The great achievement in revealing the fundamental forces of the universe at the Large Hadron Collider

Building on their extensive involvement with CERN, the University of Rochester team recently achieved “incredibly precise” measurements of the electroweak mixing angle, a critical component of the Standard Model of particle physics. Credit: Samuel Joseph Herzog. Julian Marius Urdan

Researchers at the University of Rochester working with the CMS Collaboration on CERNThey made significant advances in measuring the electroweak mixing angle, which enhanced our understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics.

Their work helps explain the fundamental forces of the universe, supported by experiments such as those at the Large Hadron Collider that delve into conditions similar to those after the Big Bang. the great explosion.

Uncover global secrets

In the quest to unlock the secrets of the universe, researchers from the University of Rochester have been involved for decades in international collaborations at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, more commonly known as CERN.

Building on their extensive involvement at CERN, especially within the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) collaboration, the Rochester team – led by Ari Budek, George E. Buck – a recent groundbreaking achievement. Their achievement focuses on measuring the electroweak mixing angle, a fundamental component of the Standard Model of particle physics. This model describes how particles interact and accurately predicts a wide range of phenomena in physics and astronomy.

“Recent measurements of the mixing angle of the electroweak force are incredibly accurate, as they were calculated from proton collisions at CERN, and they advance the understanding of particle physics,” Budick says.

the Collaboration in a content management system It brings together members of the particle physics community from around the world to better understand the fundamental laws of the universe. In addition to Buddick, the Rochester group in the CMS collaboration includes principal investigators Regina Demena, professor of physics, and Aran Garcia-Belledo, associate professor of physics, along with postdoctoral research fellows and graduate and undergraduate students.

CERN CMS experience

University of Rochester researchers have a long history of working at CERN as part of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Collaboration, including playing key roles in the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. Copyright: Samuel Joseph Herzog; Julian Marius Urdan

A legacy of discovery and innovation at CERN

Located in Geneva, Switzerland, CERN is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and is known for its pioneering discoveries and cutting-edge experiments.

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Rochester researchers have a long history of working at CERN as part of the CMS collaboration, including playing key roles in Discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012– An elementary particle that helps explain the origin of mass in the universe.

The collaboration involves collecting and analyzing data collected from the Compact Muon Solenoid detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. The LHC consists of a 17-mile-long ring of superconducting magnets and accelerator structures built underground and spanning the border between Switzerland and France.

The primary purpose of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is to explore the basic building blocks of matter and the forces that govern them. It achieves this by accelerating beams of protons or ions to nearly the speed of light and smashing them together at extremely high energies. These collisions recreate conditions similar to those that existed milliseconds after the Big Bang, allowing scientists to study the behavior of particles under extreme conditions.

Unified Forces Revealed

In the 19th century, scientists found that the different strengths of electricity and magnetism are related: a changing electric field produces a magnetic field and vice versa. This discovery formed the basis of electromagnetism, which describes light as a wave and explains many phenomena in the field of optics, along with describing how electric and magnetic fields interact.

Building on this understanding, in the 1960s physicists discovered that electromagnetism is related to another force, the weak force. The weak force operates within the nucleus of atoms and is responsible for processes such as radioactive decay and powering solar energy production. This discovery led to the development of electroweak theory, which posits that electromagnetism and the weak force are actually low-energy manifestations of a unified force called the unified electroweak interaction. Key discoveries, such as the Higgs boson, have confirmed this concept.

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Progress in the electroweak interaction

The CMS Collaboration recently made one of the most precise measurements yet of this theory, analyzing billions of proton collisions at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Their focus was on measuring the weak mixing angle, a parameter that describes how electromagnetism and the weak force mix together to create particles.

Previous measurements of the electroweak mixing angle have sparked controversy within the scientific community. However, the latest results are in close agreement with expectations from the Standard Model of particle physics. Rochester graduate student Rice Taus and his postdoctoral fellow Aleko Khokhunaishvili implemented new techniques to reduce the systematic uncertainty inherent in this measurement, improving its accuracy.

Understanding the weak mixing angle sheds light on how the different forces in the universe work together on the smallest scales, deepening our understanding of the fundamental nature of matter and energy.

“The Rochester team has been developing innovative techniques to measure these weak electrical parameters since 2010 and then implementing them at the Large Hadron Collider,” says Buddick. “These new techniques have ushered in a new era of testing the accuracy of the Standard Model’s predictions.”

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