A couple of significant news items from the world of particle physics:
- There was a conference on neutrino physics recently, and the big news from there is that two experiments measure something funny with neutrino oscillations, namely that the oscillations seem to proceed at different rates for neutrinos and antineutrinos. This is a really surprising sort of asymmetry, and would be awfully hard to explain. These are, however, preliminary results that are being released now because there was a conference on neutrino physics, not because the people doing the experiments have rock-solid proof that these measurements are right. Physics Buzz has more, and the Knight Science Journalism Tracker entry for this story has more links, and some good material on the difficulty of interpreting what physicists say about this stuff.
- Ed Witten, string theory demigod, has won the Newton medal awarded by the Institute of Physics. Also, to judge from that story, he was last photographed in about 1988. The prize honors “his many profound contributions that have transformed areas of particle theory, quantum field theory and general relativity.” Witten is a name to conjure with in string theory and related areas, so this seems well justified, but as I’m reminded every time I try to say something about this field, I’m not qualified to say anything about this field, so I leave it at that. I can confidently predict some sort of reaction from Peter Woit in the near-ish future, though.
And that’s the news from particle physics. If you want further explanation, ask a particle physicist. If you are a particle physicist, please feel free to provide further explanation (or a link to further explanation) in the comments.