13
Dec 2011

Super Earths, Higgs and Black holes

POSTED BY: DIMITRA ATRI
 

3. What’s with Super Earths?
The ever increasing number of exoplanets is putting the models of planet formation to test. A new class of planets, named “super-Earths” have emerged. These planets, about a third of the observed ones, have sizes between the Earth and Neptune.
Here is the story.
2. Higgs?
I spent the whole of Tuesday, attending talks and discussing physics with colleagues here and at CERN. It was a special occasion since we had a great discussion on the present “state of the universe” with four of the most distinguished physicists of our times, Kip Thorne, Jim Peebles, Rick Bond and John Ellis. The Universe always surprises us and I feel proud as a human being that we have accomplished so much.
icts
After the lectures and discussion we headed to attend the webcast of the “Higgs presentation”. Despite the hype about the “Higgs presentation” at CERN yesterday, nothing significant was reported as I had anticipated. There is a small “bump” in data which got people (read the media) excited but it is statistically insignificant to take be taken seriously. Historically we have seen many such cases where people got excited and later nothing was found. Whether they find higgs or not, they are providing excellent data to us cosmic ray physicists. In my opinion, more exciting than higgs discovery will be not finding higgs at all, but finding something unexpected. At the end, Rolf Heuer (Director, CERN) announced that these are only preliminary results and the search goes on.

3. Early black holes
It was a puzzle up till now that how supermassive blackholes become…well, supermassive! A new data visualization technique called GigaPan Time Machine was used to crack the puzzle which enables one to interactively explore the simulation results.
Here is the link: http://timemachine.gigapan.org/wiki/Main_Page
I definitely need that one…

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