Latest press releases

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face

19 July 2017

To some degree of approximation, atomic nuclei look like spheres which in most cases are distorted to a greater or lesser extent. When the nucleus is excited, its shape may change, but only for an extremely brief moment, after which it returns to its original state. A relatively permanent ‘second face’ of atomic nuclei has so far only been observed in the most massive elements. In a spectacular experiment, physicists from Poland, Italy, Japan, Belgium and Romania have for the first time succeeded in registering it in a nucleus recognized as being light.

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Cosmic inflation: Higgs says goodbye to his ‘little brother’

7 June 2017

In the first moments after the Big Bang, the Universe was able to expand even billions of billions of billions of times faster than today. Such rapid expansion should be due to a primordial force field, acting with a new particle: inflaton. From the latest analysis of the decay of mesons, carried out in the LHCb experiment by physicists from Cracow and Zurich, it appears, however, that the most probable light inflaton, a particle with the characteristics of the famous Higgs boson but less massive, almost certainly does not exist.

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‘Fire-streaks’ are created in collisions of atomic nuclei

10 May 2017

At very high energies, the collision of massive atomic nuclei in an accelerator generates hundreds or even thousands of particles that undergo numerous interactions. At the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, Poland it has been shown that the course of this complex process can be represented by a surprisingly simple model: extremely hot matter moves away from the impact point, stretching along the original flight path in streaks, and the further the streak is from the plane of the collision, the greater its velocity.

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The most accurate measurement of rare meson decay confirms modern physics

12 April 2017

All physical theories are to a greater or lesser extent, but always only simplified representations of reality and, as a consequence, have a specified range of applicability. Many scientists working on the LHCb experiment at CERN had hoped that the just achieved, exceptional accuracy in the measurement of the rare decay of the Bs0 meson would at last delineate the limits of the Standard Model, the current theory of the structure of matter, and reveal the first phenomena unknown to modern physics. Meanwhile, the spectacular result of the latest analysis has only served to extend the range of applicability of the Model.

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Phonon nanoengineering: Vibrations of nanoislands dissipate heat more effectively

8 March 2017

Europium silicide has for some time attracted the attention of scientists. Recognized as being promising for electronics and spintronics, this material has recently been submitted by a team of physicists from Poland, Germany and France to comprehensive studies of the vibrations of its crystal lattice. The results yielded a surprise: deposited on a substrate of silicon, some structures of europium silicide appear to vibrate in a way that clearly broadens the possibilities of designing nanomaterials with tailored thermal properties.

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