Thomas Gehrmann recalls Many mathematical words that came out of his computer one day 20 years ago.
He was trying to calculate the probability of three jets of tiny particles coming out of tiny particles. It was the kind of scientists who calculated bread and butter often to see if their ideas were consistent with the test results. Sharp predictions require a long calculation, though, and Gehrmann it was going big.
Using a well-known technique that Richard Feynman developed more than 70 years ago, he painted hundreds of ways in which small particles could be transformed and connected before shooting three jets. Combining the individual capabilities of the event would provide a full potential for three jet effects.
But Gehrmann needs software to just read 35,000 words in its own way. What about computers? That’s when “you raise the flag of victory and talk to your friends,” he said.
Luckily for him, one of the co-workers found out about an unpublished version that shortened the genre. Using this new method, Gehrmann saw words mingled together and dissolved by thousands. In the remaining 19 words, he saw the future of particle physics.
Today the reduction method, known as the Laporta algorithm, has become a major tool for making accurate predictions on the movement of particles. “It’s everywhere,” he said Matt von Hippel, an astronomer at the University of Copenhagen.
Although the process has spread around the world, its founder, Stefano Laporta, is still unknown. He does not attend meetings regularly and does not command a team of research experts. “Most people just think he’s dead,” said von Hippel. Instead, Laporta is living in Bologna, Italy, ignoring a number of his concerns, which led to his pioneering career: a more precise proportion of how electrons pass through magnetic fields.
One, Two, Many
The problem with predicting the subabatomic world is that many things can happen. Even well-meaning electrons can be released instantly and then photograph. And that photon is capable of producing tiny particles over time. All of these busy schedules are a bit confusing.
Mu Feynman’s reading scheme, the tiny particles that appear before and after the connection form lines of entry and exit from the drawing, while what appears briefly and then ends forming loops in the center. Feynman explored how to translate these images into mathematics, while loops become a summary function called Feynman integrals. Most cases are those with few loops. But astronomers should consider the innumerable, innumerable possibilities for creating real-life predictive models that can be tested in experimentation; that’s when they can see the unmistakable signs of the little things that we may be missing from their reading. And with more loops they come in more and more.