CERN - Large Hadron Collider - Particle Physics - A Giant Takes On Physics' Biggest Questions4 - NYT

CERN - Large Hadron Collider - Particle Physics - A Giant Takes On Physics' Biggest Questions4 - NYT

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Advertise on NYTimes.com Search All NYTimes.com Science WORLD U.S. N.Y. / REGION BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY SCIENCE HEALTH SPORTS OPINION ARTS STYLE TRAVEL JOBS REAL ESTATE AUTOS ENVIRONMENT SPACE & COSMOS Multimedia Cameras for Capturing Primordial Fire The Large Hadron Collider Related A Bang, a Cloud, a Delay (May 15, 2007) Plucking at Strings (May 15, 2007) Times Topics: Cern RSS Feed Get Science News From The New York Times » A Giant Takes On Physics’ Biggest Questions Published: May 15, 2007 Correction Appended (Page 4 of 6) The culprit is quantum weirdness, one principle of which is that anything that is not forbidden will happen. That means the Higgs calculation must include the effects of its interactions with all other known particles, including so-called virtual particles that can wink in and out of existence, which shift its mass off the scale. As a result, if the Standard Model is valid for all energies, said Joe Lykken, a Fermilab theorist, “then you are in deep doodoo trying to explain why the Higgs mass isn’t a quadrillion times bigger than it needs to be.” Another way to put it is to ask why gravity is so much weaker than the other forces — the theory wants them all to be equal. Theorists can rig their calculations to have the numbers come out right, but it feels like cheating. “What we have to do to equations is crazy,” Dr. Arkani-Hamed said. One solution that has been proposed is a new principle of nature called supersymmetry that, if true, would be a bonanza for the Cern collider. It posits a relation between the particles of matter like electrons and quarks and particles that transmit forces like photons and the W boson. For each particle in one category, there is an as-yet-undiscovered superpartner in the other category. “Supersymmetry doubles the world,” Dr. Arkani-Hamed said. These superpartners cancel out all the quantum effects that make the Higgs mass skyrocket. “Supersymmetry is the only known way to manage this,” Dr. Lykken said. Because Higgs bosons are expected to be produced very rarely, it could take at least a year or more for physicists to confirm their discovery at the collider. But some supersymmetric particles, if they exist, should be produced abundantly and could thus pop out of the data much sooner. “Suppose a gluino exists at Go to Complete List » More Articles in Science » Get the TimesLimited E-Mail MOST POPULAR Pursuing iPhone Thief, Officer Knew Right Buttons to Push 1.
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