Christos Leonidopoulos

Christos Leonidopoulos

Particle Physics: Electroweak Symmetry-Breaking mechanism, Exotica searches, hadron-collider triggers, future colliders.

Location University of Edinburgh

Activity

  • Good to have you onboard, Lee.

  • Oh that's a tricky one. It turns out that the first W boson in this chain (let's call it W*) is slightly heavier than the "normal" W. How's that possible, you may ask. It is, because particles do not have a fixed mass, but something like a distribution around a nominal mass (if you are curious, check out "Breit Wigner distribution"), so that W* as it turns out...

  • @francisgan When I say "light is light", I meant that all photons travel at the same speed (c) in vacuum. Having said that, of course energy & intensity have a role to play in how harmful a light beam can be. But this does not change how fast the photons travel, if that makes sense?

  • You do have radioactive decays inside the Earth, see e.g. https://physicsworld.com/a/radioactive-decay-accounts-for-half-of-earths-heat/ . The Thorium decay that the article mentions is effectively a beta decay that requires the exchange of a W boson.

  • If by "single" you mean completely isolated/on their own, the answer is no. But they do appear either in pairs or in groups of 3 (sometimes more). The reason for that is QCD (Week-4) and colour-confinement.

  • @DaphneJones Not at all, this is a legit blog post, written by physicists. SSB is the mathematical recipe which (sort of) explains how elementary particles acquire mass. But as I said earlier, it is really just a prescription through which we go from a (non-existing) zero-mass world (W1, W2, B) to the real world in which elementary particles have masses (W+,...

  • We may be talking about different things. You may have several particles contributing to the production of a Higgs boson (e.g. W, Z, electrons, muons, etc) and you can depict all these with Feynman diagrams. In order to get the theory predictions to agree with the experimental data, it turns out that you need to take into account all these interactions (aka:...

  • @DaphneJones I assume you mean the non-expert version? I went on youtube and typed "Feynman diagrams" and I found several good-quality outreach attempts. Want to have a look yourself?

  • The presence-or-lack of vacuum is relevant only when it comes to massless particles (e.g. photons). Massless particles travel at the "speed of light in vacuum", well, when in vacuum. When inside a medium their speed is always smaller than that. Massive (ie. with non-zero mass) particles can never reach that upper-limit of speed (whether in vacuum or not). They...

  • Hi @DaphneJones . All known interactions between particles (including decays) in Quantum Field Theory are described/represented with Feynman diagrams in which a "messenger" particle is being exchanged between the two interacting particles. We don't really know any other way of describing particle interactions.

  • Electric discharge is the transmission of electric charges through a medium across an electric field. It is charged particles (think: electrons), not photons/light.

  • You use the ring at the LHC where protons can go around again & again and pick up energy, and increase their speed.

  • Light is light! what matters is the medium in which photons travel, not the wavelength/frequency.

  • Not quite, but pretty close. Protons at the LHC travel at 99.9999991% the speed of light.

  • @francisgan you can decrease the speed of photons by surrounding them with some material. You cannot increased it though, the speed of light at vacuum is the upper limit according to Special Relativity.

  • All three happen from time to time! I just came back from CERN, teaching at Edinburgh on Monday morning!

  • Compared to a massless particle (e.g. a photon), obviously the massive electron (one of the lightest known particles) has a mass that is gigantic & immense! :)

  • @francisgan Classical Mechanics describes everyday physics, ie what we refer to as typically "large" & "slow" objects (e.g. think of a person or a car moving - yes even cars are slow in this prescription). Relativity enters the picture when we consider very fast objects (e.g. think of a spaceship travelling at 10% of the speed of light). Quantum Mechanics...

  • Are you referring to the fact that we are using natural units here? (ie. some constants like ħ and c are missing) That's ok, this is just a convention to make equations a bit shorter/easier to parse.

  • Not sure I understood the question. Are you asking if the mass at each vertex is conserved? Charge, energy, momentum have to be conserved at each vertex, but mass can be created & destroyed (assuming no rules are violated in the process). Matter & anti-matter enter in other conservation laws (e.g. charge is just one aspect of it), but not really in the mass,...

  • Hi @CarstenDierks
    Q1: can you be more specific about the Feynman diagram you are talking about? Since you are bringing up 3 particles, I am tempted to think that you may have forgotten a photon somewhere, can you please clarify?
    Q2: This is true in general across energies (ie. as long the energy is high enough to create electron-positron pairs)
    Q3: You can...

  • It was noticed at some point that one could picture (for example) a negative-charge particle moving forward in time as a positive-charge particle moving backward in time. And that's about all there is to it. It is a mathematical manipulation that is used to try to make sense of something (negative energies) that looks very unintuitive. Of course, now we know...

  • The negative-energy solutions in these QM equations appear when we try to switch from the classical description of the equations of motion to the relativistic one. It turns out that this is not good enough, and we need to switch to the full description of Quantum Field Theory with continuous fields that allows for particles to be created and annihilate. In...

  • tell your friend that it's you who is right! :)

  • @francisgan "The main facet of modern science is that we can repeat an experiment easily." Are you referring to reproducibility of the results here? For the specific case of the Higgs boson discovery we accomplish this by having two independent collaborations that report on their findings separately/independently and without advance notice of what the other...

  • "most promising" means what we consider is most interesting from a physics point of view. For example, it could be because the fragments of the collisions look consistent with the decay of a Higgs boson. In this case, we record the collision so we can study it more carefully offline. Less interesting can be less rare or exotic physics processes that we...

  • @francisgan "if everything goes well" means if we have done a good job of having the two beams aligned and we manage to achieve a good collision at the centre of the experimental apparatus so we can record it. If not, we are missing out.

  • There are people with a very wild/wide range of backgrounds here. But we are trying to make sure we all learn while having fun.

  • we all do!

  • (a) Einstein, approaching this from a theoretical point of view, wanted to make Maxwell's electromagnetic equations uniform across all reference frames. For this to work, the speed of light would have to be constant.

    (b) The Michelson-Morley result provided the experimental confirmation that the speed of light is, indeed, the same in different reference...

  • Special Relativity is based on the observation (if you an experimentalist) or postulate (if you are a theorist) that the speed of light in vacuum is the same in all reference frames (in other words: all observers agree that the light travels at the same speed, no matter what the relative velocity among the various observers).

    This does not make sense from...

  • @francisgan yes, every Higgs boson decays practically instantaneously. What the plot is showing is the process of data-collection where we accumulate a large number of Higgs bosons over a long period of data-taking.

  • @JohnLateano The photons are mass-less, we are fairly certain about this. What you describe as "massive photons" at the time of collision/interaction is in reality the effect of momentum. If a mosquito hits the windshield of a moving car, it is not its mass that creates the "thump", it is its momentum. Closely related, but not the same. Funny thing, the...

  • @francisgan yes, we get about one Higgs per billion of collisions. The tricky part is that we do not get to store every single of these collisions but a very small fraction, the "most promising" ones. We do this with a highly selective filtering mechanism, called the Trigger. We will be discussing all this in Week-6.

  • @JohnLateano The "mass x velocity" formula is indeed from the pre-Relativity era. The new/adjusted formula is modified to be "gamma x mass x velocity", where gamma is the relativistic Lorentz factor. For a slow massive particle, gamma ⁓ 1, and we recover the classic formula. For a photon with mass = 0, gamma is not defined (or you could say that gamma = ∞, if...

  • Good to have you back, @SaraLeyshon !

  • Good to have you onboard, @DanielJohnson

  • I think the way to think about this is whether you need to "pay" to break free (e.g. think of a piece of metal in a magnetic field), or not (e.g think of a bullet moving in a zero-gravitational field: nothing can stop it). The +/- helps us picture whether we have an (energy) debt or a positive balance in our energy-bank account :)

  • I am not sure I understand your question, but my guess is you are referring to the filtering mechanism of the experiments. We have about a billion collisions per sec, and we only select a few thousands of them (so: a few kHz). We accumulate data over a long period of time, and then we look for fragments/evidence of the Higgs in the recorded datasets. Does this...

  • Good to see this attitude, @JosephineLord , and please remember: we are here to help.

  • No, it is actually the force and the *change* in the direction of movement that have to be parallel to each other (or in the same direction). This can also be seen in more complex systems, e.g. 2D & 3D. Imagine an object moving on a circular trajectory, e.g. a planet moving around a heavier sun. To force the planet to be on a circular motion you need a...

  • Hi @JohnLateano . The answer to your question is: both! We will discuss some of the technical details (not to mention, experimental challenges) in Week 6.