Saturday, December 11, 2010

When Muons Collide

By Leah Hesla
Illustration: Sandbox Studio

When Fermilab physicist Steve Geer agreed to perform a calculation as part of a muon collider task force 10 years ago, he imagined he would show that the collider’s technical challenges were too difficult to be solved and move on to other matters. But as he delved further into the problem, he realized that the obstacles he had envisioned could in principle be overcome.

“I started as a skeptic,” he says. “But the more I studied it, I realized it might be a solvable problem.”

A muon collider—a machine that currently exists only in computer simulation—is a relative newcomer to the world of particle accelerators. At the moment, the reception from the particle physics community to this first-of-its-kind particle smasher is “polite,” says Fermilab physicist Alan Bross.

Politeness will suffice for now: research and development on the machine are gearing up thanks to funding from the US Department of Energy. In August, a DOE review panel supported the launch of the Muon Accelerator Program, or MAP, an international initiative led by Fermilab. Scientists hope the program will receive about $15 million per year over seven years to examine the collider’s feasibility and cost effectiveness. See more on Caption of Blog Post

shows arrival directions of cosmic rays with energies above 4 x 1019eV. Red squares and green circles represent cosmic rays with energies of > 1020eV , and (4 - 10) x 1019eV , respectively.
We observed muon components in the detected air showers and studied their characteristics. Generally speaking, more muons in a shower cascade favors heavier primary hadrons and measurement of muons is one of the methods used to infer the chemical composition of the energetic cosmic rays. Our recent measurement indicates no systematic change in the mass composition from a predominantly heavy to a light composition above 3 x 1017eV claimed by the Fly's Eye group.

Also see:



  1. What is a Dialogos? What is an Eide? I swear I spent half an hour on the internet trying to find the meaning of those words, and failed. Methinks that it's in such an esoterically ancient Greek dialect that only one such as you who is so enamored with the Classics, would know.

    Anyway, the best location for a muon-muon collider would be on the moon. If built in Chicago, the people in an Indiana town might come down with cancer.

    I read that somewhere. I'm not saying it's true.

    But we still need a lunar base, regardless.

  2. Hi Steven,

    Eide was taken from literature I was reading, and to me it was more representative of "the idea" yet the latin version shows it to mean "to the same". The Etymology of eides shows it to be as"form, likeness, appearance, resemblence; a view; form" so that is part of it.

    To me it was a discussion about and in the context of. The Latin for Dialogos is,"dialogues as well" it's etymology as, "to collect, to speak" so more or less each blog entry representative of dialogues the same or to speak about in same form or resemblance?

    What I tried to show was that if you had Gran Sasso, how could that article be true as to the "planning stage" when an offshoot of LHC is muons created and shot "beyond the wall." They are using the muons to traverse through the earth to measure "the time dilation" as an experimental process and off shoot of LHC?

    It's already happening, or, has not been commissioned yet?

    I might be mixed up here.

    As to Moon Base, you might want to see my claim:) See:Plato's Nightlight Mining Company is claiming Aristarchus Crater and Surrounding Region


  3. Cosmic rays come from the neighborhood of the Earth and also far galaxies. Galactic and extra galactic cosmic rays are considered to be accelerated at dynamical astronomical objects, such as supernova remnants, neutron stars,and active galactic nuclei. After far-reaching long traveling, they plunge into the atmosphere and bring about nuclear interactions with nuclei of oxygen and nitrogen in the air. The extraterrestrial cosmic rays which come from outside the earth are conventionally called primary cosmic rays, and newly produced particles via the nuclear interactions are called secondary cosmic rays. The main components of the secondary cosmic rays are muon, neutrino, electron, gamma ray, and neutron. While electrons and gamma rays are absorbed into the air, muons and neutrinos can be observed even under the ground. See:Cosmic Rays Collisions and Strangelets Produced?

    It is important to understand what is occurring all around us naturally, so as to understand what effects from our experimentation allow us to go one step further in our examinations.

    Talking on "two levels" means that we understand the context of what is occurring in nature, and what we are producing in the "image of nature." Simulating it.


  4. Calorimeters can stop most known particles except muons and neutrinos. How a Detector Works

    For Muon-

    "Beyond the Wall"-Particle identification detectors

    Punch in Tscan in my search function for examination of Cerenkov.

  5. Let me guess.

    December is Muon month, right?


  6. That Antarctic muons post looks interesting. I look forward to reading it after work today.

  7. Steve:December is Muon month, right?

    Ha! Ha! Looks like it:)