January 29, 2009

Energy Scientist Explains Particle Physics

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As part of their weekly Particle Theory seminar, researchers at Newman Laboratory converged yesterday for “A Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hadron Collisions,” a lecture by Associate Scientist Peter Skands of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

However, contrary to the title, the lecture seemed to be geared specifically towards an audience familiar with high energy particle physics, and the audience was comprised mainly of people who work in the field. The lecture focused on the mobility of some of the world’s smallest particles in existence, which include quarks, hadrons and parton.

Skands’s discussion topics ranged from the dipole-antennae of high-energy particles to the theoretical framework of particle production — simply stated as “a matrix element plus a parton shower.” He also highlighted contemporary amendments to “The Matching Problem,” a statistical analysis that involves [img_assist|nid=34554|title=Moving forward|desc=Speaker Dr. Peter Skands hosts a talk on particle physics in Newman Lab yesterday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]permuting the possibility of pairing two objects from a large pool. He called the derivative-laden mathematical amendments additive and multiplicative correction methods.

“From the theoretical point of view, if we describe one [system] we describe the others,” he said, citing the perturbation theory — the idea that large quantum systems can be treated as smaller systems as long as the steady compilation of large quantum systems does not create a “disturbance” of the simple system. He went on to claim that while the theory holds true for many cases, physicists are compelled to consider alternative possibilities, so that they do not prematurely celebrate their discoveries.

Skands also discussed interface friendly animations of a quantum chromodynamics vacuum, which he suggested serves as a background interface for researchers running perturbative calculations. He is currently completing the framework for multiplicative matching and he plans on following up with additive matching in the near future.

He went on to introduce the audience to more technologically advanced imaging systems. One method was color correlation.

Since “not much [is] known about the color correlation, some ‘theoretically sensible’ default values were chosen,” he said in reference to nascent model he presented before the audience.

Skands concluded by talking about some recent projects.

The speaker informed his peers that improved models for the Large Hadron Collider, located in Geneva, Switzerland, have been drafted; this time, with minimum bias and no “veil of secrecy.” Skands said that many scientists were “disproportionally disappointed” that the world’s supposedly highest energy accelerator went faulty in Sept. 2008, thereby forcing the launching date to June 2009.

Prof. Yuval Grossman, physics, commended Skands for his work, highlighting the topic’s relevance to Skands’s long-term career as a particle physicist.
“It was quite good,” Grossman said.

Grossman also commented on the plight of the world’s prime LHC. Built by the engineering community at the very fundamental level of physics, he said, the LHC’s failure can be attributed to overstatement of scientific accuracy. He agreed with Skands that “theoretical uncertainty is obscuring [the vision of scientists].”