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A second chance at a PhD in physics

At each step on the path to a physics PhD, the percentage of students from underrepresented groups drops. The APS Bridge Program aims to fix that. Carlos Perez, a physics graduate student at the University of South Florida, can tell you all about his research studying exotic materials that could be key to developing next-generation solar panels. Show More Summary

The Two-Box Addition Game

SteelyKid’s school does a “March Math Madness” thing, and this year all the kids in her class are being asked to practice “Math Facts” for ten minutes a night. This appears to be motivated by some requirement that students be able to rattle off basic addition problems at high speed. So there are flash cards…

SteelyKid, Space-Babies, and Transformative Music

As previously mentioned, SteelyKid has started to get into pop music. In addition to the songs in that post, she’s very fond of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” like every other pre-teen girl in the country, and also this Taylor Swift song: I’ve seen a bunch of people rave about this, but honestly, I found it pretty…

ELBNF is born

At approximately 6:15 p.m. CST on Jan. 22, 2015, the largest and most ambitious experimental collaboration for neutrino science was born. It was inspired by a confluence of scientific mysteries and technological advances, and midwifed by firm tugs from Fermilab, CERN and Brookhaven Lab. Show More Summary

A day in the life of a Black Hills WIMP hunter

The Black Hills of South Dakota may seem an unlikely location to hunt for dark matter, even if the name does seem fitting. If they are known for one thing, it’s gold -- and gold requires a mine. Gold mining means deep underground caverns,...Show More Summary

What BICEP2 Got Right

There has been a lot made of the fact that Planck and BICEP2 jointly released a paper last week saying that BICEP2's original claim of a discovery of proof that the very early universe expanded mindbogglingly quickly -- something that's...Show More Summary

So, you would like to go on sabbatical…

Every seven years or so a professor in a US/Canadian university can apply for a sabbatical leave. It's a very nice thing: your university allows you to catch up on your research, learn new techniques, write a book, etc. That is to say, you become a postdoc again.

A telescope that tells you when to look up

The LSST system will alert scientists to changes in space in near-real time. A massive digital camera will begin taking detailed snapshots from a mountaintop telescope in Chile in 2021. In just a few nights, the Large Synoptic Survey...Show More Summary

Announcing the Schrödinger Sessions: Science for Science Fiction

A few years back, I became aware of Mike Brotherton’s Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, and said “somebody should do this for quantum physics.” At the time, I wasn’t in a position to do that, but in the interim, the APS Outreach program launched the Public Outreach and Informing the Public Grant program, providing smallish grants…

Where Do I Come From?

It's the oldest question in the world: where do I come from? Genetics only takes us so far; our line of ancestors actually stretches back beyond our first single celled forebears. Chemistry proceeds biology, and before that the world was made only of protons, neutrons and electrons. Show More Summary

Detecting something with nothing

This article appeared in Fermilab Today on March 3, 2015. Researchers are one step closer to finding new physics with the completion of a harp-shaped prototype detector element for the Mu2e experiment. Mu2e will look for the conversion of a muon to only an electron (with no other particles emitted) — something predicted but never Read the full article

dublab at LAIH

(Click for larger view.) Mark ("Frosty") McNeill gave us a great overview of the work of the dublab collective at last Friday's LAIH luncheon. As I said in my introduction: ... dublab shows up as part of the DNA of many of the most engaging...Show More Summary

Excited Quarks and Early Discoveries at LHC Run II

In seven weeks CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest and most energetic particle accelerator in history, is scheduled to turn back on. The LHC has been shutdown since December 2012 in order for experimentalists to repair and upgrade the different detector experiments as well as the collider itself. Show More Summary

A particle detector in your pocket

Do you love science and technology and sometimes wish you could contribute to a major discovery? I've got good news: "there's an app for that." With the Crayfis app, you can join a world-wide network of smartphones designed to detect ultra-high energy cosmic rays.

The Helium Dilution Refrigerator in CUORE

CUORE is looking for a kind of radioactive decay that's extremely rare -- if indeed it happens at all. It's never been observed before. It's called "neutrinoless double beta decay," a decay emitting two electrons but no neutrinos. The...Show More Summary

Physics + wine = plasma + fun

Ever fancied making your own particle accelerator? Fermilab posted a great Quantum Diaries blog entry last month showing how anyone can make a particle detector for viewing cosmic rays. In this post, I will explain how particle accelerators can also be hacked so that you can make your very own cathode ray tube.

Theory and experiment come together — bazinga!

Regular readers of Quantum Diaries will know that in the world of particle physics, there is a clear divide between the theorists and the experimentalists. But sometimes scientists from the two sides of particle physics come together, and the results can be intriguing. Show More Summary

Sonic Copper Cleaning

Today we cleaned parts to go into the detector using a sci-fi piece of machinery called a “sonic bath”. On CUORE, we’re looking for a faint signal of radioactivity. That means we can’t let anything swamp that signal: we have to clean away the normal low-level of dirt present in the atmosphere and biological systems. Read the full article

Behind the scenes of our “Big Bang Theory” post

Well, that was fun! At 8 PM ET on February 5, 2015, Quantum Diaries ran a post that was tied to “The Troll Manifestation”, an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” (TBBT) that was being aired at exactly that time.  This was generated in partnership with the show’s writers, staff and advisers. What happens when Read the full article

Fermilab contributes to SLAC LCLS-II with cutting-edge technology and expertise

This article appeared in Fermilab Today on Feb. 11, 2015. Now one year into its five-year construction plan, the Linac Coherent Light Source II, an electron accelerator project at SLAC, will produce a high-power free-electron laser for...Show More Summary

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