Monthly Archives: November 2012

Can You Feel the Higgs Field, Baby?

My apologies to Austin Powers for the phrasing.  But the answer is surprisingly yes, but not in a naive way, given that the Higgs field’s non-zero vacuum value gives mass to all of the fundamental particles. The complication comes in that the baryonic matter that we live … Continue reading

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Introduction to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN laboratory in Geneva is well described in detail on their website cern.ch as well as in YouTube videos.  I am just giving a brief introduction here for an OLLI class. The LHC collides … Continue reading

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Introduction to Quarks, Leptons, and The Electromagnetic and Weak Interactions

The ordinary matter of the universe is composed of protons, neutrons, and their combinations in nuclei, as well as their surrounding electrons making up atoms.  The connection with quarks is that the proton contains two u quarks and one d … Continue reading

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Evidence for the Higgs at 125 GeV in the LHC (11/27/2012)

This is just a simplified version for an OLLI class, not a comprehensive treatment.  The figures are from the excellent particle physics blog resonaances.blogspot.com of 14 November, 2012.  They are from the ATLAS and CMS presentations at the Hadron Collider Physics conference … Continue reading

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Higgs Production and Decay Channels

First of all, the protons circulating in the LHC have to be considered as a bag of quark and gluon components.  Each proton has two valence up quarks and one valence down quark.  At a high fraction of the proton’s … Continue reading

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Introduction to the ATLAS Detector at the LHC

The ATLAS detector site www.atlas.ch provides a comprehensive presentation of the detector and its physics.  This is just a brief presentation for my OLLI classes. I don’t mean to slight the other general detector at CERN which is CMS, but I … Continue reading

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What Might the Higgs Boson Imply? (Supersymmetry)

The Higgs Boson discovery must still meet several tests to verify that it is the standard model Higgs.  It’s coupling in various production channels of particles must show that its couplings are exactly proportional to the masses of the particles … Continue reading

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Importance of The Higgs Boson Discovery

This is a part of a short talk that I am giving to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Irvine on the LHC update. The discovery of the Higgs Boson, postulated by Peter Higgs and others in 1964, is … Continue reading

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Some References for Cosmology: Books and Web Talks

Having viewed a number of Alex Filippenko’s cosmology talks at UC Irvine OLLI at the end of his Teaching Company lectures, I wanted to list some general public books and web lectures on the topic. Books:  (Even though I’m referencing Kindle, … Continue reading

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Amount Spent On Students for their Degrees in CA and National Universities

The Chronicle of Higher Education also has a list of expenditures per student degrees in public and private universities.  Here we quote numbers for the most expensive ones in CA and in the US.  The drawback is that the reporting … Continue reading

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