Subatomic Physics

I read through this today and found it interesting.  For more information contact TU Vienna.

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Long-sought-after ‘glueball’: Exotic particle may have been discovered

October 13, 2015
Vienna University of Technology, TU Viennagluon

Nucleons consist (left) of quarks (matter particles) and gluons (force particles). A glueball (right) is made up purely of gluons.
Credit: Image courtesy of Vienna University of Technology, TU Vienna
Scientists have calculated that the meson f0(1710) could be a very special particle: the long-sought-after ‘glueball’, made up entirely of gluons — the “sticky” particles that keep nuclear particles together.

Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) have calculated that the meson f0(1710) could be a very special particle — the long-sought-after ‘glueball’.

For decades, scientists have been looking for so-called “glueballs.” Now it seems they have been found at last. A glueball is an exotic particle, made up entirely of gluons — the “sticky” particles that keep nuclear particles together. Glueballs are unstable and can only be detected indirectly, by analysing their decay. This decay process, however, is not yet fully understood.

Professor Anton Rebhan and Frederic Brünner from TU Wien (Vienna) have now employed a new theoretical approach to calculate glueball decay. Their results agree extremely well with data from particle accelerator experiments. This is strong evidence that a resonance called “f0(1710),” which has been found in various experiments, is in fact the long-sought glueball. Further experimental results are to be expected in the next few months.

Forces are Particles too

Protons and neutrons consist of even smaller elementary particles called quarks. These quarks are bound together by strong nuclear force. “In particle physics, every force is mediated by a special kind of force particle, and the force particle of the strong nuclear force is the gluon,” says Anton Rebhan (TU Wien).

Gluons can be seen as more complicated versions of the photon. The massless photons are responsible for the forces of electromagnetism, while eight different kinds of gluons play a similar role for the strong nuclear force. However, there is one important difference: gluons themselves are subject to their own force, photons are not. This is why there are no bound states of photons, but a particle that consists only of bound gluons, of pure nuclear force, is in fact possible.

In 1972, shortly after the theory of quarks and gluons was formulated, the physicists Murray Gell-Mann and Harald Fritsch speculated about possible bound states of pure gluons (originally called “gluonium,” today the term “glueball” is used). Several particles have been found in particle accelerator experiments which are considered to be viable candidates for glueballs, but there has never been a scientific consensus on whether or not one of these signals could in fact be the mysterious particle made of pure force. Instead of a glueball, the signals found in the experiments could also be a combination of quarks and antiquarks. Glueballs are too short-lived to detect them directly. If they exist, they have to be identified by studying their decay.

Candidate f0(1710) decays strangely

“Unfortunately, the decay pattern of glueballs cannot be calculated rigorously,” says Anton Rebhan. Simplified model calculations have shown that there are two realistic candidates for glueballs: the mesons called f0(1500) and f0(1710). For a long time, the former was considered to be the most promising candidate. The latter has a higher mass, which agrees better with computer simulations, but when it decays, it produces many heavy quarks (the so-called “strange quarks”). To many particle scientists, this seemed implausible, because gluon interactions do not usually differentiate between heavier and lighter quarks. Anton Rebhan and his PhD-student Frederic Brünner have now made a major step forward in solving this puzzle by trying a different approach. There are fundamental connections between quantum theories describing the behaviour of particles in our three dimensional world and certain kinds of gravitation theories in higher dimensional spaces. This means that certain quantum physical questions can be answered using tools from gravitational physics.

“Our calculations show that it is indeed possible for glueballs to decay predominantly into strange quarks,” says Anton Rebhan. Surprisingly, the calculated decay pattern into two lighter particles agrees extremely well with the decay pattern measured for f0(1710). In addition to that, other decays into more than two particles are possible. Their decay rates have been calculated too.

Further Data is Expected Soon

Up until now, these alternative glueball decays have not been measured, but within the next few months, two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (TOTEM and LHCb) and one accelerator experiment in Beijing (BESIII) are expected to yield new data. “These results will be crucial for our theory,” says Anton Rebhan. “For these multi-particle processes, our theory predicts decay rates which are quite different from the predictions of other, simpler models. If the measurements agree with our calculations, this will be a remarkable success for our approach.” It would be overwhelming evidence for f0(1710) being a glueball. And in addition to that, it would once again show that higher dimensional gravity can be used to answer questions from particle physics — in a way it would be one more big success of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which turns 100 years old next month.

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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Vienna University of Technology, TU ViennaNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

California Wildfires

(CNN)California’s largest wildfire is spreading quickly, consuming 47,000 acres in three counties and staying active throughout the night — a time when firefighters typically make progress, a state fire official said Sunday.

The Rocky Fire was only 5% contained Sunday and was feeding on the state’s drought to grow actively, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

“This has been a very fast-moving wildfire with the dry conditions and the weather not really cooperating with us over the past week,” Berlant told CNN affiliate KCRA.

‘A tinderbox’: Firefighter dies as thousands battle California wildfires

The wildfire was burning in Lake, Yolo and Colusa counties northwest of Sacramento. More than 12,100 people in more than 5,100 structures were under some type of evacuation order or advisory as of Sunday afternoon, according to the Cal Fire website.

Almost 2,000 fire personnel, 180 engines, four air tankers and 19 helicopters are battling the Rocky Fire.

China Stock Market Plummets

Full article below

Shanghai index drops 8.5 percent Monday despite drastic measures by Beijing to prop up stock prices

July 27, 2015 7:57AM ET

Chinese shares tumbled more than 8 percent on Monday, the biggest drop since 2007, as an unprecedented government rescue plan to prop up valuations abruptly ran out of steam, casting doubt on Beijing’s ability to stave off a deeper crash.

The fall comes after a period of optimism that led small investors to put money into the market, and many have suffered significant losses. Relatively few foreigners hold Chinese stocks, so the ripple effect has so far only hit the country’s financial hubs of Shanghai and Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 3.1 percent Monday at 24,288.54.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 8.5 percent at 3,725.56, with most of the plunge occurring in the last hour of trading. Other stock benchmarks around the world also were lower. Monday’s fall on the Shanghai market was the biggest one-day decline in Chinese stocks since an 8.8 percent plunge on Feb. 27, 2007, according to financial data provider FactSet.

The drop comes after three weeks of relative calm in China’s volatile stock markets since Beijing unleashed a barrage of support measures to stop a slump that had started in mid-June.

“The lesson from China’s last equity bubble is that, once sentiment has soured, policy interventions aimed at shoring up prices have only a short-lived effect,” wrote Capital Economics analysts in a research note reacting to the slide. The last bubble hit its high in October 2007, Bloomberg reports.

Some analysts said the dive was sparked by brokerages restricting credit used to finance stock purchases, also known as margin trading. Chinese authorities took aggressive steps to stabilize the market after it tumbled last month, wiping away about $3.2 trillion in market gains. But analysts have been skeptical that such gravity-defying efforts could be sustained.

“The continuous check on margin trading by security companies has triggered today’s sell-off,” said Xu Xiaoyu, a market strategist at China Investment Securities. “In addition, the recent economic data shows it still takes time for the economy to recover from its sluggishness.”

The dramatic 30 percent slide in Chinese shares in June came after a sizzling yearlong rally took the market to multi-year highs even as the world’s second-biggest economy slowed.

The government achieved some stability in the market after it announced drastic support measures earlier this month, including forbidding major shareholders from selling any of their shares, while ordering state companies and others to buy. Many companies also voluntarily suspended trading in their stocks on the Shanghai exchange and its smaller counterpart in Shenzhen.

Yating Xu, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said Beijing will likely feel renewed pressure to take more measures to put a floor under the stock market.

The Shanghai benchmark had risen about 150 percent over the 12 months prior to June 12, according to Bloomberg. The gains were driven by commentary in state media that called the stock market undervalued. That led investors to believe the government would ensure that stock prices would rise.

Al Jazeera and wire services

Hacking Team built drone-based Wi-Fi hacking hardware

Hacking Team built drone-based Wi-Fi hacking hardware

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Leaked e-mails from the Italy-based computer and network surveillance company Hacking Team show that the company developed a piece of rugged hardware intended to attack computers and mobile devices via Wi-Fi. The capability, marketed as part of the company’s Remote Control System Galileo, was shown off to defense companies at the International Defense Exposition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi in February, and it drew attention from a major defense contractor. But like all such collaborations, it may have gotten caught up in the companies’ legal departments.

In an e-mail summarizing a meeting in January, co-founder Marco Valleri outlined the roadmap for a number of Hacking Team’s platforms, including its “Tactical Network Injector” or TNI. This piece of hardware was designed to insert malicious code into Wi-Fi network communications, potentially acting as a malicious access point to launch exploits or man-in-the-middle attacks. The bullet points included the creation of a “mini-TNI” tasked to Hacking Team employee Andrea Di Pasquale:

Transportable by a drone (!)
The mini-TNI, marketed at IDEX as “Galileo,” drew the attention of a representative from Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing that builds small unmanned aircraft systems including the ScanEagle and RQ-21A “Blackjack” UASs used by the US Navy. In early April, Giuseppe Venneri—an Insitu intern and a graduate student at University of California, Irvine—was tasked with contacting Hacking Team’s key account manager Emad Shehata, following up on a meeting at IDEX. “We see potential in integrating your Wi-Fi hacking capability into an airborne system and would be interested in starting a conversation with one of your engineers to go over, in more depth, the payload capabilities including the detailed size, weight, and power specs of your Galileo System,” Venneri wrote.

It’s not clear that the conversation went much further than that. After a series of exchanges, things seemed to grind to a halt over which company’s non-disclosure agreement would be used. Shehata sent a Hacking Team standard NDA; Venneri replied by sending Boeing’s preferred Proprietary Information Agreement (PIA) “that must be signed before we engage with potential partners.”

“Signing our PIA (attached) will dramatically shorten the authorization process at our end,” Venneri wrote. “Let me know if you are willing to sign our document to engage in conversations with us.”

Giancarlo Russo, Hacking Team’s chief operating officer, then jumped into the loop. “I saw your document and it will require additional legal verification from our side regarding the applicability of ITAR and other U.S. Law,” he said. “In my opinion, for a preliminary discussion our non-disclosure agreement should be sufficient to protect both companies and as you will see it is including mutual provision for both parties and it will make things easier and faster for us.”

Apparently, that didn’t fly with Boeing’s lawyers. A month later in May, Venneri wrote back, asking if Hacking Team’s leadership would reconsider. “If you could please reconsider our mutual PIA, know that the questionnaire at the beginning of the document is just for gathering information and has no impact on the PIA itself. We have lots of Non-US companies under our PIA. If you or your legal team have any requested changes to our PIA please don’t hesitate to add them in the attached document.”

The correspondence ends there, but it’s clear that Hacking Team employees had a somewhat skeptical view of Boeing well in advance of this exchange. When Boeing introduced its government-grade secure phone, the Boeing Black, in February of 2014, it set off a chain of derisive e-mail messages at Hacking Team. CEO David Vincenzetti commented, “It is just a shame that Boeing is an US company with extra strong ties with the Pentagon, DoD and, as a consequence, with the NSA itself,” hinting that the phone might not be a great choice for anyone other than US customers.

Massimo Controzzi, a security specialist at Ernst & Young, replied to the thread from his personal e-mail address, joking that the Black “comes with leather first class seats, welcome on board champagne, fantastic flight attendants, and, because Boeing is a first class US DOD security contractor, an obvious NSA backdoor.”