ITER Prepares Thermal Shield: The Ultimate Heat Barrier

In ITER's French Assembly Hall environment, a strange component shines like a freshly polished mirror. Lying horizontal, it looks like a giant's tiara; when upended to the vertical position and paired to its missing half, it will fit between the vacuum vessel and magnetic system of the machine and act as a barrier against the transfer of heat to the ultracold superconducting coils.

#BlackinPhysics Week Builds Community, Increases Visibility

Walking to his lab one afternoon last year, physicist Charles Brown found his way blocked by a white student who refused to let him into the physics building and demanded to see his ID. A postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, studying ultracold atoms, Brown says the incident reflects the barriers—both visible and invisible—faced by Black physicists like himself around the world. #BlackInPhysics week, a Twitter®-based series began Sunday, October 25, and is now running through Saturday, October 31.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Contribute to New Exploration of Higgs Boson Interactions

Since the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 based on data from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, scientists have been gathering new data on the Higgs particle and its associated Higgs field to understand how—and whether—it interacts with specific types of other particles. Released in early October, a new analysis, featuring contributions by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and its Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, supports the hypothesis that the Higgs boson interacts with muons.

Quirky Response to Magnetism Presents Quantum Physics Mystery

The search is on to discover new states of matter, and possibly new ways of encoding, manipulating and transporting information. One goal is to harness materials’ quantum properties for communications that go beyond what’s possible with conventional electronics. Topological insulators—materials that act mostly as insulators but carry electric current across their surface—provide some tantalizing possibilities. In late September, researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory discovered a "quirky" response during the search.