first direct evidence from ATLAS, that the Higgs indeed couples strongly to tau leptons, fermions that are massive “cousins” of the electron. Pranko and his collaborators invented the method ATLAS uses to reconstruct particle masses and played a leading role in the analysis. More>
Posts Tagged ‘Physics Division’
On Nov. 15, the Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics, a joint institute with participation from the Lab’s Nuclear Science and Physics Divisions, celebrated its 20th Anniversary. In the past two decades, members of the institute have received numerous awards and recognitions, including two Nobel Prizes in Physics (George Smoot and Saul Perlmutter). A mini-symposium was held, followed by an afternoon tea. Speakers included Distinguished Staff Dave Nygren, Senior Staff Spencer Klein, Chamberlain Fellow Carlos Faham, Primikoff Prize winner Dan Dwyer, and Nobelist Saul Perlmutter. Go here to view videos of their talks.
In a world awash in data, UC Berkeley is meeting the flood head-on by establishing a new institute to support faculty, researchers and students in their efforts to mine this information in areas as diverse as astronomy and economics, genetics and demography. The Berkeley Institute for Data Science, to be housed in the campus’s central library building, is made possible by grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Sloan Foundation. Berkeley Lab physicist Saul Perlmutter is director of the new institute. More>
Last week, Berkeley Lab physicist and Nobel-prize winner Saul Perlmutter testified before the Senate Commerce Committee at a hearing on the reauthorization of the America COMPETEs Act. The act was first passed in 2007, with broad bipartisan support that authorized the doubling of the budgets for the Office of Science and National Science Foundation within seven years. Although COMPETEs was reauthorized in 2010, the budgets of these science agencies have not kept pace with what the legislation established. Perlmutter testified that the current trends in science funding threaten the country’s competitiveness while the innovation in other countries is improving. Go here to watch the proceedings and to read the testimony of Perlmutter and other panelists.
A reel of black & white film shot nearly 60 years ago has surfaced at Berkeley Lab, depicting the discovery of Mendelevium — or Element 101 — as reenacted by some of the legendary scientists who did the actual work at that time, such as Al Ghiorso. Since the 1940s, Berkeley Lab scientists were locked in a race to synthesize new elements, and more often than not, they came out winners. Sixteen elements, most of them in the actinide series at the bottom of the periodic table, were discovered and synthesized by its researchers. More>
The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, announced its first scientific results yesterday. Three months of operation by the LUX dark matter experiment found no WIMPs but achieved three times the sensitivity of any other dark matter detector. The Sanford Lab is owned by the state and supported by DOE but owes much to tireless efforts by Berkeley Lab scientists led by Kevin Lesko, who now oversees operations. Notables at the press conference included Governor Dennis Daugaard, James Siegrist of the Office of Science, Berkeley Lab General Sciences ALD James Symons, and Physics Division Director Natalie Roe, with many others.
Berkeley Lab physicist Carl Haber was a recent guest on KQED radio’s Forum, hosted by Michael Krasny. Haber discussed his research that has enabled the restoration of long-lost sounds, for which he won a MacArthur Genius Award. More>
Researchers, including Berkeley Lab astrophysicist Carl Pennypacker, have proposed a satellite that would serve as an advanced orbiting fire alarm, helping the Western U.S. extinguish wildfires before they burn out of control. The scientists have designed such a satellite using state-of-the-art sensors, written analysis software to minimize false alarms, and even given it a name – the Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit (FUEGO). More>
The Nobel Prize in Physics to François Englert and Peter Higgs cites confirmation of their work by the ATLAS and CMS experiments, in what Physics Division Director Natalie Roe calls “a powerful testament to human imagination, innovation, perseverance and international cooperation.” Berkeley Lab provides one of the largest U.S. contingents to ATLAS, led by Ian Hinchliffe. ATLAS Deputy Spokesperson is Beate Heinemann. With recent ATLAS physics coordinator Kevin Einsweiler, Gil Gilchriese led construction of some of the Inner Detector’s most advanced elements. Berkeley Lab’s Physics, Accelerator, and Engineering Divisions have made and continue to make vital contributions to the LHC. More>
Daniel Dwyer of the Physics Division has won the 2014 Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics, which is sponsored by the American Physical Society (APS). The citation reads: “For innovative contributions to neutrino physics, particularly the broad and substantial role he played in commissioning, calibration and analysis in the Daya Bay measurement of the mixing angle theta-13.” Dwyer coordinates data analysis for the multinational experiment in the south of China that involves more than 200 scientists. This is the Lab’s second major 2014 APS award for contributions to the Daya Bay Experiment. Physicist Kam-Biu Luk recently named as co-recipient of the Panofsky Prize.