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"Cascade B" Particle Discovered At Fermilab 140

Posted by kdawson
from the three-three-three-quarks-in-one dept.
pnotequalsnp writes to note that physicists at Fermilab have discovered a new heavy particle called the Cascade B. This is the first particle ever seen that is made up of quarks representing all three quark families. A team of 610 physicists from 88 institutions reported the discovery in a paper submitted to Physical Review Letters last week. This must be the discovery that triggered rumors that the Higgs had been found.
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"Cascade B" Particle Discovered At Fermilab

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  • by asifyoucare (302582) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:39AM (#19546895)
    ought to be enough for anybody.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      ought to be enough for anybody.

      I'm happy with the Physidore 64.
           
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by bdjacobson (1094909)

        ought to be enough for anybody.

        I'm happy with the Physidore 64.

           
        Physicists often have many quarks abouts them.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      The most annoying thing is they won't tell us who the 610 physicists are!

      • by Tablizer (95088)
        The most annoying thing is they won't tell us who the 610 physicists are!

        Well, I'm pretty sure at least one is named "Robert", if that helps.
             
      • The most annoying thing is they won't tell us who the 610 physicists are!
        If they us who they were then half of them would immediately collapse into nothingness in the same way shroedingers cat does.
      • by cspruck (28447) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:50AM (#19550067)

        The most annoying thing is they won't tell us who the 610 physicists are!
        If you had their names, you probably wouldn't be able to plot their current positions.
    • Re:610 physicists (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BigFoot48 (726201) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:03AM (#19547045)
      610 is not a "team", it's a "sign here to get your name on a paper" gaggle.
      • Re:610 physicists (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday June 18, 2007 @06:27AM (#19548613)
        One way to build a solid team is to get complete involvement from the bottom to the top. If, at the end of the day, all the personnel who worked on the project get to put their names on the paper it shows how their work is valued and how much they are 'part of the team'.

        And as for team size being limited - I'll bet that during the better days at NASA, say during the Apollo missions, everyone right down to the janitor felt that they were part of the team - and, if you don't think that janitors are important just wait until the next time the toilet blocks.
        • I'd bet you're wrong... 610 is way too many folks for a "meaningful" team. I agree with the parent, it was a "sign your name here" team. But then again, definitions mean everything and our definitions of a team might be different.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Falstius (963333)
        It should be obvious that any scientist would prefer their name to be the first and only name on some seminal paper. The only reason then to include 609 other people in the list is that you truly value their contribution and you need them to maintain there commitment to the project. You need scientists to do work that doesn't directly provide this kind of high profile paper, if the primary authors didn't acknowledge their contribution the rug would be pulled out from underneath them.

        And yes, it does tak

      • It's very obvious. One or two scientists made the particle but the chief physicist dropped it on the floor shortly afterwards. You know how messy labs get - there was no way they could find it on their own.
    • by Mr_Tulip (639140) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:26AM (#19547177) Homepage
      In 20 years when labsize is measured in Giga-physicists, this quote will come back to haunt you.
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:35AM (#19547221)

      ought to be enough for anybody.
      Most of the paper was the list of authors; there was only room for one sentence about the discovery.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Lije Baley (88936)
      Wow, now if only we can get 610 climatologists to believe in this particle, its existence will be confirmed.
    • So! That's how many physicists it takes to make a "cascade b". I didn't think I was going to ever know the answer to that riddle.
  • interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:42AM (#19546909) Journal
    with a mass of 5.774±0.019 GeV/c2, approximately six times the proton mass. The newly discovered electrically charged b baryon, also known as the "cascade b," is made of a down, a strange and a bottom quark. It is the first observed baryon formed of quarks from all three families of matter. judging by its componants, it should have a (-1/3*3=-1) charge of -1. strange quark: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_quark [wikipedia.org] Bottom quark: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottom_quark [wikipedia.org] Down quark: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_quark [wikipedia.org]
    • I read the article, and got the gist of what they have found, but what does it mean? Why is is important? Is there any practical upshot of the discovery?

      • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:54AM (#19546989) Homepage Journal
        Confirms the Standard Model.. again.

        Takes us one more step closer to a Grand Unified Theory.

        And no, there's no practical upshot.. it's pure research.
        • by rumith (983060) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:16AM (#19547109)
          "Research is the transformation of money to knowledge. Innovation is the transformation of knowledge to money."
          Dr. Hans Meixner.
          • There should be some sort of ultra long term intellectual property device that allows for the innovation to pay for the research. E.g. imagine if Intel and co ended up licensing the patents or whatever which the universities or governments got on the original research that made micro chips possible. The problem is that there's an extremely long time between the science (Quantum mechanics at the turn of the century) and the engineering (transistors in the 1950's and microchips in the 1960s and 1970's)

            Ok, it
            • by Rich0 (548339) on Monday June 18, 2007 @06:45AM (#19548693) Homepage
              I tend to doubt this would work. The costs of these projects are astronomical - so in order to recoup them the license costs would have to be VERY high. And the way people are treating drug patents these days, who is going to want to invest $5B in solving the energy crisis when the American public is probably going to just given them a token compulsory license fee instead of the 10% tax on all energy use for a decade that the invention might be worth?

              These are very long-term, high-risk investments. Unless the payoff is large and likely to happen, you won't see private investment. That doesn't mean that we can't try to encourage this, but until lots of people are already making money off of this kind of investment you're not going to see a lot of private cash flowing in...
            • by volkris (694)
              It just wouldn't work for a variety of reasons, and in the end you'd have a situation where instead of encouraging research as intended it's just kept away from those not paying.
            • Alternatively, we can get people to finance that kind of research as a consortium. Like some kind of entity gathering the money, and distributing it to researchers...

              There are oly upsides! The reseacher gets the money now, so he can eat and pay the bills now, not just 100 years down the road. There is much less risk involved, so the amount of money can be reduced acordingly. People are free to use those results, without asking for permission from hundreds of Newton's* offspring...

              * Maybe not the best exam

            • by salec (791463)

              There should be some sort of ultra long term intellectual property device that allows for the innovation to pay for the research.
              There indeed is and it is called "tax": Government funds research, research brings knowledge, knowledge creates wealth, government takes the cut in wealth.
          • Some other places attribute the quote to "Geoff Nicholson, Former VP, 3M Company".

            It's too late at night for me to delve further though, and I got an essay to write.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by sco08y (615665)
            And a supercollider is the transformation of a hell of a lot of money into blinky little puffs of light.
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)
          Yet. There's no practical upshot yet. Pure research has a habit of being very, very useful, a couple of decades down the road.
        • by acvh (120205)
          Confirms the Standard Model.. again.

          More like, "confirms that the Standard Model can be used to make predictions about the Standard Model."

          Takes us one more step closer to a Grand Unified Theory.

          No. You can look at strong force/weak force interactions forever, and never see gravity.

          • by samkass (174571)
            Confirms the Standard Model.. again.

            More like, "confirms that the Standard Model can be used to make predictions about the Standard Model."


            Complete internal consistency is one nice aspect of any model, and something I don't think any of the Standard Model's alternatives have achieved.
      • by erareno (1103509)

        Although protons and neutrons make up the majority of known matter today, baryons composed of heavier quarks, including the cascade b, were abundant soon after the Big Bang at the beginning of the universe.

        So I'm gonna guess that we're getting closer to re-creating the big bang as a result of discovering this particle?

        It would be interesting if they could find this stuff in our everyday environment, but I guess you can't have a big bang everyday, now can you?

        • by qbwiz (87077) *

          So I'm gonna guess that we're getting closer to re-creating the big bang as a result of discovering this particle?


          Personally, I'd rather not recreate the Big Bang. I'm pretty happy with the one we have, really.

          On the other hand, recreating the conditions right after the Big Bang should be fine.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by zahl2 (821572)
        http://dorigo.wordpress.com/2007/06/10/cascade-b-b aryons-in-the-bag/ [wordpress.com]

        ...it is a very nice new bit of evidence that our understanding of heavy hadrons (particles composed of quarks, one of which a b or a c) is very accurate. The particles, yielding a signal whose significance exceeds seven standard deviations, have a mass in perfect agreement with theoretical expectations.

        http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2007/jun/14/uta-fe rmilab-physicists-discover-triple-scoop-bary/ [pegasusnews.com]

        Its discovery and the measurement of

      • by Old Wolf (56093)
        From TFA, studying its decay helps to learn about the properties of the strong nuclear force [wikipedia.org], the force that binds quarks together to form protons and neutrons (and other things). The mechanics of it are not well understood; there are theories but more experimental evidence to confirm them and refine them is needed. A new particle provides new angles on strong-force interactions.
    • by bl8n8r (649187)
      "made of a down, a strange and bottom quark"

      Just when I thought slashdot couldn't get any geekier....
    • BSD (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mu22le (766735)
      Apparently nobody notice that the particle discovered at Fermilab is the BSD (as in Bottom Strange Down)

      (and yes, I know that you should not identify a baryon only by its quark content but... :)
  • Who was it who said, "People always 'discover' Higgs particles when funding is low."
    • Who was it who said, "People always 'discover' Higgs particles when funding is low."
      So then - theoretically at least - we must keep the funding low to get to keep getting lots of cool discoveries. Just think about it - give every scientist a penny budget and they should then be able to 'discover' something; just think of the 100's of millions of discoveries we could get out of a million dollars that way...

      Now if only it were true...and realistic...
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:45AM (#19546933)
    "I don't understand a word you just said."
  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:47AM (#19546943)

    This is the first particle ever seen that is made up of quarks representing all three quark families.
    That being said, they should keep in mind the following Ferengi Rules of Acquisition during their research:

    6 - Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity

    111 - Treat people in your debt like family... exploit them.
  • I still think the moon is made of cheese and that everything I see is composed of red, green and blue
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In the test chamber!
  • Cue the AYB jokes...
  • by jpflip (670957) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:55AM (#19546999)
    The article describes a new particle with a mass a bit over 5 GeV. This is interesting, but is very different from the supposed resonance at ~180 GeV appearing in the rumors from the Tevatron. It seems pretty unlikely these are related. We'll still have to wait and hear from Dzero on the original rumors (probably just an analysis issue).
    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:31AM (#19547431) Journal
      That sounds like an awesome pick-up line. Mind if I use it some time?
      • "That sounds like an awesome pick-up line. Mind if I use it some time?"

        The great thing about that pick-up line is you won't be burdened with figuring out how to explain that to your kids.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:36AM (#19547459)

      The article describes a new particle with a mass a bit over 5 GeV. This is interesting, but is very different from the supposed resonance at ~180 GeV appearing in the rumors from the Tevatron. It seems pretty unlikely these are related. We'll still have to wait and hear from Dzero on the original rumors (probably just an analysis issue).
      Your post reminds me of a typical Star Trek episode.
      1. Data uses some big word for particle of the week that nobody's heard of
      2. Someone says, "What?"
      3. Data repeats the word and proceeds to explain it
      4. Nerds everywhere nod in mystifed agreement with the cool scientific complexity of the future, and
      5. This weeks show is a success.
      • by jpflip (670957) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:33AM (#19550499)
        Fair enough - it was late and I threw in a bit of jargon there :) A bit of explanation:

        (1) 1 GeV is approximately the proton mass, so this new particle is a bit over 5x the proton mass

        (2) "Resonance" in this case means a feature in their data that looks like a new particle. When analyzing data from an accelerator, you basically add up the energies of all the particles coming out of a collision and histogram the result for a lot of collisions. If you see a peak in the histogram, it may mean that something interesting is happening at collisions of a particular energy, and such a peak is a signature that a particle is being created. The rumors related to a peak at ~180 GeV, which means it probably isn't the same peak that led to the discovery of the 5 GeV "cascade B" mentioned in this article.

        (3) Dzero (or D0) is one of the two major detectors at the Tevatron particle accelerator (the other is CDF). They are the source of the rumors and of this new discovery.

        (4) I say this is probably an "analysis issue", in that the 180 GeV feature could turn out to be an analysis mistake. It's probably being rechecked extensively by the folks working on Dzero, and they'll eventually let us know if it's real.
        • by njh (24312)
          /me nods in mystifed agreement with the cool scientific complexity of the future.
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:15AM (#19547105)
    physicists at Fermilab have discovered a new heavy particle called the Cascade B.

    Splendid! Now all I have to do is feed this into our generators, reverse the polarity of our schields, and our enemies are history. Muahahahah!
    • this is the first step for the Q bomb.
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      Splendid! Now all I have to do is feed this into our generators, reverse the polarity of our schields, and our enemies are history. Muahahahah!

      I had no idea there were Yiddish starships...
    • by jd (1658)
      Look. Gold has a value determined by mass, not by quantity. This particle is five times more massive than the particle it would replace. Sure, it'll be short-lived and will have weird electrical properties (as it would need positrons to orbit a nucleus built from Cascade B to get it to a neutral charge), but so long as they've handed you the money, why should you care if it spontaneously decomposes into its component quarks? I can't think of a better way to hide the evidence.
  • Three more years... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stox (131684) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:41AM (#19547249) Homepage
    and that's it. Fermilab has nothing scheduled past then, and will have passed the torch to the LHC. I admit it, I am biased, having worked at Fermilab, but I find this to be tragic. Nowhere else have I had the opportunity to work with such an incredible group of people. Closing Fermilab will be an incredible loss to this country. I can only hope that the International Linear Collider will be built, and will be built at Fermilab. Time will tell.

    Congratulations to the folks at DZero on yet another fine piece of work!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moosesocks (264553)
      From what I understood, there were Neutrino experiments scheduled to run at Fermilab until 2012 at least. Sure, with the LHC operational, it doesn't make much sense to continue the search for the Higgs at Fermilab, but that doesn't mean that other meaningful research isn't going on there.

      That also said, it's very important to have two large colliders operational at once, as an observation recorded at *both* would be considerably more significant. The US really needs to get its head back into the game when
  • by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:43AM (#19547257) Journal

    The article describes a new particle with a mass a bit over 5 GeV. This is interesting, but is very different from the supposed resonance at ~180 GeV appearing in the rumors from the Tevatron. It seems pretty unlikely these are related.
    I would imagine that there is some sort of resonance phenomenon going on here. [any particle physicists know if this is even remotely accurate?] something else that is interesting about it is that we are just now finding a particle with a mass of about 6 GEV and we have particle accelerators capable of creating something over a hundred times that massive; so why now? why is it that the particle formation cross-section is so low? does the standard model have anything to say about this?
    • by mako1138 (837520)
      Well, it's not like we didn't know it existed. This just props up the Standard Model some more.

      Though this particle is "only" 6 GeV, it certainly is a rather rare process -- 15 candidates in five years of running. They've probably found far more top quarks. Why is it so rare? My guess is: because it contains a down quark, a bottom quark, and a strange quark, which is a unique and relatively heavy combination.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lord Ender (156273)

      does the standard model have anything to say about this?
      The standard model says he wants you to stop anthropomorphizing him.
  • Cascade B (Score:5, Funny)

    by k4_pacific (736911) <k4_pacific@yaCOUGARhoo.com minus cat> on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:40AM (#19547471) Homepage Journal
    From what I understand, Cascade B was discovered when a beam of high energy particles was directed at a plate with dried spaghetti crusted on it. The scientists found that the Cascade B removed the dried on food and left no water spots. Further research is needed to determine if Cascade B can be adapted for use in existing dishwashers.
    • Hopefully, the LHC will be able to find the elusive Jet Dry particle, so we can finally get our superconducting magnets to dry without water spots.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by FiloEleven (602040)

      ...with dried spaghetti...
      I am SO SICK of you FSM loonies hijacking our rational scientific discussions to push your Pastafarian agenda! Every time some new discovery comes up, you guys aren't far behind, spouting about great noodly appendages and whatnot. Mod parent down to avoid yet another stupid creati--er, spaghetti vs. science flamewar! ...oh, you meant regular spaghetti? My bad.

  • by hweimer (709734) on Monday June 18, 2007 @03:14AM (#19547667) Homepage
    This is completely unrelated to the search for the Higgs boson. While the Higgs is believed to be the elementary particle responsible for giving mass to all other particles, the Xi_b mentioned here is a composite particle consisting of three previously known quarks. So while it is good to know that the particle really exists as predicted by the standard model, this is definitely not the Nobel prize physics the discovery of the Higgs would be.
    • Yes, it is completely not related to the Higgs. The person writing the gist should have consulted with a physicist or someone before writing it! This particle is at 9GeV and the Higgs is at least at 114GeV. That's quite far away in energy...

      The supposed Higgs signal seen at D0 is an excess of H->bb events around 160-180GeV. There is a bump, of fairly high significance, about 4sigma deviations from the calculated background, but the background is not well-understood and this will probably turn out to be
  • by porttikivi (93246) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @03:33AM (#19547775)
    I am pretty sure the scientists at Black Mesa were discussing a danger of "resonance cascade" just before the tests with teir anomalous materials caused the dimensional outbreak... So we better leave this Cascade B stuff alone. The Freeman recovered us from the Cascade A, but we might not be so lucky this time. And what exactly caused the alternative future events in City 17?
  • Something other? (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by mapkinase (958129)

    The odds of the observed signal being due to something other than the cascade b are estimated to be one in 30 million.
    "Something other"?
    • by mapkinase (958129)

      The significance of the observed signal is 5.5 sigmas, equivalent to a probability of 3.3 X 10^{-8} of it arising from a background fluctuation.
      "Background fluctuation" or "something other"? Can't decide?
      • by heinousjay (683506) on Monday June 18, 2007 @05:55AM (#19548457) Journal
        I hate to interrupt your conversation with yourself, but could you get to the point, please?
      • by rumith (983060)

        "Background fluctuation" or "something other"? Can't decide?

        In this case, these two terms are interchangeable.

        • Suppose you have an alternative process with a signature similar to the one you're seeking within your precision limit. You calculate the probabilities of both and decided that the second one is X orders of magnitude less probable.
        • And now compare it with the probability of a process normally not within the scope you seek, but which is close enough and besides is pretty probable to happen. Now, calculate the probability of it producing a signature close
        • by mapkinase (958129)

          And now compare it with the probability of a process normally not within the scope you seek, but which is close enough and besides is pretty probable to happen. Now, calculate the probability of it producing a signature close to the one you seek, and see how many times less probable it is than your primary channel of reaction.

          Well, the problem is in defining what is "background". When you calculate the probability you have a model of what background should be. When in "modern physics" (of which "I have no i

          • by rumith (983060)
            There is no "measurable background"; experimental results rarely can tell signal from noise. You just have a ton of homogenous data [for each channel], and have to develop a model or pick an existing one to explain it. The model allows you to say "this is what we seek, and this is something we're not interested in".
            The assumption that you can declare the data measured while the beam was off to be equal to the background noise of your experiment is incorrect. The beam may generate a lot of different stuff,
  • Physicists of the DZero experiment at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered a new heavy particle, the b (pronounced "zigh sub b") baryon..

    So now instead of

    *sigh* goes back to watching pr0n

    we will get

    *zigh* goes back to watching pr0n

    Any other ramifications other than standard model verification?
  • Obviously, the long sought after Cascade Bitter [wikipedia.org] particle. I guess physicists must be pretty desperate to find a good beer these days. Though shelling out for a particle accelerator just so you can get some beer money seems pretty inefficient.

    • shelling out for a particle accelerator just so you can get some beer money seems pretty inefficient

      No, they needed it to split the beer atoms [wikipedia.org]. Back tassie they just do it with a chisel.

  • not the higgs (Score:4, Informative)

    by kakapo (88299) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:21AM (#19549257)
    This particle is not related to the rumored detection of the Higgs. It is 30 times lighter than the unexplained resonance that is at the basis of these rumors.
  • Heim? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blincoln (592401) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:32PM (#19552353) Homepage Journal
    So does Heim's theory [wikipedia.org] predict the existence and mass of this particle with the same accuracy as the others in the Standard Model?

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