Sharper view of matter

first_imgIn a breakthrough that could one day yield important clues about the nature of matter itself, a team of Harvard scientists has measured the magnetic charge of single particles of matter and antimatter with unprecedented precision.As described in a March 25 paper in Physical Review Letters, the team — led by Gerald Gabrielse, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics, and including postdoctoral fellows Stephan Ettenauer  and Eric Tardiff and graduate students Jack DiSciacca, Mason Marshall, Kathryn Marable, and Rita Kalra — was able to capture individual protons and antiprotons in a “trap” created by electric and magnetic fields. By tracking the oscillations of each particle, the team was able to measure the magnetism of a proton 1,000 times more accurately than any proton had been measured before. Similar tests with antiprotons produced a 680-fold increase in accuracy in the size of the magnet in an antiproton.“That is a spectacular jump in precision for any fundamental quality,” Gabrielse said. “That’s a leap that we don’t often see in physics, at least not in a single step.”Such measurements, Gabrielse said, could one day help scientists answer a question that might seem more suited for the philosophy classroom than the physics lab: Why are we here?“One of the great mysteries in physics is why our universe is made of matter,” he said. “According to our theories, the same amount of matter and antimatter was produced during the Big Bang. When matter and antimatter meet, they are annihilated. As the universe cools down, the big mystery is: Why didn’t all the matter find the antimatter and annihilate all of both? There’s a lot of matter and no antimatter left, and we don’t know why.”Making precise measurements of protons and antiprotons, Gabrielse explained, could begin to answer those questions, by potentially shedding light on whether the CPT (charge conjugation, parity transformation, time reversal) theorem is correct. An outgrowth of the standard model of particle physics, CPT states that the protons and antiprotons should be virtually identical — with the same magnitude of charge and mass — yet with opposite charges.The predictions of CPT have been verified by experiments measuring the charge-to-mass ratio of protons and antiprotons, but further investigation is needed, Gabrielse said, because the standard model does not account for all forces in the universe.“What we wanted to do with these experiments was to say, ‘Let’s take a simple system — a single proton and a single antiproton — and let’s compare their predicted relationships, and see if our predictions are correct,’” Gabrielse said. “Ultimately, whatever we learn might give us some insight into how to explain this mystery.”While researchers were able to capture and measure protons with relative ease, antiprotons are only produced by high-energy collisions that take place at the extensive tunnels of the CERN laboratory in Geneva, which created a dilemma.“Last year, we published a report showing that we could measure a proton much more accurately than ever before,” Gabrielse said. “Once we had done that, however, we had to make a decision. Did we want to take the risk of moving our people and our entire apparatus — crates and crates of electronics and a very delicate trap apparatus — to CERN and try to do the same thing with antiprotons?  Antiprotons would only be available till mid-December and then not again for a year and a half.“We decided to give it a shot, and by George, we pulled it off,” he continued. “Ultimately, we argued that we should attempt it, because even if we failed, that failure would teach us something.” In what Gabrielse described as a “gutsy” choice, DiSciacca agreed to use the attempt to conclude his thesis research, and new grad students Marshall and Marable signed on to help.Though the results still fit within the predictions made by the standard model, more accurate measurements of the characteristics of matter and antimatter may advance our understanding of how the universe works.“What’s also very exciting about this breakthrough is that it now prepares us to continue down this road,” Gabrielse said. “I’m confident that, given this start, we’re going to be able to increase the accuracy of these measurements by another factor of 1,000, or even 10,000.”last_img read more

Change in formation provides more second-half chances for SU men’s soccer

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13center_img After 45 minutes of being outshot, outplayed and outhustled by Pittsburgh, Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre knew adjustments needed to be made. It was halftime, but the Orange hadn’t conceded a goal. With the score still 0-0, his team was by no means out of the game. ‘Pittsburgh really got on top and created some quality opportunities,’ McIntyre said. ‘That had to change if we were going to get something out of the game.’ Change is exactly what McIntyre did. To start the second half, McIntyre backed away from the 4-5-1 formation the team had been using for most of the season. Instead he pushed one of his midfielders forward to play as an additional striker and create a traditional 4-4-2 alignment. Although the team failed to find the back of the net and the game ended in a 0-0 tie, SU more than tripled its shot output in the second half and had a more consistent, better organized attack.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text The extra striker on Saturday came in the form of junior Nick Roydhouse. He moved up from the center attacking midfield position to play up front alongside Federico Agreda. It took him a few minutes to acclimate himself. Five minutes into the second half, sophomore defender Jakob Karlgren made a run out of the back down the left sideline and crossed the ball to Roydhouse. Alone in the middle of the penalty box, Roydhouse ripped a left-footed volley that pinged off the crossbar. Stunned by the miss, Roydhouse could only throw up his hands in disbelief. ‘I thought it was in,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t have hit it any better. It just rose up too high. Next time, I’ll put it in. ‘Let’s hope so anyway,’ he joked. The new formation also provided an opportunity for senior Manny Sevillano to step in for Geoff Lytle as an outside midfielder. In a 4-4-2, there is added pressure on the outside midfielders to cover a huge amount of the field. They are responsible for pushing forward and assisting the two strikers, and then having to retreat and play defense to help the outside defenders. It was for that reason McIntyre inserted Sevillano into the game. He trusted his endurance, and he trusted his pace. ‘He basically said, ‘We’re going to need your legs,” Sevillano said. ‘I have that speed and fitness that usually really helps our team.’ Sevillano played 63 minutes Saturday, all of which came in the second half and overtime. Playing on the left side of the field with Roydhouse, he nearly tallied what could have been a game-winning goal with two minutes to play in regulation. A beautiful combination between Roydhouse and midfielder Mawuena Agbossoumonde slipped Roydhouse free into the left corner. He played a cross into the box that found its way to Sevillano’s right foot, but his volley attempt sailed over the crossbar. Nonetheless, his play caught the attention of McIntyre. ‘He brought us energy,’ McIntyre said. ‘He brought us legs. I thought he was very good tonight. … Having that athleticism really keeps another team honest, and I thought he worked his socks off tonight.’ Syracuse managed seven shots in the second half, compared to just two in the first. The more focused attack also earned the Orange three corner kicks. It even outshot Pittsburgh in the overtime periods. ‘I think in the second half, we were performing a little bit better,’ Sevillano said. ‘We were on top of Pittsburgh. Usually you try to leave (a team that’s playing well) and see if that team can produce.’ But despite the improved attack, the team couldn’t produce a goal. Through its first seven matches, the team has just four goals and hasn’t scored more than one in a game. The last time the Orange went seven games to open a season without netting at least two goals in a single game was 1960. And it has only happened twice in program history. The offense needs to come around, and it needs to do so quickly. ‘(Scoring goals) is a mentality,’ McIntyre said. ‘It’s an aggressive nature, and you keep working at it. That’s why we practice and that’s how we become confident. We’ll keep working on that quality service, and then the goals will come.’ [email protected]last_img read more