Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Large Hadron Collider May Have Produced New Matter 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the news-for-nerds-stuff-that's-matter dept.
Covalent writes "The Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator and the 'Big Bang machine' that was used to discover what appears to be the long-sought Higgs boson particle (as announced July 4), may have another surprise up its sleeve this year: The LHC looks to have produced a new type of matter, according to a new analysis of particle collision data by scientists at MIT and Rice University. The new type of matter, which has yet to be verified, is theorized to be one of two possible forms: Either 'color-glass condensate' — a flattened nucleus transformed into a 'wall' of gluons, which are smaller binding subatomic particles, or it could be 'quark-gluon plasma,' a dense, soup or liquid-like collection of individual particles."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Large Hadron Collider May Have Produced New Matter

Comments Filter:
  • First post (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:04PM (#42109235)

    that matters.

    • by durrr (1316311)

      Speaking of matter: a wall of gluons sounds just like the ultra strong base material needed to construct orbital superstructures. Could anyone enlighten us as to the expected material properties?(let me guess: halflife ½ picosecond)

      • by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:48PM (#42109795) Homepage Journal

        Since it's made of gluons, it's probably very sticky.

      • Orbital Superstructures? Nah, vacuum welding is bad enough without adding gluons to the mix.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    No comments, as no one here actually knows anything on the subject. Soon to be FULL of comments, by people passing themselves off as actually being subject matter experts on the topic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a matter of fact, I am an expert on this topic.

      • by jdray (645332) *

        So, can you fill us in? What are the implications of such discoveries? Or is this another one of those things that happen (a happy accident) with no real consequence besides filling up a few research papers?

        • by Xerxes314 (585536) <clebsch_gordan@yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:01PM (#42111797)
          Well, it's just cool because it probes new regions of the parameter space (temperature and density) of quantum chromodynamics (the fundamental theory of the strong nuclear force). Knowing what nuclear matter does under extreme conditions teaches us new things about what kinds of matter that might exist in the cores of neutron stars, whether there could be more compact kinds of stars between neutron stars and black holes and what conditions were like during the first moments after the Big Bang. It also gives us more data to compare against the predictions of quantum chromodynamics, which will help us make sure that that's actually the correct theory of the nuclear forces. I can't think of any practical applications (say, to fission cross-sections or something) off the top of my head, but that doesn't imply they don't exist.
          • by lgw (121541)

            I don't htink there will be any "this generation" practical applications to anything the LHC finds - anything that only exists at LHC energy level is pretty far out there. Indirectly, however, particle physics was stalled for 20 years following the cancellation of the SCSC, and the LHC got it moving again. Fundamental experimental physics research always pays off in the long term, as it's our most basic understanding of the universe.

            Finding some serious flaw in the standard model, which is as crufty and a

          • by budgenator (254554) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:55PM (#42112341) Journal

            I think the coolest part is it surprised them, that doesn't happen to often to those guys.

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        As a matter of fact, I am an expert on this topic.

        As a matter of fact, I drove by a Holiday Inn Express once.

      • As a matter of fact, I am an expert on this topic.

        Confirmed. I am an expert in identifying experts on topics.

    • by Revotron (1115029) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:16PM (#42109363)
      Imaginary studies done in my head suggest a strong positive correlation between average time-to-comment (TTC) on heavily-scientific Slashdot articles, and the current Wikipedia loading times. Increased delays in Slashdot commenting can be attributed to increased delays in reading the subject's Wikipedia page to amass a sufficient arsenal of technical jargon and basic principles to pass oneself off as an "academic".

      Vanity, thy name is Slashdot.
    • by The_Wilschon (782534) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:37PM (#42109649) Homepage

      Let me 'splain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.

      So, when you collide high-energy particles, you get lots of outgoing particles. Sometimes more, sometimes fewer. One thing that you can do to study the outgoing particles is to look at all pairs of tracks in the event (the combinatorics get very large, but you can still do it), and make a histogram of how close together all the pairs were. When you do this, you find that there is a proliferation of tracks that are very close to one another. This is because the outgoing particles tend to come in clusters (we call them "jets"), all moving in approximately the same direction. This happens, more or less, because if you get one outgoing particle with very high energy, but it is an unstable particle, its decay products will tend to be moving in roughly the same direction as the original particle.

      Now, you can also do something slightly more sophisticated: instead of just looking at the angle (in any direction) between two tracks, you can use spherical coordinates, and look separately at the angular distance *around* the beamline (azimuth / phi) and the angular distance *from* the beamline (polar angle / theta) (although we actually convert the polar angle into a strange quantity called "pseudorapidity" instead ... this is unimportant for this discussion). When you do that, if you look at events with relatively few outgoing tracks (<35), you see exactly what you expect: an proliferation of tracks that are close in both azimuth and polar angle -- jets again.

      On the other hand, if you look at events with lots of outgoing tracks (>= 110), you still see the excess of tracks that are close in both azimuth and polar angle from jets, but you also see a "ridge" -- an excess of tracks that have almost exactly the same azimuth as one another, but have very different polar angles. This is unexpected, and unexpected results == SCIENCE!

      So, we expect particles to appear tightly clustered together, but what we see (in some events) is more like a flat spray of particles that goes from one beamline to the other, but is very tightly constrained in one azimuthal slice.

      Terrible analogy: We expect cities to occupy a roughly circular area of the earth's surface -- tightly constrained in both latitude (polar angle) and longitude (azimuth). This is like finding a planet that has a city that stretches from pole to pole, but only along a single meridian -- tightly constrained in longitude but totally unconstrained in latitude. It's just plain weird.

      • Oh enough on this, where is the car analogy guy when you need it?!

        • Oh enough on this, where is the car analogy guy when you need it?!

          Based on what I got out of the summary, the basic car analogy would be that a lot of cars exploded, and now the crime scene investigators are trying to figure out if the cars went "KABOOOOM!"

          *smashes hands into each other a few times, than slowly spreads them out like a fireball from an movie-style car crash explosion*

          or "KERBLAM!!!"

          *makes the same hand wavy motions, but adds in some slow motion facial expressions of people getting into an accident*

          They're not sure which it is yet.

        • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:24PM (#42110833) Homepage Journal

          Oh enough on this, where is the car analogy guy when you need it?!

          Two cars collided head-on and all the debris, blood, fluids, and remains lined up in a 2' wide straight line at a 104 degree angle to the collision. This was not the expected outcome.

      • by Zephyn (415698) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:03PM (#42110619)

        Let me 'splain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.

        We've discovered the Dread Particle Roberts?

      • This happens, more or less, because if you get one outgoing particle with very high energy, but it is an unstable particle, its decay products will tend to be moving in roughly the same direction

        Not really - the particles (quarks or gluons in this case) can be perfectly stable. The problem is that the colour field that surrounds them acts like a really, really strong electric field. So strong that as the quark is blasted away from its opposite charged partner the energy in the field becomes so large that it is energetically favourable to create quark/anti-quark pairs and shrink the size of the field. This is why even up and down quarks produce jets despite being stable.

        This is unexpected, and unexpected results == SCIENCE!

        ...or a bug in your analysi

  • The matter is that stuff that comes right after Ununoctium - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ununoctium - and is usually only found dowsing.
    Or the stuff that makes makes homoeopathy work. And where aura's are made up from.
    Finally proof!
    Ha, I bet you wont find any disbelievers any more now!

    Now I think of it.... Blast! I always claimed that the paranormal cant be measured with 'conventional' physics... Now I am truly confused what exactly to believe...
    I'll be off to my tarot cards to see what I shall make of thi
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nobody expects quark gluon plasma effects!
  • New Matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:12PM (#42109325)

    I know its just the heading, but the whole "new matter" vs "new TYPE of matter" is kind of an important distinction.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by vmxeo (173325)

      I know its just the heading, but the whole "new matter" vs "new TYPE of matter" is kind of an important distinction.

      Does it *really* matter?

    • by Lucky75 (1265142)

      Haha yea, I was originally like "HOLY SHIT! One of the fundamental laws of the universe has been potentially broken? FREE ENERGY FOR ALL!"

    • I know its just the heading, but the whole "new matter" vs "new TYPE of matter" is kind of an important distinction.

      It depends on what the result is due to. Quark-gluon-plasma is really a phase of matter and, in fact, not really that new since it was discovered in jet-quench events at the LHC several years ago. If it is a colour-glass condensate then you could argue that this is a new type of matter since it is essentially something constructed out of gluons.

  • For everyone who got bored with the old one.

    But seriously. So what exactly is that "new matter". And, more important, why didn't it exist before? I mean, let's be blunt here, the universe is friggin' huge and I kinda doubt the conditions in the LHC are universally unique. And yet we never observed that kind of matter before?

    • by vlm (69642)

      And yet we never observed that kind of matter before?

      People focus on the accelerator, but what really matters is the detector. And now that we have a nice detector, lets get a high beam current at a high enough energy to make something interesting to look at.

      If you just want to look at high energy collisions, wait around for high energy cosmic rays. Individually some are much higher energy than any accelerator, but the equivalent of the "beam current" is ridiculous low, like two digit orders of magnitude lower.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)

      The conditions that the LHC can recreate are unique in that they are thought to have been present only during the Big Bang. As such, yes, this could be new matter that we haven't seen before anywhere else.

      And that's why the LHC was and is every particle physicist's wet dream: they get to see and play with the conditions of the Big Bang. Nothing else does.

      • Re:New matter (Score:4, Informative)

        by bunratty (545641) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:13PM (#42110715)
        That's not true. There are collisions occurring in Earth's atmosphere that dwarf the energies explored by any colliders humans have built. The LHC has been designed for a maximum of 14 TeV. Cosmic rays [wikipedia.org] can have over one million times more energy. That's one reason we're not concerned about the LHC creating a black hole that will swallow the Earth, because it would have happened naturally by now if that had a significant possibility of happening.
      • The conditions that the LHC can recreate are unique in that they are thought to have been present only during the Big Bang.

        Actually really high energy cosmic rays recreate LHC collision energies everytime they hit a planet, star or any other material object. There are not very many of them but they can actually exceed LHC energies by quite a few orders of magnitude. Some large scale cosmic ray detectors get to study these but in nowhere near as much detail as we get to at the LHC but they do have some really cool detectors to play with such as a cubic kilometre of ice [wikipedia.org] several kilometres under the south pole.

        So to answer the

    • Re:New matter (Score:5, Informative)

      by drdread66 (1063396) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:32PM (#42109581)
      There are two proposed explanations for the signal seen at CMS, and I'm not sure I would describe either as "new." The color glass condensate is basically a nucleus that is flattened into a pancake due to relativistic length contraction in the direction of motion at high energies. This flattening effect spawns large numbers of gluons (the particles that mediate the Strong nuclear force), wich in turn exposes all sorts of interesting effects. The quark-gluon plasma is a state presumed to exist shortly (say, 10 microseconds or less) after the Big Bang, when the universe's energy was packed into an extremely small volume. At high energies and small distances, quarks (the components of hadrons i.e. protons and neutrons) and gluons are thought to separate easily, creating a hot soup of strong force particles. As the QGP expands and cools, it eventually "freezes out" and you get a shower of normal matter particles. This, too, is thought to have happened after the big bang.

      Both of these conditions have been observed at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in the USA. The CGC was reported in 2003/2004, and the QGP in 2010/2011. So while observing them at LHC is exciting, neither is really "new." LHC's luminosity is much higher than RHIC's, though, so one would expect to be able to study both conditions more readily...
    • And yet we never observed that kind of matter before?

      Probably (at least this has been the case with a lot of accelerator discoveries, AFAIK) because you need phenomenal amounts of energy to produce these particles/states of matter, and while such energies might exist all over the universe, none of them are close enough to us (thankfully) that we'd be able to observe the (and this is the second reason) ridiculous short lives of these unstable particles/states.

      Muons created in the upper atmosphere by cosmic rays, for instance, only get as far as the surface whe

    • I think when scientists discuss a "new" X, it's generally understood to mean "newly observed" or "new to us". In this particular instance though, we don't even have to make those presumptions - because the claim is for a new type, which refers to our own arbitrary classification schemes. In this sense, it is indeed new, by necessity, because it is a classification we did not have before...
    • by slew (2918)

      As far as I can tell, this is probably not best described as "new matter", but perhaps more like a distribution from a scattering collision that was theorized to exist, but not yet observed (although there are debates if it has been seen before in other colliders).

      I'm not up on all the details, but as I remember it, there is a mathematical result from QCD (quantum chromo-dynamics) that scattering angle has a power-law relationship which varies with energy (or something like that). I guess they found some s

  • now I can fix my really old stuff

  • Just when NASA was needing some exotic matter [discovery.com], new ones are discovered.

    At least, until we are used to see them, this new ones will be pretty exotic.

  • At least the quark gluon plasma at RHIC in the US: story [cbsnews.com]
  • But i'm very happy with findings like these, if this gets us any closer to understanding the soup, maybe we can figure out
    the math for what happens inside the event horizon of a black hole. That will be a revolution. (har)
  • That can be handy

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:06PM (#42110641)

    Seriously. What could the matter be?

  • ..and he wants his Ironman 2 scene back.
  • I was expecting something that really mattered, like... the end of all matter, according to Time magazine (and others) in 2008. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1838947,00.html [time.com]
  • by jsepeta (412566)
    your mother's a gluon.
  • Is that a large hadron, or are you just happy to see me?

  • There was no need to build a particle accelerator to get new matter. I can go down to the store and get new matter. Actually, all I need to do is step outside. I take a jar with me, open it up, collect new matter and come back. OK, well, technically it's not new; but it's new to me and that's what matters. Pun intended.

    • by PPH (736903)

      I can go down to the store and get new matter.

      Sign at a local store: Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

Working...