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High Five: Success for the calculation of five-particle scattering processes

Believe it or not, theoretical particle physicists are driven by the search for simplicity. A striking simple result is what the researchers of Scattering Amplitudes found some time ago: they succeeded in compressing complex mathematical calculations in such a way that the results can be expressed in a single line. The approach will be applied in the next generation of experiments at CERN from 2021 onwards.

What is the background of the new formula? In order to be able to understand this, it is important to consider what particle physicists set out to do.

“We research predictions about probabilities that certain events will occur when particles collide with each other”, says Dr. Gudrun Heinrich from the Max Planck Institute for Physics and co-author of the recent publication in which the research result was published.

The particle collisions take place in particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. With the help of these experiments, physicists hope to learn which forces hold our world together at its core. In this case, the scientists investigated what happens when two particles enter the collision process and three particles come out. It sounds much simpler than it is. However, what happens in the middle of the collision process requires incredibly complex calculations. “Particle interactions are visualized by Feynman diagrams. The more precisely we calculate, the more complex they become – until even high-performance computers are pushed to the limits”, says Prof. Dr. Johannes Henn.

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Feynman diagrams visualize particle interactions. This is an artistic interpretation of the diagrams by João Yates.
April 16, 2020