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Sheldon's whiteboard: This one describes the decay of the top quark. As illustrated on the top right, in the standard model of electroweak interactions, the top quark decays essentially 100% of the time to Wb (i.e., the top quark decays to form a W+ boson and a bottom quark, t → W+b). To the contrary, in the standard model (SM), top quark flavor changing neutral current (FCNC) decays (t → Zq and t → γq) into the up or charm (q = u,c) are highly suppressed and featured below near the midpoint of the board; one of the properties of the top quark in the SM is it's extremely small FCNC interactions due to the Glashow-Iliopoulos-Maiani (GIM) mechanism. They do not occur at tree level and are only allowed at the level of quantum loop cor…
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Though Raj expressed the desire to become the Indira Gandhi of particle astrophysics in the first season's The Grasshopper Experiment, his research as of The Griffin Equivalency had been planetary astronomy until The Pirate Solution, when he begins research on dark matter with Sheldon once his prospect for stellar astrophysics fails. Koothrappali expresses heliophysics interest in The Spaghetti Catalyst, and along with his work for Sheldon, he renews his focus on planetary astronomy in The Boyfriend Complexity. His expertise in the latter field is again expanded upon in The Higgs Boson Observation and The Sales Call Sublimation. He references published space physics literature, still within the purview of planetology, in The Hofstadter Ins…Read more >
The whiteboard in Sheldon's office in the beginning of The Good Guy Fluctuation is concerned with CPT symmetry.Read more >
All direct WIMP dark matter detectors aim to observe nuclear recoils produced by WIMP-nucleon scattering. WIMPs interact with all target materials in exactly the same way as neutrons and generally scatter off nuclei rather than electrons due to their relatively large mass. There are a few different methods that can be used to detect nuclear recoils, including collecting ionization, scintillation or thermal energy deposition data. The energy spectra of nuclear recoils for different target materials and WIMP masses can be simulated and calculated, then used to compare with real data from detectors to aid in the identification, or in placing an upper limit on characteristics (usually mass and WIMP-nucleon scattering cross-section) of WIMPs.
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In The Russian Rocket Reaction, Howard becomes a payload specialist for a deep field space telescope destined for the International Space Station, granting him the opportunity to fly aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. This scenario reminds me of the episode "Brutus" in Numb3rs (another CBS show), in which the eccentric and quirky theoretical physicist and cosmologist Larry Fleinhardt was selected as a payload specialist on the ISS since his work on the cosmic microwave background had some relevance to satellite signals technology. Like Howard, Fleinhardt had built a space telescope (unknowingly, as part of the star wars missile defense project) and worked for the Department of Defense (specifically, DARPA) on this classified project. Recall th…Read more >