Category: particle physics

Researchers build a particle accelerator that fits on a chip

Caption. This image, magnified 25,000 times, shows a section of a prototype accelerator-on-a-chip. The segment shown here are one-tenth the width of a human. The oddly shaped gray structures are nanometer-sized features carved in to silicon that focus bursts of infrared laser light, shown in yellow and purple, on a flow of electrons through the center channel. As the electrons travel from left to right, the light focused in the channel is carefully synchronized with passing particles to move them forward at greater and greater velocities. By packing 1,000 of these acceleration channels onto an inch-sized chip, Stanford researchers hope to create an electron beam that moves at 94 percent of the speed of light, and to use this energized particle flow for research and medical applications.

Credit: Neil Sapra



On-chip integrated laser-driven particle accelerator (Science, arXiv preprintPDF)

“…The Non-Member State Summer Student Programme represents a unique opportunity for students from around the world, especially from less advantaged countries, to spend their next summer getting involved in some of the world’s biggest scientific experiments at CERN. For most of the students, their summer at CERN will represent a lot of firsts. The first time they will travel abroad, the first time they will work in a fully-equipped physics laboratory, the first time they will meet fellow students from different cultural backgrounds.”

An artist’s impression of the mayhem of quarks and gluons inside the proton. Credits: CERN

The proton, a century on

A century after physicist Ernest Rutherford published work proving the existence of the proton, much remains to be learnt about this ubiquitous particle

Remembering Murray Gell-Mann (1929–2019), Inventor of Quarks—Stephen Wolfram Blog:

A nice weekend-reading. Murray Gell-Mann as seen by Stephen Wolfram (guest stars: Richard Feynman, George Zweig, Steve Jobs and S. Wolfram himself of course). A very interesting essay at several levels, much more than a typical obituary.

Murray Gell-Mann


Exciting ***** moments in physics last 5 years (in order of discovery):

* Higgs particle

* Gravitational waves, including colliding black holes and neutron stars – might be 6 star 😉

* The M87 black hole image for sure!

All of them took a long time from idea -> experiment (50 and 100 years respectively)

In science in general:

* CRISPR-Cas genetic editing

* AI and deep learning, solving Go, Chess, and protein folding.

* Quantum technology: quantum computers, quantum internet etc.

Conclusion: it’s a golden era for science

This is lovely, goes retro to commemorate 30 years of the Web starting today

1 April

. (blog).

I smiled at this piece:


Black Holes, Quantum Information, and the Structure of Spacetime:


A really catchy song, it’s not possible listen it one time only.

Via Symmetry Magazine

The Proton Smash

I was working in the lab late one night
When my eyes beheld a glorious sight
For my particle beam began to energize
And suddenly, to my surprise

Background vocals: There was a smash
There was an atom smash
The atom smash
It was a particle bash
We did the smash
Jets went off in a flash
We did the smash
We did the atom smash

From my control room where computers gleam
We tuned and twirled the particle beam
The scientists gathered, they wouldn’t hide
How much they love to see things collide

There was a smash
There was a proton smash
The proton smash
It was a particle bash
We did the smash
Jets went off in a flash
We did the smash
We did the proton smash

Bridge: The operators were having fun
It was the start of the run
Who knew what we’d discover
When it was all done?

The detectors recorded what we couldn’t see
While theorists predicted what would come to be
And thinking ahead, some had already made
Shiny new components for the next upgrade

To help us smash
To help the protons smash
To make a smash
The best particle smash
The greatest smash
A real particle mash
To help us smash
To do the proton smash

The data was coming, it flowed in fast
Processed by computers working en masse
The scientists all cried out in delight
They found a bump, a bump in the night

There was a splash
It was a science splash
The proton smash
It was a boson bash
They made a splash
It was shared with panache
They did the smash
We did the proton smash

Researchers danced, they boogied down
To celebrate the new particle they’d found
There was just one hitch in all their plans –
The results were presented in Comic Sans

Now time to smash
There’s much more to smash
The proton smash
It is a particle bash
We like the smash
Hope computers don’t crash
We did the smash
We did the proton smash

Long and Winding Road: A Conversation with String Theory Pioneer | Caltech:

Cool interview with John Schwarz pioneer and co-father of the first superstring revolution.

“After the 1984 to 1985 breakthroughs in our understanding of superstring theory, the subject no longer could be ignored. At that time it acquired some prominent critics, including Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking. Feynman’s skepticism of superstring theory was based mostly on the concern that it could not be tested experimentally. This was a valid concern, which my collaborators and I shared. However, Feynman did want to learn more, so I spent several hours explaining the essential ideas to him. Thirty years later, it is still true that there is no smoking-gun experimental confirmation of superstring theory, though it has proved its value in other ways. The most likely possibility for experimental support in the foreseeable future would be the discovery of supersymmetry particles. So far, they have not shown up.”