Physics News of the Week: A New Subatomic Particle and Nobel Prizes

| October 12, 2014 | 3 Comments

This week, as always, some amazing physics papers were released, so here’s a quick summary including the links to original articles. For more news register for our email newsletter here.

1. 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for the Development of Blue LED’s (Oct 7)

So recently the Nobel prize in physics has been awarded jointly to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for the development of blue LED’s, which lead to a giant step forward in the use of LED technology. By inventing a new kind of light-emitting diode, the researchers overcame a crucial roadblock for creating white light far more efficiently than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.

At a press conference, Nakamura said he is “happy to see that my dream of LED lighting has become a reality. Nowadays we can buy energy-efficient light bulbs in the supermarket and help reduce energy use. I hope this helps to reduce global warming too,” he said, reading from a prepared statement.

Akasaki told a nationally-televised news conference in Japan that he had faced skepticism about his research bearing fruit. “But I never felt that way,” he said. “I was just doing what I wanted to do.”

Amano said in an interview on NTV aired from Lyon, France on Wednesday that he credits Japan’s high school and university systems for his win.”To know that the ultimate purpose of education, or anything, is to do something to help people. That says it all,” he said.


2. Discovery of New Subatomic Particle Sheds Light on Fundamental Force of Nature (Oct 9)

A recent discovery of a new subatomic particle led by scientists from the University of Warwick will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom’s nucleus. Named Ds3*(2860)ˉ, the particle, a new type of meson, was discovered by analysing data collected with the LHCb detector at CERN’s (LHC).

“The strong interaction is the force that binds quarks, the subatomic particles that form protons within atoms, together. It is so strong that the binding energy of the proton gives a much larger contribution to the mass, through Einstein’s equation E = mc², than the quarks themselves. Calculations of strong interactions are done with a computationally intensive technique called Lattice QCD,” says the lead scientist Professor Tim Gershon. “In order to validate these calculations it is essential to be able to compare predictions to experiments. The new particle is ideal for this purpose because it is the first known that both contains a charm quark and has spin 3.”

3. Hypothetical New Cosmological Model Known as Higgsogenesis (Oct 9)

An exciting new paper proposing a new cosmological model known as Higgsogenesis has recently been published in Physical Review Letters. The term Higgsogenesis refers to the first appearance of Higgs particles in the early universe. The first appearance of the Higgs particles, according to scientists, could hold essential clues about the asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the universe.

In the new paper, it is proposed that the Higgs has an antiparticle particle they call the anti-Higgs. The authors also propose an asymmetry between the Higgs and anti-Higgs. This broken symmetry would then give rise to the dominance of matter in our current universe. They also propose that as the universe cooled, the Higgs particles could decay into dark matter particles, giving rise to dark matter in the universe.

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