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Science News

Fermilab Discovers Untheorized Particle 217

alevy writes to mention that scientists at Fermilab have detected a new, completely untheorized particle. Seems like Fermi has been a hotbed of activity lately with the discovery of a new single top quark and narrowing the gap twice on the Higgs Boson particle. "The Y(4140) particle is the newest member of a family of particles of similar unusual characteristics observed in the last several years by experimenters at Fermilab's Tevatron as well as at KEK and the SLAC lab, which operates at Stanford through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. 'We congratulate CDF on the first evidence for a new unexpected Y state that decays to J/psi and phi,' said Japanese physicist Masanori Yamauchi, a KEK spokesperson. 'This state may be related to the Y(3940) state discovered by Belle and might be another example of an exotic hadron containing charm quarks. We will try to confirm this state in our own Belle data.'"
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Fermilab Discovers Untheorized Particle

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  • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:06PM (#27273097) Homepage Journal
    Just a thought, if they want any more financing out of all this publicity, they should come up with a better name than Y(4140). Seriously, They are going to get some level of coverage for this, which they can use to try to get more financing. But if they stick with Y(4140), well it may not amount to nearly as much as if they called it say the Mystery Particle of Doom or something.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:13PM (#27273203) Journal
    Perhaps they learned their lesson from the whole "God Particle" thing. If I were a physicist, I'd be really bloody annoyed after about the third time some babbling moron, convinced that my work had theological significance, interrupted me. Nobody is going to interrupt the guys working on Y(1440).
  • Thank goodness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thanasakis ( 225405 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:15PM (#27273227)

    If we already had it all figured out, it would get pretty boring very quickly.

    Sometimes it is reassuring to know that there might be possibilities that we not yet aware of.

  • Re:Thank goodness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreatDrok ( 684119 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:30PM (#27273467) Journal

    "If we already had it all figured out, it would get pretty boring very quickly."

    Indeed. One of the great attractions of science in general is the fact that there is always something new to learn. The day you make your first discovery, solve a problem that has stumped other researchers for years, those are the days you live for.

    Other times, its the whole "that's funny" thing where you simply notice something odd and it leads you in a completely unanticipated direction. The primary difference between people who go into science and those who avoid it is that scientists aren't worried by being proven wrong about something (at least they shouldn't be) since it is probable that what you discovered is way more interesting. There are also those people who like to think they know everything that is ever going to be known and who will shun and deny knowledge that contradicts their beliefs. They just love when scientists find something they didn't expect because they think it means science is wrong. Fact is, science is always wrong about something and admitting being wrong is the first step to learning more. If you can't admit you're wrong, well, you're learning nothing and just consuming resources until something else consumes you. But I'm sure Jebus loves you so don't feel too bad......

  • by cheetah ( 9485 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:44PM (#27273671)

    Is this the second major hole in the Standard Model? I know neutrinos having mass is sort of a hole. But this sounds like a much larger break with the Standard Model. Anyone following this have more information?

  • by niklask ( 1073774 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @04:00PM (#27273901)
    I have to correct myself. This is not the upsilon meson, but it still is an established naming scheme and I still think that naming it some stupid name like "mystery doom particle" or something is just ridiculous.
  • That's ok, we don't understand gravity either. See http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Pioneer_anomaly [absoluteastronomy.com]
  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <deviladv AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 20, 2009 @04:32PM (#27274275) Homepage

    I understand that sometimes you have to "sell" something to the masses, but sometimes it's better to take the long way around and instead of selling it to them, work on educating them. There's a subtle difference. Marketing is jazzing up the name is marketing. Explaining it's significance and telling you what we could do with that knowledge is education. Education has a longer term significance, and encourages the masses in general to learn more. In the US the populace is getting less and less interested in becoming educated because we are too concerned with marketing and sound bites and what sounds good without explaining what is good.

    Besides, the words Calculus, Gravity, Physics, and neuropsychology weren't picked for their marketability.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @04:39PM (#27274357)

    . . . or does it make the LHC more dangerous?

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @04:41PM (#27274379) Journal
    Anti-terrorism, scare mongering is so 2008. Economic Stimulus is the new antiTerrorism. But I can't think of a better name than Hope.
  • by Gr333d ( 1485031 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @04:43PM (#27274403)
    So, there was this one guy who rephrased a word and more than 80 comments followed. None of those comments had anything to do with the actual news, just jokes and garbage. Is this slashdot nowadays? Trying to come up with the most original joke or comment. Or is it that none of the users here have any idea of physics!?
  • Or name it Y4w36

    hmm, maybe that wont work so well.

  • by Alinabi ( 464689 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:26PM (#27275839)
    No. Even if we did not find this particle and found the Higgs, the current model would still be insufficient, as it does not account for gravity. Moreover, the Standard Model deals with elementary particles, while this "particle" is actually a resonance, a shortly lived, bound state of several elementary particles. The mathematical concepts on which quantum field theory, in its present form, is built, are not very well suited for describing bound states, so our understanding of such bound states, within the Standard Model, is rather poor. Therefore it is no surprise that such unpredicted composite "particles" show up every now and then (this is not the first one, it is a fairly common occurence).
  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @07:29PM (#27275853) Journal
    This has nothing to do with the Higgs. All they have potentially discovered is a new quark bound state. The fact that it is not expected is also not surprising since it is fantastically hard to be able to calculate what bound states there should be.

    This is because quarks bind via the strong force and while we understand the principles behind this force what they imply is that at low energy the basic mathematical method typically used (perturbation theory) does not work because the force becomes so strong. Unfortunately nobody has found a real way around this so approximations are used and, not being fundamentally correct, these sometimes get things wrong.

    As a particle experimentalist it looks like there are two promissing approaches to really solve this properly. The first is using huge, massively parallel computers and a technique called lattice QCD where you divide space and time into points and solve numerically. The computing power has just recently begun to be enough to start producing useful, believable results. the other technique is a result of string theory that has shown that a really strong force like QCD is mathematically equivalent to a weak force (which can be calculated) but in more than 3+1 dimensions....so there might actually be something useful coming out of string theory sooner than anticipated!
  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @05:23AM (#27277749)

    You mean x264, don't you?

    XviD/DivX: The MP3 of video codecs.

As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie