The Most Wanted Particle (Synopsis)

“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” –Tom Freston

Yes, the Universe can be considered the ultimate innovator, taking the fundamental particles and forces of the Universe, and assembling them into the entirety of what we know, interact with and observe today.

Illustration credit: NASA / CXC / M.Weiss.

Illustration credit: NASA / CXC / M.Weiss.

But what is it all made out of, at a fundamental level? And how did we figure it all out? ATLAS physicist and University College London professor Jon Butterworth is all set to give a free public lecture (live-streamed, online) tomorrow, and I’ll be live-blogging it here!

Image credit: Perimeter Institute.

Image credit: Perimeter Institute.

Check it out: 7 PM EDT / 4 PM PDT or, if that’s inconvenient, come back after its over and watch the permanent version. See you then!

Comments

  1. #1 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    March 31, 2015

    Perhaps we are in the world of anti matter, but just don’t realize it.

  2. #2 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    March 31, 2015

    @PJ #1: The label is purely a convention: we call the stuff of which we, and our planet, are made _matter_. We call the other stuff with opposite charge and quantum numbers (which only exists transiently as a result of ultra-high energy interactions) anti-matter.

    If some magical sky father suddenly flipped _all_ the matter (us, Earth, the whole solar system, the whole galaxy, etc.) into anti-matter, we would never know. All the interactions, all the spectra, everything of interest(*) would appear just the same as now. The label is just a convention.

    (*) In fact, if that flip happened now, we could discover it by carefully measuring the direction in which electrons are polarized when emitted by the beta decay of Co-60 in a magnetic field. Because weak decays violate parity and CP, anti-Co-60 will emit positrons with the opposite polarization. Since we’ve already measured the polarization, a consistent set of _opposite_ measurement could tell us about the flip!

  3. #3 axil
    March 31, 2015

    The Fine Tuning Argument

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1406.4088.pdf

    Ab initio calculation of the neutron-proton mass difference

    A break through in the simulation of subatomic particle processes has just been achieved that accurately predicts the mass of both the proton, the neutron and their mass difference. All the various forces and interactions involved in this balance have been identified and sized.

    Before we get into this issue, let us first define some terms. There is a unit of energy called an electron volt (eV), that scientists use when talking about small things like protons, neutrons and electrons. An electron volt is actually a measurement of energy, but scientists can get away with using it to measure mass since mass and energy are related by Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2. So, in terms of MeV (Megaelectron volts, 1 MeV = 1,000,000 eV), the masses are:

    Neutron = 939.56563 MeV
    Proton = 938.27231 MeV
    Electron = 0.51099906 MeV

    The very existence of our universe rests on the precise difference between the mass of protons and neutrons. Now, scientists in Germany have calculated this value to a high level of precision and may also be able to explain why it even exists in the first place.

    Previous measurements of the mass difference between the neutron and its lighter, positively-charged counterpart suggest it is approximately 0.14% of the nucleons’ average masses. But scientists have long been seeking a more precise figure. If this value had been slightly lower, the big bang may have produced too much helium and stars would never have ignited. Slightly higher and the heavier elements would have never formed.

    A team based at the University of Wuppertal has now provided the most accurate calculation of the difference in mass between protons and neutrons by combining lattice quantum-chromodynamics and electrodynamics (QCD-QED) modeling to look at the atom’s fundamental building blocks – quarks and gluons. In doing so, the total mass difference was found to be 1.51 ± 0.3MeV. Past QCD-QED studies have been unable to achieve this resolution, yet experimental measurements place the difference at 1.2933322MeV. The researchers argue that the fundamental difference in neutron–proton mass may be down to a competing effect between electromagnetic forces and the mass of quarks.

    The referenced simulation shows that the relationship between the strong force and the electromagnetic force in the makeup of the proton and the neutron is very finely tuned. Even the slightest change would disrupt the way photons and neutrons interact.

    The existence and stability of atoms rely on the fact that neutrons are more massive than protons. The measured mass difference is only 0.14% of the average of the two masses. A slightly smaller or larger value would have led to a dramatically different universe. This simulation shows that this difference results from the competition between electromagnetic and mass isospin breaking effects.

    This simulation shows that electromagnitism can add mass to the electron and the protons.

    For instance, a relative neutron-proton mass difference smaller than about one third of the observed 0.14% or about 400 KeV would cause hydrogen atoms to undergo inverse beta decay, leaving predominantly neutrons.

    It has become clear that a relative neutron-proton mass difference close to 0.14% is needed to explain the universe as we observe it today. As we show here, this tiny mass splitting is the result of a subtle cancellation between electromagnetic and quark mass difference effects.

    This simulation shows how electromagnetism affects the tiny isospin splittings which are the subject of the present paper hereto referenced.

    Also show here is how neutron-proton mass splitting is a function of quark-mass difference and electromagnetic coupling.

    Now the level of electromagnetic energy needed to tip the very delicate balance between the masses of the proton and neutron is of the order of about 1 MeV or less. If a process in LENR can add electromagnetic energy to the proton and neutron pair, the interactions between the proton and the neutron would be disrupted.

    For example, in the Lagano report, light isotopes of nickel(NI58) were transmuted to heaver isotopes(NI62) but quizzically no free neutrons were detected. The irradiation of an absorbed proton by a reasonably modest level of EMF(400 KeV) would transform a proton into a neutron as shown by this simulation.

  4. #4 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    March 31, 2015

    Thanks, Michael. It is Mar31 where you are, I guess. It’s Apr 1 here. I see where you are coming from in paras 1 & 2. Just putting a different slant on it. Para 3 probably would not count, since we would not be aware of the instant change, besides, it is a different scenario. Have a great day.

  5. #5 See Noevo
    April 1, 2015

    What will they do with the most wanted particle should they find it?

  6. #6 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    April 1, 2015

    @See Noevo #5: Write and publish multiple peer-reviewed papers describing the discovery, the methodology, as well as the properties of the discovered particle. That’s what actual scientists do as part of the process of actual science.

  7. #7 See Noevo
    April 1, 2015

    To Michael #6:

    Should that glorious day come, I hope they’ll do a better job with the actual peer-review process.

    http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2015/03/31/some-perspective-on-predatory-open-access-journals/

  8. #8 Miguel Agondonter
    April 1, 2015

    The particle is already revealed in a book which called it ulitmaton.

  9. #9 Wow
    April 1, 2015

    Well, of course you have a problem with peer review: nobody buys kook ideas.

    But Open Access journals isn’t peer review. They’re journals, which have open access.

  10. #10 Denier
    United States
    April 1, 2015

    @Wow #9

    Please buy Global Warming and that is a kook idea. 😉

  11. #11 Wow
    April 1, 2015

    Nope, denier, you’re wrong.

    Or are you genuinely denying that the climate changes now???

  12. #12 Roy Elder
    San Jose, CA
    April 2, 2015

    How does Hawkings radiation touch the untouchable (singularity) to reduce the black hole mass and what are the consequences of the physics of the singularity?
    It is not nice to meddle with the wondrous force of nature…paraphrasing Mary Shelley from Frankenstein.

  13. #13 T. Duvenage
    April 3, 2015

    The quote from Tom Freston gave me a new idea of how the world works . 15057357

  14. #14 Wow
    April 3, 2015

    How does Hawkings radiation touch the untouchable (singularity)

    It doesn’t have to.

    And there is probably no singularity either: all our laws that predicate a singularity break down when there’s a singularity.

  15. #15 jacobus du plessis, 15037909
    April 6, 2015

    it amazes me how many particles the universe is made of and how the humans are able to measure the particles and know how important they all are. the quote of Tom Freston is mind changing. Jon Butterworth words i fully agree to. 15037909

  16. #16 15162258
    Pretoria
    April 6, 2015

    At #8 now that the particle has been revealed what has it changed and has it done what it was wanted for?

  17. #17 axil
    April 7, 2015

    Particles are just resonances in the various force fields. After all, particles are just wave forms. Virtual particles are non resonant disturbances in the various force fields and they are all sorts of those. The LHC is like a instrument trying to get the music to sound good, but most of the time it just comes out as noise.

  18. #18 Mamobu Mabunda
    Jane Furse
    April 8, 2015

    Everything we know to exist among us was formed by particles which formed into matter. Particles are quite interesting and the way they function goes hand in hand with the way we live our lives, great results come from minor inputs regularly. so what exactly makes this particle the most wanted?

  19. #19 Mamobu Mabunda
    Jane Furse
    April 8, 2015

    student number- 15053050

  20. #20 ilyask kose
    istanbul
    April 8, 2015

    wow i am so impress with universe

  21. #21 Z Nkonzo
    Pretoria
    April 14, 2015

    (15053840)
    It cost 100 billion dollars to find the Higgs boson Particle or the so called God particle which is assumed by scientists to be the particle that may or may not have been the key particle which played a big role in the Big Bang theory. So much money was spent that a few group of scientist can re-live the be bang theory, do you really think that it is necessary or even logical for scientists to spent countless hours trying to prove where we came from, instead of spending both the money and time on trying to find out random information about our origins.
    I truly believe science and scientist should focus on the future, unless there is some great practical application for this Particle, but from what I’ve read it has no practical useful application.

  22. #22 Wow
    April 14, 2015

    I truly believe science and scientist should focus on the future

    a) We are legion. We are many. We can each do something different. We do not have to do only one thing.

    b) How do you know what we’ll need to know in the future?

  23. #23 T Masilonyane
    Pretoria
    April 14, 2015

    I agree with Z Nkonzo. 100 billion dollars is too much money for particle with no immediate practical use. But then again science is all about new discoveries and breaking grounds and further exploration is the only way in this case.
    15301983

  24. #24 Mich
    Munich
    April 17, 2015

    You cant expect the most wanted particle to be easily and cheaply found. It only makes sense that is costs so much to acquire it.

  25. #25 Dwayne L
    Detroit
    April 17, 2015

    I hope this God particle does not end in the wrong hands and is being/will be used for good purposes that will be beneficial to the world and not destruction.

  26. #26 HS Madonsela
    Pretoria
    April 17, 2015

    So much time and money is being wasted on trying to find this particle. It can however be argued that there is still a lot scientists do not understand and will continue to spend on this project which does not promise to help humanity in any way. I would suggest that we refocus, the world is faced with much greater issues.Lets invest all this capital into issues such as xenophobia and rather help humanity.

  27. #27 Wow
    April 17, 2015

    So much time and money is being wasted on trying to find this particle.

    Vastly less than that being wasted on weapons that we hope never to use. But when it comes to finding things out, science is far better than guns.

    I guess you’ll be donating your computer to charity to help humanity, right?

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