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Wits physicists help Collider quest for new particle

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Local scientists are exploring the possible discovery of a new particle with the help of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland.

New results from the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN) have scientists exploring the possibilities of yet another new particle.

The tantalizing hints of a new particle beyond the known Standard Model of Particle Physics were reported independently by the ATLAS and CMS experiments and announced on Tuesday, 15 December 2015.

Wits University researchers are deeply involved at CERN and also contributed to the discovery of the Higgs boson three years ago.

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The discovery of the Higgs boson, an elusive particle that is responsible for the generation of mass of known elementary particles, was announced on 4 July 2012 – almost five decades after it was postulated.

“With the discovery of the Higgs boson a new window of opportunity has opened to discover new particles and interactions in nature. These may help us understand many unresolved mysteries, such as where most of the matter in the Universe comes from, among others,” says Professor Bruce Mellado from the Wits School of Physics.

Now, following a two-year shutdown for re-commissioning, the Large Hadron Collider restarted earlier this year.  It also provides an insight of what happened right after the Big Bang via the study of collisions of heavy ions at high energies.

In June 2015 it has resumed in providing proton-proton collisions for physics data at a record energy of 13 TeV (1012 eV). The Higgs boson was discovered with data collected at 7 TeV and 8 TeV.

Then on 25 November 2015, the first heavy ion collisions at a record energy of more than 1 PeV (1015 eV) were provided.

The results following the data analysis by the ATLAS and CMS experiments bears witness of the excellent readiness of the experiments to collect, distribute and analyze vast amounts of data in a short period of time.

“Getting these exciting results from LHC Run two depended on understanding the early measurements at this new center-of-mass energy, where the Wits group played a significant role,” says Dr Deepak Kar of the Wits School of Physics.

“The amount of data delivered in 2015 is a glimpse of what will be delivered next year. New data is expected to be delivered starting at the end of April 2016, leading to a data sample significantly bigger than obtained in 2015. This data set will give an invaluable insight on whether we will have new discoveries or not,” says Mellado.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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