An international team of scientists has shot a video that shows the build-up of a matter-wave interference pattern from single dye molecules that is so large (up to 0.1 mm), it can been seen with a video camera.
The video visualizes the dualities of particle and wave, randomness and determinism, and locality and delocalization in an intuitive way.
Physicist Richard Feynman once claimed that interference effects caused by matter-waves contain the only mystery of quantum physics, as he explained in another video (below).
This is a high-tech version of the double slit experiment, which illustrates wave-particle duality. The wave nature of matter causes the dye molecules passing through the nano grating to interfere, producing the bright and dark vertical bands seen in the video — a result that would not be expected for discrete particles. However, the molecules are always detected as discrete particles (the dots seen in the video).
Latest analyses from the Large Hadron Collider boosts case for particle.
Today the two main experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, submitted the results of their latest analyses. The new papers boost the case for December’s announcement of a possible Higgs signal, but let’s not get too excited.
First, there are no new data in there — the LHC stopped colliding protons back in November, and these latest results are just rehashes of that earlier run. In the case of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), physicists have been able to look at another possible kind of Higgs decay, and that allows them to boost their Higgs signal from 2.5 sigma to 3.1 sigma. Taken together with data from the other detector, ATLAS, Higgs’ overall signal now unofficially stands at about 4.3 sigma. In other words, if statistics are to be believed, then this signal has about a 99.996% chance of being right.
It all sounds very convincing, but keep your hat on, because the fact is that statistical coincidences happen every day. Over at Cosmic Variance, Sean Carroll points out that there is a 3.8 sigma signal in the Super Bowl coin toss. Does that mean that they’ve discovered a super-partner to the bowl? No. (If you don’t get that joke, don’t worry, it was written only as punishment for those who would.)
After the LHC starts again this spring, we’ll be much closer to knowing what’s actually going on. Right now, scientists are meeting in Chamonix, France, to decide at what power to run the collider this coming year. The latest rumours are that the machine will push from 7 to 8 teraelectronvolts, and it will also increase its luminosity (the number of collisions per pass).
For a little more context about what’s going on, check out this video of my trip back in November:
After a relatively quiet period, our sun showed some increased activity with a giant eruption taking place on 22. and 23. January. Is there anything to be afraid of for us on planet earth?
Solar activity goes through relatively reliable cycles, where phases of quietness turn into phases, in which the solar activity is hugely increased. These sun storms or solar eruptions happen on a regular basis, normally approximately every eleven years, and cause the emission of huge energy fields and large quantities of high energy particles in the direction of our planet. The current phase of activity has already been expected.
The eruption from 22. to 23. January now has been the strongest solar activity period since 2005. The sun storm reached a level of 3 on the US sun storm scale ranging from 0 to 5. As a result, electrically charged particles, especially ionised hydrogen nuclei have been accelerated towards earth. Is this radiation dangerous for human beings and other creatures on our planet?