CERN Courier Jan/Feb 2020

NASA astronaut Drew Morgan performing a spacewalk on the ISS
Astronaut Drew Morgan performing maintenance on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in 2019 (Image: NASA)

Welcome to the digital edition of the January/February 2020 issue of CERN Courier.

On the cover of this issue, NASA astronaut Drew Morgan is photographed 400 km above Earth’s surface installing a new coolant system for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) during a crucial spacewalk on 2 December. Masterminded by charm–quark co-discoverer Sam Ting of MIT, and assembled and overseen by an international team at CERN, AMS has been attached to the International Space Station since 2011. Its various subdetectors, which include a silicon tracker embedded in a 0.15 T magnet, have so far clocked up almost 150 billion charged cosmic rays with energies up to the multi-TeV range and produced results that contradict conventional understanding. The new coolant system (which was delivered by an Antares rocket on 2 November) will extend the lifetime of AMS until the end of the decade, allowing more conclusive statements to be made about the origin of the unexpected observations. A full report on the unprecedented AMS intervention – and a taste of the experiment’s latest results – will appear on following the final extravehicular activity by Drew and his colleagues in mid-January.

Meanwhile, in this issue we investigate an intriguing anomaly in nuclear decay rates seen by the “Atomki” experiment, learn about the wider value of anomalies to phenomenologists, talk to theorist John Ellis about the past, present and future of the field, and explore high-level attempts to solve the flavour puzzle. KATRIN’s quest for the neutrino mass, outreach for visually impaired audiences, the latest results from the LHC experiments and careers in visual effects are among other highlights of this first issue of the 2020s.

j CERN Courier Jan/Feb 2020