Saturday, 15 February 2014
One More Try
One problem with blogging these days is that, in the short run, things are expected to get worse rather than better. The year 2013 was depressing but at least we could not complain of the lack of action. The LHC was flooding us with new results based on the data collected in the first run. On the Higgs front, the 125 GeV particle discovered the year before was established, beyond reasonable doubt, as a Higgs boson related to electroweak symmetry breaking. The CMB results from the Planck experiment were a sweeping victory for the Lambda-CDM description of the universe at large scales. The LUX experiment provided the best limits so far on the WIMP-nucleon cross section and slashed the hope that we may be on the verge of detecting dark matter. Plus a cherry on the top: ACME limits on electron's electric dipole moment increased the strain on any extension of the Standard Model with new particles at the TeV scale. Yes, a lot to remember, not much to cherish...
And what about 2014? Are there any results to be released this year that could be at least marginally exciting for particle physicists? I don't see much, and the opinion polls that I have conducted are not optimistic either. Basically, we just expect more of the same: the LHC, Planck, ICECUBE, AMS-02, Fermi... Of course, there is always a non-zero probability that some new results from these experiments will turn out to be a smoking gun for new physics, but the later in the game the dimmer the chances are. The only qualitatively new piece of data among those will be the Planck polarization data, but even that is unlikely to be a game-changer. One may also keep an eye on lightweight contenders: small precision experiments that pursue indirect limits on new physics. Recently there's been new such limits on non-standard interactions between electrons and quarks from JLab's PVDIS Collaboration who study low-energy scattering of electrons on nuclei. A similar experiment in JLab called Q-weak promises new results and improved limits this year. If there's anything else like that in the queue I'll be glad if you let me know in the comments section.
So how to live? How to blog? How to make it till 2015 when the sky is supposed to get brighter? I have no idea but I'll try to go on for a little longer. Back soon.