Physicists at CERN have sent a ping-pong ball around the Large Hadron Collider in order to test for defects. However, this is no ordinary ping-pong ball, it is ultra-clean, smaller than regulation size and fitted with a radio transmitter. This so called radio-frequency ball was used to test that the connections between the magnets are free from any defects.
The Large Hadron Collider will spend four weeks probing the conditions of the early universe in better detail than ever before, as it takes a break from the hunt for the Higgs boson.
The LHC’s main activity for 2011, colliding pairs of protons, came to an end as scheduled on 30 October. The experiment has now produced about 6 inverse femtobarns of collision data, about three times the total used in the last major analysis searching for the Higgs boson, thought to endow other particles with mass, which was reported in August. Continue Reading
To the bafflement of scientists, a cylinder of metal sitting in a closely-guarded strongbox that is the global benchmark for the kilogram is changing mass.
The enigma doesn’t affect anyone who wants to buy 500-milligramme tablets of aspirin, half a kilo of carrots or a 50,000-tonne cruise ship.
But it poses a hefty theoretical challenge to physicists, and complicates the work of labs which need ultra-precise, always-standard measurement.
Since 1889, the kilogram has been internationally defined in accordance with a piece of metal kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures(known by its French acronym of BIPM), in the Paris suburb of Sevres. Continue Reading