The particle physics community was left shuffling its feet in mild embarrassment recently as the new 750 GeV di-photon resonance, which had inspired upwards of 500 submitted papers, turned out to be just another statistical fluctuation in the data.
The apparent resonance was first publicly announced by CERN in December last year, when both the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations, using new 13 TeV data produced by the Large Hadron Collider and collected by the two multi-purpose detectors, reported seeing more events than predicted by the Standard Model in data containing two high-energy photons. Significantly, both experiments saw this excess occurring when the two photons had an invariant mass close to 750 GeV (indicating a single new heavy particle at the same mass), with local significance measures of 3.9 sigmas (ATLAS) and 3.4 sigmas (CMS). Typically, a significance of 5 sigmas is required before a discovery can be claimed.
Continue reading What happened at 750GeV? (Amelia Brennan)
Are you coming to the Physics Congress in Brisbane this year? If so, a reminder that to get a significant discount on the cost of registration, the early-bird deadline is next Monday, 4 July. This is also the deadline for abstract submission. There is more information about the joint meeting later in this bulletin.
We are calling for nominations for four key roles within the AIP. Details, and the Executive’s nominations for these four roles, are given below.
Continue reading Congress deadline and physics tours: physics in July
With Warrick away this month, I am taking on the task of writing to you on behalf of the AIP Executive.
As current AIP Vice President it has been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the wider physics community, beyond my day job as Director of the Australian Synchrotron – there is always so much activity underway in Australian physics.
Last month’s Federal Budget included new funding for some important physics infrastructure projects. See later in this bulletin for details, as well as an excellent analysis from the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).
The AAS announced the election of 21 new Fellows last week, including three AIP Fellows and one member of the AIP Executive.
Continue reading LIGO Director coming to Australia this year, and Federal physics funding – physics in June
This Bulletin is being distributed at an eventful time. Firstly, it was very pleasing to hear last week that CSIRO will establish a new Climate Science Centre in Hobart, which will focus on climate modelling and projections for Australia, exploiting both national and international research expertise. This is in response to the rather negative feedback CSIRO received from its stakeholders and staff on the job cuts it proposed to make in the climate change area – announced in February.
Coupled with this good news is the establishment of a scientific committee to advise Government on the future direction of Australia’s climate science capability and research priorities. Continue reading Meeting this year’s women-in-physics lecturer – and who was Australia’s top physics publisher: Physics in May
The AIP places great importance on recognising excellence and outstanding contributions in physics, and promoting the important roles played by women in physics. One of the tangible ways it does this is via its awards, and I am delighted to be able to announce the recipients of two of its most prestigious such honours in this context: Cathy Foley has been awarded the Outstanding Service to Physics Award for 2015 in recognition of her leadership and many outstanding contributions to physics and the physics community. And Catalina Curceanu will be this year’s AIP Women in Physics Lecturer. Stay tuned for further information on these two awards in both this Bulletin and in our Australian Physics magazine.
Continue reading New nano centre in Sydney, planetarium show touring, and two AIP awards announced: Physics in April
What a fantastically exciting month it has been with the announcement of the first transient gravitational wave event due to a binary black hole merger. This will surely go down as one of the most significant discoveries in physics over the last century.
Some of the Australian researchers involved in the discovery are acknowledged in an article in this bulletin. It was also great to see how many took the opportunity in the weeks following the announcement to reach out to a curious public.
Continue reading Gravitational waves and an influx of fresh, new members: physics in March
Friday 12 February 2016
In 1915, Einstein’s theory of general relativity presented a new way of understanding how the Universe worked.
It was a whole new way of thinking about time and space—but it was all theory.
Over the intervening century, nearly all of Einstein’s work has been proven. Except no one could find the gravity waves—dubbed ‘the drums of heaven’ by some physicists.
Until now. Continue reading Gravitational waves herald a new era in physics
Happy New Year from the AIP Executive. It has been a busy couple of months in physics, with rumours of the first gravitational wave detection with LIGO, further confirmation of an unexpected bump in the data coming from the Large Hadron Collider, and the possible presence of a large, distant ninth planet in the far reaches of our solar system. Not to mention the addition of four new elements to the periodic table.
Continue reading Nanotech honours and the 2016 national physics conference: physics in February
December sees the end of the International Year of Light, which has seen some fantastic celebrations of light physics and related technologies in Australia.
The end of 2015 marks some very important anniversaries in physics: James Clerk Maxwell’s four famous equations of electromagnetism, 150 years ago this month, laid the foundations for Einstein’s later relativity work, which celebrated 100 years at the end of November. The ABC marked the end of the Year of Light with a feature on Maxwell (listen) and we list some Australian relativity tributes in this bulletin. November was also 100 years since William Lawrence Bragg and William Henry Bragg won Australia’s first Nobel Prize in Physicsl, for crystallography.
Continue reading Wrapping up the Year of Light, 150 years of Maxwell & 100 years of relativity: physics in December
Each year, much excitement and anticipation surrounds the announcement of the Nobel Prize winners. I will never forget hearing the news that Brian Schmidt would be one of the winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, for the discovery of the accelerating universe, through a phone call from a very excited Leigh Dayton, then science writer for The Australian, who had somehow got wind of Brian receiving a very special phone call from the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm.
The announcement of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was made just before the last AIP bulletin was sent out. I have now had time to write more on the physics behind the award, which has special significance to those working in particle physics.
I am also delighted to make the AIP’s own award announcement: Professor Min Gu from Swinburne University of Technology is the recipient of the 2015 Walter Boas Medal for his major contributions to three-dimensional optical imaging theory and its applications in optical data storage, biometrics and optical endoscopy. Min will receive his medal, which recognises excellence in physics research, at an AIP Victorian Branch event—we will let you know more details when they are confirmed. My congratulations to Min on this very well deserved award. Continue reading Calling women in physics, and the new government focus on science: physics in November