Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Physics Story of the Year

The Physics Story of the Year from the American Institute of Physics's Physics News Update page. They pick the high precision measruement of the electron magnetic moment (g, for those in the know, with an uncertainty of 0.76 parts per trillion). When combined with a theory calculation involving 891 8-th order Feynman graphs (!!), this leads to a measurement of alpha, the fine structure contant, that has an uncertainty of 0.70 parts per billion.

AIP lists several other top stories. Only one is from High Energy Physics as such - the observation of the Sigma_b baryons - although the g measurement is clearly related, as are some results like matter-antimatter chemistry and particle "lasers". AIP cites the HAPPEx experiment's measuremnt of the vitual s quark content of the proton, which is closely related to work being carried out by the LA Tech nuclear group on a different Jefferson Lab experiment.

My votes for top HEP stories would have to be
1) Evidence for single top production at the Tevatron.
2) Determination of the omega minus spin, 31 years after it's discovery.
3) Sigma_b
4) B_s oscillation measurements.
5) First results from MINOS.
6) Completion of the final LHC dipole magnet.

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