61,709 research outputs found

    How a Non-hierarchical Neutrino Mass Matrix Can Arise

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    One puzzle of neutrino masses and mixings is that they do not exhibit the kind of strong "hierarchy" that is found for the quarks and charged leptons. Neutrino mass ratios and mixing angles are not small. A possible reason for this is proposed here. It is based on the fact that typical realistic grand unified models contain particles with unification-scale masses which, when integrated out, can yield a neutrino mass matrix that is not of the standard seesaw form.Comment: 12 pages, 5 figures, LaTe

    Finding Higgs bosons heavier than 2 m_W in dileptonic W-boson decays

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    We reconsider observables for discovering a heavy Higgs boson (with m_h > 2m_W) via its di-leptonic decays h -> WW -> l nu l nu. We show that observables generalizing the transverse mass that take into account the fact that both of the intermediate W bosons are likely to be on-shell give a significant improvement over the variables used in existing searches. We also comment on the application of these observables to other decays which proceed via narrow-width intermediates.Comment: v1:4 pages, 1 figure; v2: 6 pages, 2 figures, substantially revise

    A superweak solution of the Strong CP Problem

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    A non-axion solution to the Strong CP Problem is proposed that works even in the context of gravity-mediated supersymmetry breaking. Both ϵ/ϵ\epsilon'/\epsilon and indirect CP violation in the BBˉB-\bar{B} are predicted to be unobservably small. μeγ\mu \longrightarrow e \gamma is predicted to arise, typically, with branching ration 3×10123 \times 10^{-12}. A new source of dark matter is also predicted in the model.Comment: LaTex 12 page

    Using Video Games to Develop Communication Skills in Higher Education

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    Employers are increasingly concerned that university graduates possess the transferable skills – sometimes termed ‘graduate attributes’ (Barrie, 2006) – necessary to succeed in the workplace. Prominent among these skills are those which relate to communication; however, not all higher education courses are designed explicitly to teach or develop such skills. Many commercial video games, on the other hand, require players to communicate in order to succeed, particularly in an era of increasingly ubiquitous online multiplayer games. The pilot project described here sought to explore the use of commercial video games to teach communication skills in a formal higher education environment. The work could inform the development of self-directed game-based activities that students may undertake without intervention from already over-committed (and costly) academic staff. As such, the study aimed to begin to address the problem of how desirable ‘soft skills’ such as communication competence may be developed in higher education. The pilot was conducted over eight weeks, with a small group of undergraduate student volunteers asked to complete psychometric tests relating to communication skill in weeks one and eight. In the intervening period, students were asked to play selected commercial video games, for two hours per week. Each week, students were given loosely-defined tasks to carry out using the specified game. Games that rely upon some form of communication were selected with input from a panel of academic and industry experts and included Minecraft, Gone Home, Portal 2 and Never Alone. In Minecraft, for example, pairs of participants were asked to perform a number of loosely-defined collaborative tasks, such as building a home for both players. Portal 2, on the other hand, required participants to work together in order to solve a series of puzzles. All such in-game activities were thought to require some form of communication. Lab activities closed with a short group discussion, and participants were encouraged to blog about their experiences. It is possible that group discussions also had an effect on participants’ communication competence, and such discussions may form part of any future interventions. Few participants opted to blog about the project, so the impact of this activity on the communication skill measured here is considered to be slight. The Self-Perceived Communication Competence Scale (McCroskey & McCroskey, 1988) and the Communicative Adaptability Scale (Duran, 1992) were used to measure self-reported communication skill before and after volunteers had played the selected games. In addition, the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1979), General Self-Efficacy Scale (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) and Big Five Inventory (John et al., 2008) were administered to gather data potentially related to communication skill. For each measure, the change in the associated test score was recorded, for each participant, over the course of the eight-week study. Mean values of both communication measures were observed to increase between testing sessions. 95% confidence intervals for change in mean communication scores did not cross zero, suggesting this was not a chance occurrence. While the lack of a control group means it is difficult to prove that the games played were the cause of gains in communication skill, this finding is consistent with such a hypothesis, and motivates a further, hypothesis-testing, controlled study. In addition to the calculated confidence intervals, the correlation coefficients between each measure were calculated using Pearson's r. Correlation between the two communication measures was moderately strong (r = 0.76), which, as they are intended to measure aspects of the same attribute, indicates good validity. The pilot proved instructive and highlighted a number of challenges and concerns that must be addressed in any subsequent study. In the absence of a control group, it is unclear how much of the effect is a result of the intervention. However, the pilot did provide some indication of the measures that should be employed in a subsequent study. A more robust approach to student recruitment must be taken if any study that builds on this work is to attract and maintain a large cohort of volunteers, and meaningful statistical analyses are to be performed on the data. Logistical concerns must also be addressed: a greater number of participants would place greater demands on limited hardware and software available for gaming sessions. Technical issues encountered during the pilot were infrequent and relatively slight. Researchers were familiar with the chosen platforms (PC and PlayStation 3) and most of the games. Where there were unknown factors, such as the restrictions imposed by the university’s IT infrastructure, extensive testing of configurations was undertaken in advance. Other issues related primarily to participants’ attitudes towards the selected games. For example, a small proportion of our volunteers were somewhat dismissive of Gone Home, as the experience did not align with their own personal definition of what constitutes a video game. While these players rushed to complete the game without pause for reflection, the majority of players did, however, appear to become engrossed in the game’s elusive narrative. This situation is illustrative of one of the problems that can arise when using a prescribed game within a formal learning environment: not every game is to every player’s taste. Squire, for example, has documented similar problems (2011, p.117), where some proportion of the class in question isn’t interested in playing video games, or fails to see the educational value in doing so. The limited data described here, however, do appear to warrant further investigation. These data, coupled with informal feedback from student participants, suggest that commercial video games may have a role to play in developing communication skills in our graduates. Based on a small sample size, the pilot’s highly promising results have motivated a further, hypothesis-testing, controlled study which is currently underway

    Management of interstate rail rollingstock

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    The Study Group was asked to develop a methodology to allow more efficient and effective direction of empty wagon movements. The Study Group chose to develop two linear programming approaches. One was for allocating empty wagons, and the other modelled both empty and full wagons. Although large in size, the models were otherwise feasible, showing that, conceptually, the method would work. However, there is still a major amount of development work required to implement the system

    Learning through collaboration: video game wikis

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    The wiki, wherein community-spirited players meticulously document their gaming experiences for the benefit of others, from simple guides to complex theories and strategies, has become the de facto online reference medium for video game players. This study sought to examine how players learn from one another about the systems that underpin their favourite games and how they engaged with social media – wikis, in particular – to facilitate this collaborative learning. It is argued that in collating, synthesizing and disseminating the often complex behaviours observed in a modern video game, the wiki author is displaying academic proficiency in a non-academic field. Drawing on a series of interviews with gaming wiki contributors and users, the practices of those engaged in using gaming wikis are discussed, together with an account of the research methods used. In undertaking such research, a number of challenges and concerns were encountered: these, too, are described

    Games for Communication Final Report. Working Papers of the Communities & Culture Network+ No. 6

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    Explaining Why the u and d Quark Masses are Similar

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    An approach is suggested for modeling quark and lepton masses and mixing in the context of grand unified theories that explains the curious fact that m_u ~ m_d even though m_t >> m_b. The structure of the quark mass matrices is such as to allow a non-Peccei-Quinn solution of the Strong CP Problem.Comment: 11 pages, ReVTeX

    Providing technical support during research projects

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