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Particles and interactions

Particles and interactions

NA62 joins the search for new physics at CERN

03 Jan 2014

In autumn this year a brand new experiment at CERN called NA62 will start taking data and it will have the exciting goal of seeking physics beyond the Standard Model. The physicists working on it are now in the final stages of installing their 270-m-long experiment on the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) – which itself has a circumference of 7 km and feeds protons into the Large Hadron Collider. The NA62 collaboration comprises about 150 physicists at 20 institutes worldwide and its primary aim is to make an extremely precise measurement of the probability that a positively charged kaon will decay to a positively charged pion plus a neutrino/antineutrino pair.

The decay probability might seem an arcane value to measure, but as collaboration member John Fry of the University of Liverpool in the UK explains, the decay itself is “one of the few ways open to us to actually challenge the Standard Model of particle physics”. Unfortunately, measuring the decay is far from easy. “This is a very rare process and the probability that it happens is about 1 in 10 billion,” explains CERN’s Giuseppe Ruggiero, who is physics co-ordinator of the NA62 experiment.

In this short film, Fry, Ruggiero and CERN colleagues Augusto Ceccucci and Ferdinand Hahn explain the objectives of NA62 and talk about the challenges of co-ordinating the design and construction of a large collaborative experiment at CERN.

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