The Great ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider


From a cavern 100 metres below a small Swiss village, the 7000-tonne ATLAS detector is probing for fundamental particles

ATLAS(link is external) is one of two general-purpose detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It investigates a wide range of physics, from the search for the Higgs boson to extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter. Although it has the same scientific goals as the CMS experiment, it uses different technical solutions and a different magnet system design.

Beams of particles from the LHC collide at the center of the ATLAS detector making collision debris in the form of new particles, which fly out from the collision point in all directions. Six different detecting subsystems arranged in layers around the collision point record the paths, momentum, and energy of the particles, allowing them to be individually identified. A huge magnet system bends the paths of charged particles so that their momenta can be measured.

The interactions in the ATLAS detectors create an enormous flow of data. To digest the data, ATLAS uses an advanced “trigger” system to tell the detector which events to record and which to ignore. Complex data acquisition and computing systems are then used to analyze the collision events recorded. At 46 m long, 25 m high and 25 m wide, the 7000-tonne ATLAS detector is the largest volume particle detector ever constructed. It sits in a cavern 100 m below ground near the main CERN site, close to the village of Meyrin in Switzerland.

More than 3000 scientists from 174 institutes in 38 countries work on the ATLAS experiment (February 2012).



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Take a virtual tour of ATLAS

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Updates related to ATLAS

Philosophers of Knowledge, Your Time Has Come

Philosophers of knowledge, your time has come

Philosophers may be reluctant to enter the public square

Millennium Images

A COMMON refrain heard around New Scientist‘s offices in recent weeks has been “episte… what?!” Even among educated and well-informed people, epistemology – the study of knowledge – is neither a familiar word nor a well-known field of inquiry. But it has never been more important.

Much has been written about the post-truth world in which facts have ceased to exist, or at least to matter. All kinds of forces have been blamed, but one that goes unremarked is that sorting truth from falsehoods is actually very difficult. In an increasingly complex world, it is largely an exercise in taking somebody else’s word for it (see “Knowledge: What separates fact from belief“).

One obvious example is climate change. The majority of climate scientists say that the world is warming and that human activity is to blame. How do they know? Should we agree with them?

One person might say that we should: the scientific method is a reliable guide to reality, and climate scientists are trustworthy. But another might argue that science sometimes gets things wrong, pointing to occasions in the past when scientists have fallen prey to groupthink or have been caught hiding data. The line of argument that seems most plausible to someone depends more on their cultural and political affiliation than on knowledge. Rigorous epistemological analysis tends not to come into it.

And herein lies a problem. In the current crisis over truth, epistemology is nowhere to be seen. Instead, we rely on intuition and common sense – what might be called “folk epistemology”. The argument thus resembles a debate about medical ethics to which nobody remembered to invite a bioethicist.

Philosophers may be reluctant to enter the public square, afraid of being derided by the post-truthers as yet more “fake news” or tarred with that pejorative term “expert”. But epistemology has become one the most relevant and urgent philosophical problems facing humanity. Philosophers really need to come out – or be coaxed out – of the shadows.

Excerpted from:


“Spiritual Intimacy” by Robert McEwen, H.W., M.

1) Meditate together daily – even if for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and connect with your Higher Power, giving sincere thanks for each other and for being alive
2) Gaze softly into each other’s eyes and witness the Divine in each other
3) Each take a turn asking “How can I bring joy to your life today?” and answer
4) Each commit to offering constructive support daily, on all levels
5)  Each Commit to Inspire the other daily.
Here’s what happens with the groundwork on an energetic level:
1) When meditating, both Souls flow into the same vibration, creating a symbiosis. While giving thanks, both begin eliciting a gratitude vibration back and forth.
2) When gazing into each other’s eyes, the acknowledgment of Divine love is reflected. This creates a profound awareness of the gravity of sanctity of the couples’s love.
3) By asking how one can bring joy, this immediately awakens the desire in the other to also want to bring joy — a reciprocity is created, which then reverberates
4) When each person is supportive, both become buffers, softening each other’s path and creating stress relief.
5) By inspiring one another, a reciprocal kind of bliss is created, which manifests in the form of a circular, swirling, reverberating endless vortex of love and well-being, moving higher and higher, emanating from within and outward into the Universe. Both are being continually empowered to achieve grand success, as their energies are strengthened by being intertwined.
This art of sharing and allowing is a beautiful practice, but not easy for humans because it requires having to unlearn much of our societal conditioning.  Once acquired as a way of being, like a preferred taste this sharing will grow over time, blossoming into a recognized joy of Oneness with all beings, as well as with each other.

The Evolutionary Tarot Deck is now in print (from Richard Hartnett, H.W., M.)

Announcing the debut of the New Evolutionary Tarot deck created by Richard Hartnett, H.W.,M.  An expanded Tarot deck influenced to a significant degree by Ontology and the teachings of Thane.  The Deck may be purchased directly from Richard for $39.95 plus $4 for shipping anywhere in the U.S.  This deck may be used either with our without the additional cards. There is a simple explanation for each of the new cards included in the deck.  Interpretations and Illustrations  of all the cards is available on his web

Payment may be made by paying to his pay pal account:,  Checks sent directly to his address:

9005 Cody Court
Westminster, Co 80021

Or contacting him via phone  (303) 437-3218 to arrange for credit card payment.


Nima Arkani-Hamed on Y-figures (from Ben Gilberti, H.W., M.)

Nima Arkani-Hamed did a lecture at Cornell University where he talks about Y-figures in particle physics during a portion of this talk starting at 41:30 minutes. But I’d recommend watching from the beginning. This talk is basically about all current physics, now called the Standard Model, the best model we have at the moment. It’s the model used at the Large Hadron Collider

So this lecture is a pretty fundamental look at where particle physics is at the present time. And also, Nima Arkani-Hamed is a bright young physicist who is considered by many to be the most brilliant in the field. I always find it a delight to watch his lectures, and most of them have much better sound quality than this one.

Also, the originator of Y-figures in physics was a guy named Richard Feynman, who so impressed his colleagues that they called them The Feynman Diagrams.

–Ben Gilberti, H.W., M.

How Feynman Diagrams Almost Saved Space

Richard Feynman’s famous diagrams embody a deep shift in thinking about how the universe is put together.

James O’Brien for Quanta Magazine

By Frank Wilczek
July 5, 2016

Richard Feynman looked tired when he wandered into my office. It was the end of a long, exhausting day in Santa Barbara, sometime around 1982. Events had included a seminar that was also a performance, lunchtime grilling by eager postdocs, and lively discussions with senior researchers. The life of a celebrated physicist is always intense. But our visitor still wanted to talk physics. We had a couple of hours to fill before dinner.

I described to Feynman what I thought were exciting if speculative new ideas such as fractional spin and anyons. Feynman was unimpressed, saying: “Wilczek, you should work on something real.” (Anyons are real, but that’s a topic for another post.)

Looking to break the awkward silence that followed, I asked Feynman the most disturbing question in physics, then as now: “There’s something else I’ve been thinking a lot about: Why doesn’t empty space weigh anything?”

Feynman, normally as quick and lively as they come, went silent. It was the only time I’ve ever seen him look wistful. Finally he said dreamily, “I once thought I had that one figured out. It was beautiful.” And then, excited, he began an explanation that crescendoed in a near shout: “The reason space doesn’t weigh anything, I thought, is because there’s nothing there!”

To appreciate that surreal monologue, you need to know some backstory. It involves the distinction between vacuum and void.

Vacuum, in modern usage, is what you get when you remove everything that you can, whether practically or in principle. We say a region of space “realizes vacuum” if it is free of all the different kinds of particles and radiation we know about (including, for this purpose, dark matter — which we know about in a general way, though not in detail). Alternatively, vacuum is the state of minimum energy.

Intergalactic space is a good approximation to a vacuum.

Void, on the other hand, is a theoretical idealization. It means nothingness: space without independent properties, whose only role, we might say, is to keep everything from happening in the same place. Void gives particles addresses, nothing more.

Aristotle famously claimed that “Nature abhors a vacuum,” but I’m pretty sure a more correct translation would be “Nature abhors a void.” Isaac Newton appeared to agree when he wrote:

… that one Body may act upon another at a Distance thro’ a Vacuum, without the Mediation of any thing else, by and through which their Action and Force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an Absurdity, that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it.

But in Newton’s masterpiece, the Principia, the players are bodies that exert forces on one another. Space, the stage, is an empty receptacle. It has no life of its own. In Newtonian physics, vacuum is a void.

That Newtonian framework worked brilliantly for nearly two centuries, as Newton’s equations for gravity went from triumph to triumph, and (at first) the analogous ones for electric and magnetic forces seemed to do so as well. But in the 19th century, as people investigated the phenomena of electricity and magnetism more closely, Newton-style equations proved inadequate. In James Clerk Maxwell’s equations, the fruit of that work, electromagnetic fields — not separated bodies — are the primary objects of reality.

Quantum theory amplified Maxwell’s revolution. According to quantum theory, particles are merely bubbles of froth, kicked up by underlying fields. Photons, for example, are disturbances in electromagnetic fields.

As a young scientist, Feynman found that view too artificial. He wanted to bring back Newton’s approach and work directly with the particles we actually perceive. In doing so, he hoped to challenge hidden assumptions and reach a simpler description of nature — and to avoid a big problem that the switch to quantum fields had created.


In quantum theory, fields have a lot of spontaneous activity. They fluctuate in intensity and direction. And while the average value of the electric field in a vacuum is zero, the average value of its square is not zero. That’s significant because the energy density in an electric field is proportional to the field’s square. The energy density value, in fact, is infinite.

The spontaneous activity of quantum fields goes by several different names: quantum fluctuations, virtual particles, or zero-point motion. There are subtle differences in the connotations of these expressions, but they all refer to the same phenomenon. Whatever you call it, the activity involves energy. Lots of energy — in fact, an infinite amount.

For most purposes we can leave that disturbing infinity out of consideration. Only changes in energy are observable. And because zero-point motion is an intrinsic characteristic of quantum fields, changes in energy, in response to external events, are generally finite. We can calculate them. They give rise to some very interesting effects, such as the Lamb shift of atomic spectral lines and the Casimir force between neutral conducting plates, which have been observed experimentally. Far from being problematic, those effects are triumphs for quantum field theory.

The exception is gravity. Gravity responds to all kinds of energy, whatever form that energy may take. So the infinite energy density associated with the activity of quantum fields, present even in a vacuum, becomes a big problem when we consider its effect on gravity.

In principle, those quantum fields should make the vacuum heavy. Yet experiments tell us that the gravitational pull of the vacuum is quite small. Until recently — see more on this below — we thought it was zero.

Perhaps Feynman’s conceptual switch from fields to particles would avoid the problem.


Feynman started from scratch, drawing pictures whose stick-figure lines show links of influence between particles. The first published Feynman diagram appeared in Physical Review in 1949:

To understand how one electron influences another, using Feynman diagrams, you have to imagine that the electrons, as they move through space and evolve in time, exchange a photon, here labeled “virtual quantum.” This is the simplest possibility. It is also possible to exchange two or more photons, and Feynman made similar diagrams for that. Those diagrams contribute another piece to the answer, modifying the classical Coulomb force law. By sprouting another squiggle, and letting it extend freely into the future, you represent how an electron radiates a photon. And so, step by step, you can describe complex physical processes, assembled like Tinkertoys from very simple ingredients.

Feynman diagrams look to be pictures of processes that happen in space and time, and in a sense they are, but they should not be interpreted too literally. What they show are not rigid geometric trajectories, but more flexible, “topological” constructions, reflecting quantum uncertainty. In other words, you can be quite sloppy about the shape and configuration of the lines and squiggles, as long as you get the connections right.

Feynman found that he could attach a simple mathematical formula to each diagram. The formula expresses the likelihood of the process the diagram depicts. He found that in simple cases he got the same answers that people had obtained much more laboriously using fields when they let froth interact with froth.

That’s what Feynman meant when he said, “There’s nothing there.” By removing the fields, he’d gotten rid of their contribution to gravity, which had led to absurdities. He thought he’d found a new approach to fundamental interactions that was not only simpler than the conventional one, but also sounder. It was a beautiful new way to think about fundamental processes.


Sadly, first appearances proved deceptive. As he worked things out further, Feynman discovered that his approach had a similar problem to the one it was supposed to solve. You can see this in the pictures below. We can draw Feynman diagrams that are completely self-contained, without particles to initiate the events (or to flow out from them). These so-called disconnected graphs, or vacuum bubbles, are the Feynman diagram analogue of zero-point motion. You can draw diagrams for how virtual quanta affect gravitons, and thereby rediscover the morbid obesity of “empty” space.

More generally, as he worked things out further, Feynman gradually realized — and then proved — that his diagram method is not a true alternative to the field approach, but rather an approximation to it. To Feynman, that came as a bitter disappointment.

Yet Feynman diagrams remain a treasured asset in physics, because they often provide good approximations to reality. Plus, they’re easy (and fun) to work with. They help us bring our powers of visual imagination to bear on worlds we can’t actually see.

The calculations that eventually got me a Nobel Prize in 2004 would have been literally unthinkable without Feynman diagrams, as would my calculations that established a route to production and observation of the Higgs particle.

On that day in Santa Barbara, citing those examples, I told Feynman how important his diagrams had been to me in my work. He seemed pleased, though he could hardly have been surprised at his diagrams’ importance. “Yeah, that’s the good part, seeing people use them, seeing them everywhere,” he replied with a wink.


The Feynman diagram representation of a process is most useful when a few relatively simple diagrams supply most of the answer. That is the regime physicists call “weak coupling,” where each additional complicating line is relatively rare. That is almost always the case for photons in quantum electrodynamics (QED), the application Feynman originally had in mind. QED covers most of atomic physics, chemistry and materials science, so it’s an amazing achievement to capture its essence in a few squiggles.

As an approach to the strong nuclear force, however, this strategy fails. Here the governing theory is quantum chromodynamics (QCD). The QCD analogues of photons are particles called color gluons, and their coupling is not weak. Usually, when we do a calculation in QCD, a host of complicated Feynman diagrams — festooned with many gluon lines — make important contributions to the answer. It’s impractical (and probably impossible) to add them all up.

On the other hand, with modern computers we can go back to the truly fundamental field equations and calculate fluctuations in the quark and gluon fields directly. This approach gives beautiful pictures of another kind:

In recent years this direct approach, carried out on banks of supercomputers, has led to successful calculations of the masses of protons and neutrons. In the coming years it will revolutionize our quantitative understanding of nuclear physics over a broad front.


The puzzle Feynman thought he’d solved is still with us, though it has evolved in many ways.

The biggest change is that people have now measured the density of vacuum more precisely, and discovered that it does not vanish. It is the so-called “dark energy.” (Dark energy is essentially — up to a numerical factor — the same thing Einstein called the “cosmological constant.”) If you average it over the entire universe, you find that dark energy contributes about 70 percent of the total mass in the universe.

That sounds impressive, but for physicists the big puzzle that remains is why its density is as small as it is. For one thing, you’ll remember, it was supposed to be infinite, due to the contribution of fluctuating fields. One bit of possible progress is that now we know a way to escape that infinity. It turns out that for one class of fields — technically, the fields associated with particles called bosons — the energy density is positive infinity, while for another class of fields — those associated with particles called fermions — the energy density is negative infinity. So if the universe contains an artfully balanced mix of bosons and fermions, the infinities can cancel. Supersymmetric theories, which also have several other attractive features, achieve that cancellation.

Another thing we’ve learned is that in addition to fluctuating fields, the vacuum contains non-fluctuating fields, often called “condensates.” One such condensate is the so-called sigma condensate; another is the Higgs condensate. Those two are firmly established; there may be many others yet to be discovered. If you want to think of a familiar analogue, imagine Earth’s magnetic or gravitational field, elevated to cosmic proportions (and freed of Earth). These condensates should also weigh something. Indeed, simple estimates of their density give values far larger than that of the observed dark energy.

We’re left with an estimate of the dark energy that is finite (maybe), but poorly determined theoretically and, on the face of it, much too big. Presumably there are additional cancellations we don’t know about. The most popular idea, at present, is that the smallness of the dark energy is a kind of rare accident, which happens to occur in our particular corner of the multiverse. Though unlikely a priori, it is necessary for our existence, and therefore what we are fated to observe.

That story, I’m afraid, is not nearly so elegant as Feynman’s “There’s nothing there!” Let’s hope we can find a better one.

For anyone interested in learning more about Feynman diagrams and quantum electrodynamics, the author recommends Feynman’s book QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter.

This article was reprinted on

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Mercury Retrograde April 9 (by Jan Spiller)

Use the days until April 9 to initiate important connections you have been meaning to make: contact a person in charge of an area you wish to advance in, initiate a communication with someone who has been on your mind, begin a project you have felt attracted to involve yourself in.
During a Mercury retrograde cycle (they occur about 3 times each year, approximately 3 months apart), things that are begun most often need to be repeated. For example, if you take your car in for work, most likely you will need to go back to your mechanic to re-fix the problem if he does the work under a Mercury retrograde cycle.
So prior to April 9, initiate as much activity as you can make new starts and handle tasks you have been putting off. Then when the Mercury retrograde cycle takes effect, you can take some time off for reevaluating your life, writing in your journal, or reflecting on new directions you want to go between May 4 and August 13, 2017 (the next retrograde cycle). The Mercury retrograde cycle is also good for refining and completing tasks already begun.
In this way, we can use astrological cycles to our benefit.
Advance planning empowers us to use time to our best advantage- going forward when the time for action is ripe, and pulling back and resting when outward action would require needless repeated effort and expenditure of energy.

by Jan Spiller

(Contributed by Robert McEwen, H.W., M.)

Sunday Night Translation Group – April 2, 2017

To quote Heather Williams, H.W., M., “Translation is the creative process of re-engineering the outdated software of your mind.” Translation is a 5-step process using syllogistic reasoning to transform apparent man and the universe back into its essential whole, complete and perfect nature.  Through the process of Translation, reality is uncovered and thus revealed. Through word tracking, getting to the essence of the words we use to express our current view of reality, we are uncovering the underlying timeless reality of the Universe.

Sense testimony:

Our technology (computers) are fragile, can sometimes break, fail, not work properly.


  1. Mind has infinite skills whose effect/affect is indivisible, infracturable, unbreakable, sound, successful, all accounted for, properly working and trustworthy.
  2. High Truth Complete is having Mind skill and knowledge of pure flowing Omnipotent and ever- present energy at work,
  3. Pure Ability is Instantaneous eternal all there is.
  4. To come.

[The Sunday Night Translation Group meets at 7pm Pacific time on Skype.  Translators are welcome to join or start your own group.]

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