Friday, 11 January 2013

What's in store in 2013

When you think about it, the end of the world in 2012 would have made perfect sense. Last year we found the Higgs boson -- the last of the particles predicted by the standard model. It may well be that humans have already discovered all elementary particles, in which case all that's left is looking in the sixth place of decimals. Alas, the armageddon didn't happen, so we have to drag on. What will the year 2013 bring to particle physicists?

Well, this year is surely going to be depressing because the LHC will come to a long halt, after a brief period of shit-on-shit collisions in January and February*. During the next 2 years the machine will undergo necessary repairs upgrades so that it can restart with the collision energy of about 13 TeV. Nevertheless this year should be entertaining, as the analyses of the full 8 TeV dataset will be flowing in. First of all, we're waiting for the Higgs update expected around the time of the  Moriond conference in March. The most important question is whether the measured rate in the diphoton decay channel  will continue to show an excess over the standard model, as currently hinted by ATLAS, or whether it will drift towards the standard model value, as hinted by CMS. Other Higgs search channels are unlikely to show a major departure from the standard model, given the existing data... but one never knows.  Besides, there will be of course hundreds of new physics searches; as long as there is data there's hope  that a new exciting phenomenon  may pop up somewhere...    

On the other side of the Atlantic two important experiments will kick off in 2013. Between Fermilab and Minnesota, the NOvA neutrino experiment will carry the first attack on the CP violating phase in the neutrino mixing matrix. Over in South Dakota, the LUX dark matter experiment will join Xenon100 on the frontier of WIMP detection.  However, neither of the above is likely to deliver anything groundbreaking as early as this year.

What else? When times are tough  we turn our eyes to heaven. The Planck satellite, that has performed precise measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background, will release the cosmological results in March. Disappointingly, the release will not include the CMB polarization data, which are supposed the meat of the whole mission. Nevertheless, the new CMB temperature maps should give us a better grip on cosmological parameters and improve on what we learnt from WMAP. Elsewhere in the sky the AMS-02 experiment,  glued to the International Space Station since 1 and half year now, is supposed to release first results this year. Although we don't expect anything spectacular, a confirmation of the positron excess claimed a few years ago by the PAMELA satellite would already be something. Back to the Earth, an upgraded version of the HESS gamma-ray telescope has been operating in Namibia since last summer. The previous HESS data has been used to put limits on the monochromatic gamma-ray emission from the galactic center at very high energies, 0.5-25 TeV. According to some reports, HESS-II should be able to go down in energy and quickly refute the presence of the line at 135 GeV that seems to be present in the data from the  Fermi gamma-ray satellite.

So, the new year holds some promises, although it's unlikely to match the fabulous 2012. Actually, I'm already worried about 2014, when there'll be so little new data.  Most likely, Résonaances will then  have to turn into a tabloid blog publishing topless pictures of physicists on Caribbean beaches.  But let's not think about that for a moment, and let's enjoy 2013 with the avalanche of LHC data soon to be released. 

*) As correctly pointed out by a commenter, this year we'll have proton-on-shit rather than shit-on-shit collisions. Apologies for the inaccuracy.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please, please be thereat Hess-II, Fermi Line! We're counting on you!

Mitchell said...

Perhaps the ancient prophecy referred to the end of manifest locality and unitarity in quantum field theory; the latest twistor paper from Arkani-Hamed et al was uploaded (by Jacob Bourjaily?) on the date of the Mayan apocalypse.

Anonymous said...

Here's some orthogonal and better-informed predictions: LUX will publish relevant results well before summer, Hess-II won't see a thing at 130 GeV, and AMS-II will provide a surprise this first quarter -but not what you think-. Remember these.

Anonymous said...

"shit-on-shit collisions"

If your shit consists of pure lead, which emerges from your orifice at close to the speed of light, then you really need to consult a doctor.

Ervin Goldfain said...

Jester,

I think that your pessimistic mood is premature. Look up Matt Strassler's talk on BSM physics, it makes a lot of sense to me:

http://higgs.ph.ed.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Strassler_Looking%20Beyond%20SM.pdf

Robert L. Oldershaw said...


Mitchell: "Perhaps the ancient prophecy referred to the end of manifest locality and unitarity in quantum field theory; the latest twistor paper from Arkani-Hamed et al was uploaded (by Jacob Bourjaily?) on the date of the Mayan apocalypse."
----------------------------

Yes, but so was Don Page's horrendous "A Theological Argument For An Everett Multiverse"

http://arxiv.org/abs/1212.5608

I'm thinking: "End of Theoretical Physics?"

Anonymous said...

Jester, happy New Year and everything! Please keep us posted on the news and latest. BTW I noticed you haven't yet commented on rumors of double charged Higgs (unlike Vixra). Any reasons for this?

Jester said...

Because the analysis that found the excesss is completely unreliable at this point(sculpted cuts).

Anonymous said...

The jester should at least get his facts straight. That would be a brief period of proton-on-shit collisions. Maybe the jester will actually end up eating some of that shit if interesting physics comes out of it. Oh, sorry, I forgot. Anything involving the strong interaction isn't interesting, thus it must be shit. I'm going to put a little smiley face on my post. That will make it satirical and funny :)

Anonymous said...

The "shit on shit collisions" (or proton on shit collisions) made me LOL :-D

I interpretted this as a harmless joke or funny comment, without any bad intention.

Of course are these experiments very interesting too and I thought quite interesting results did already come out of the "shit on shit" :-)

Cheers Dilaton

Doddy said...

What will Planck tell us that the WMAP9 results combined with SPT and ACT didn't already tell us over Christmas? Planck will not go to any higher multipoles in the CMB damping tail, but it wil give us all sky coverage. It will also squeeze a few error bars at intermediate multipoles. At low multipoles we might get rid of some of the WMAP anomalies before the first peak.

Optimistically, as Planck is all-sky it may sure up the differences between SPT and ACT on number of effective neutrino species and scalar spectral index, for example. What is the true value? Are the differences expected variance over the sky (ACT and SPT cover different small patches). Will the detection of massive neutrinos hold up? Let's hope for N_eff>3, detection of neutrino mass, and detection of small spectral index. Running? No idea.

Does anyone know if we can expect Planck to give the peak in the lensing spectrum? That would certainly tell us a lot about neutrinos and non-CDM dark matter...