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费米科学家对于发现希格斯粒子保持乐观

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小编摘要:欧洲核能研究组织(CERN)的大型强子对撞机虽然只有几年的服役年龄,但它以近乎光速的速度撞击亚原子粒子后产生的束流几乎让全世界的科学家为之兴奋。

费米科学家对于发现希格斯粒子保持乐观

 

CERN's Large Hadron Collider is just a few years old, but data streaming in after it smashes subatomic particles together at near-light speed has scientists around the world excited.

University of Florida professor Jacobo Konigsberg has contributed to CERN's hunt for the "Higgs boson." If they find it, he says, it would solve one of the most enduring mysteries of physics. "The mystery of mass in the universe is one of the most fundamental questions we have," he said.

Konigsberg is on a quest to answer that fundamental question, halfway around the world from the machine that is likely to find it.

He is pouring through the results of the LHC's latest findings at the Energy Department's Fermi National Laboratory in suburban Chicago.

In a control room directly linked to CERN, Konigsberg watches test results and information. He says the recent announcement by his colleagues in Geneva pinpoints a specific location where the Higgs is likely to exist, if it exists at all. "The number of events we expect in the data in this region is higher than if the Higgs [boson] wasn't there. So people are very excited about the possibility that this could be the beginning of unearthing, if you will, the Higgs [boson]," he said.

But at Fermilab, scientist Robert Roser greets the news with skepticism. "These are both kind of like one in 50, one in 100 probability that the background could fluctuateup to be a signal. So not very compelling at all yet," he said.

Roser visited the CERN laboratories in the days leading up to the announcement of progress in the search for the Higgs. He says there is also caution in Europe about what the latest results mean. "And there was no popping of champagne corks... it was pretty much business as usual going on in there. People were talking about their individual analyses and what's going on... they weren't giving each other high fives saying we got this thing settled. So I think in Europe there is an air of caution," he said.

"You cannot yet rule out that this small axis of events is from other processes that are mimicking the Higgs. So unfortunately at the moment the situation is ambiguous," said Konigsberg.

But the development demonstrates the LHC's power. It has eclipsed Fermilab's Tevatron Accelerator, which went offline in September. "The LHC was meant to surpass the Tevatron. It was meant to eventually find the Higgs, and the Tevatron established a lot of the techniques that are today used by the LHC," said Konigsberg.

There is still a chance the Tevatron could yield the results scientists are looking for.

Though it's turned off, Roser and his team are still sifting through data and expect to release their findings in March.

If it exists at all, Roser expects the Tevatron or the LHC to find the Higgs boson soon. "If it's there, we will find it in 2012. If it's not there, we'll say that too in 2012," he said.

Roser says if they do find the Higgs boson, scientists could spend the next several decades trying to understand it.

欧洲核能研究组织(CERN)的大型强子对撞机虽然只有几年的服役年龄,但它以近乎光速的速度撞击亚原子粒子后产生的束流几乎让全世界的科学家为之兴奋。

佛罗里达大学的教授杰克布·克里斯伯格对寻找神秘的希格斯粒子(Higgs boson)做出了积极的贡献。如果他们找到它,他表示,这将解决众多物理学谜团之一的最困难难题。“宇宙质量的神秘一直以来是我们的一个最基本问题。”他说道。

克里斯伯格正在探索以解决这个基本问题,大半个世界的机器也为寻找这个答案而努力。

他参考了在芝加哥郊区的费米国家实验室能源部门的大型强子对撞机的最新成果。

在直接联系CERN的控制室, 克里斯伯格观看了试验结果与各种信息。他说道他的同事们在日内瓦最近宣布希格斯粒子的特定地点是可能存在的,如果它存在。我们期望资料上的这个地区要高于如果希格斯粒子不存在的数量。所以人们都非常兴奋,因为这终于有点起色,如果你愿意,希格斯粒子就会在那里。”他说道。

但在费米,科学家罗伯特·罗瑟迎接新闻的质疑态度。“这有点像在五十分之一,一百分之一的概率情境下才会有一个信号波动。所以现在并不是非常令人信服。”他解释道。

罗瑟这些天参观了CERN实验室,最终引发了寻找希格斯粒子取得进展的公告宣布。他表示欧洲关心着最新研究成果。“我们并没有举行开香槟…之类的庆祝活动,一切只是照常进行。大家都在热烈地讨论他们各自的分析及到底发生了什么…他们没有给自己一颗定心丸,说嘿,我们把这事解决了。所以我认为在欧洲空气中都带有一丝谨慎感。”他说道。

“你还不能排除那个小轴的活动是在其他过程中模仿希格斯粒子。所以不幸的是现在的情况是非常捉摸不定。”克里斯伯格说道。

但发展显示了大型强子对撞机的功力。它已经超过了将在9月份下线的费米垓电子加速器。“大型强子对撞机注定要超过垓电子加速器。这意味着最终发现希格斯粒子,垓电子加速器建立了大量的技术,而大型强子对撞机却在今天采用。”克里斯伯格说道。

垓电子加速器还可能有机会带来科学家正在寻找的结果。

虽然它被关闭,罗瑟和他的团队还在筛选数据,并希望在3月将他们的结果发布。

如果它确实存在,罗瑟期望无论是垓电子加速器还是大型强子对撞机都能够很快发现希格斯粒子。“如果它真的存在,我们会在2012年发现。如果它确实不存在,我们也会在2012年公布这个消息。”他说道。

罗瑟表示如果他们真的发现希格斯粒子,科学家们会在今后几十年内试图去理解它。

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2011-12-19 19:03 编辑:pliny
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