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Earth Science Technology

Physicists Detect Whiff of New Particle At the Large Hadron Collider (sciencemag.org) 180

sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: For decades, particle physicists have yearned for physics beyond their tried-and-true standard model. Now, they are finding signs of something unexpected at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's biggest atom smasher at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The hints come not from the LHC's two large detectors, which have yielded no new particles since they bagged the last missing piece of the standard model, the Higgs boson, in 2012, but from a smaller detector, called LHCb, that precisely measures the decays of familiar particles. The latest signal involves deviations in the decays of particles called B mesons -- weak evidence on its own. But together with other hints, it could point to new particles lying on the high-energy horizon. "This has never happened before, to observe a set of coherent deviations that could be explained in a very economical way with one single new physics contribution," says Joaquim Matias, a theorist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. B mesons are made of fundamental particles called quarks. Familiar protons and neutrons are made of two flavors of quarks, up and down, bound in trios. Heavier quark flavors -- charm, strange, top, and bottom -- can be created, along with their antimatter counterparts, in high-energy particle collisions; they pair with antiquarks to form mesons. In their latest result, reported today in a talk at CERN, LHCb physicists find that when one type of B meson decays into a K meson, its byproducts are skewed: The decay produces a muon (a cousin of the electron) and an antimuon less often than it makes an electron and a positron. In the standard model, those rates should be equal, says Guy Wilkinson, a physicist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and spokesperson for the 770-member LHCb team. The new data suggest the bottom quark might morph directly into a strange quark -- a change the standard model forbids -- by spitting out a new particle called a Z9 boson. That hypothetical cousin of the Z boson would be the first particle beyond the standard model and would add a new force to theory. The extra decay process would lower production of muons, explaining the anomaly.
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Physicists Detect Whiff of New Particle At the Large Hadron Collider

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  • Bob (Score:2, Funny)

    by Luthair ( 847766 )
    Was that you? Go to the bathroom man!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Atoms are pretty big.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Superstring to a proton is like proton to the solar system. As Feynman said, there's a lot of room at the bottom.
  • by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2017 @11:51PM (#54261233)
    I can smell it.
  • Simulation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SumDog ( 466607 )

    If we do live in a simulation, I wonder if particle accelerators could eventually find the loose pieces that don't add up; the holes in the matrix.

    • The best evidence we have for a Simulation is the double slit experiment. If physics change just through simple observation, what other conclusion is there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
        Just replace 'observe' with 'interact'. No consciousness is required.
      • Umm no but thanks for playing. http://backreaction.blogspot.c... [blogspot.com]
      • If physics change just through simple observation...

        They don't, at least not in the way you're implying.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    62?
    And can you even accept that time travels forward? and since its just our measure of the passage of an effect, cause-effect must run forward in time? So you can't have particles going backwards in time.

    The only real difference in matter is plus and minus. Anti matter vs matter? Same matter, different charge. Different particles? Some combination fo charge.

    1. So take two particles. One plus, one minus.
    2. Spread them around in a simulation.
    3. They form spinning dipoles.
    4. The dipoles 'kick' each other and

    • Actually the latest things they've been putting out on the tests of antimatter is that is seems it's not exactly the same as matter but with an opposite charge. Indications are that it acts slightly different. They are still check those experiments over to try and make sure they haven't goofed up anywhere. You know, that whole increasing the sigmas bit.
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      The only real difference in matter is plus and minus.

      I skimmed through the rest but this was the bit that pushed you over the line into nutterville. No-one who knows what they're talking about would say something that asinine. The rest merely confirms it.

      I think you could honestly classify this under 'not even wrong'.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      So if you can build the world with just two particles

      If you look at string theory, there is only one "particle" -- the string. Maybe 2 if you consider open and closed strings as separate types of particle, but they're not any sort of equivalent to a positive and negative pair like you've suggested.

      why are there 61?...62?... 63.... 64...

      Because there are. There were hundreds before the quark model came into play which re-defined all of those mesons and bosons into just three quarks (later expanded to the six we know today.) And before that all the billions upon billions of things we see in the n

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:29AM (#54261443)

    ..over on physicforums.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/... [physicsforums.com]

  • by mjpvirtual ( 1353211 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:42AM (#54261475)

    A year and a half ago, a 3.5 sigma 750 GeV bump appeared in the LHC data. New physics was heralded and a hundred theoretical papers attempting to explain it appeared. It was a statistical fluke and disappeared as more data was collected.

    Now we're faced with a 2 sigma anomaly and the shouts of new physics are once again repeated. This is even more likely to be noise.

    Physicists have been predicting new physics for 30 years. It was a major justification for the promotion of the LHC project. Nothing has been found. There's a lot of desperation at work here. It's sad.

    For a good summary of all of this from a CERN experimentalist who called the 750 GeV noise, see Tommaso Dorigo [science20.com]

    • by getuid() ( 1305889 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @02:12AM (#54261505) Homepage

      "Getting desperate"?

      Projecting, much?

      I have news for you: this is not Silicon Valley stupid.

      Lack of "innovation" (i.e. new physics) is in itself a already good result. The LHC doesn't need any new shiny discoveries to justify itself. The very action of having looked for the first time in a certain place (or energy range) and having solid confirmation that there's nothing new to see would already be an outstanding scientifical result.

      And everyone at CERN knows this, as does any scientist worth their spit.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A lot of new research , knowledge and papers are coming out of LHC - you just don't hear about it because it is so esoteric. Hell even 'ancient' Fermilab is still operating and doing useful but mind-numbing-to-layman research.

      • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @03:22AM (#54261613) Journal

        Lack of "innovation" (i.e. new physics) is in itself a already good result.

        Not really. Lack of new physics means that we have no explanations for the myriad of things which need new fundamental physics to explain sch as what is Dark Matter? and why is the Higgs boson so much lighter than the scale of quantum gravity? By the end of this run in 2018 we will have covered about half the phase space that the LHC can reach and the high luminosity LHC upgrade will provide the other half...over the next ~15-20 years because increasing luminosity is not as good as increasing energy.

        This is not good news because it may mean that new physics is beyond the reach of the LHC and whether the world can afford to build a new, even bigger machine is far from certain. However we have zero control of the result - either the universe works in a way where there is new physics in reach of the LHC or it does not. So not seeing anything is far from a failure...but that does not make it a good result. Indeed I have always referred to it as the LHC nightmare scenario: we find the Higgs and absolutely nothing else which leaves a lot of unanswered questions and no certainty that we will be able to build a machine to find the answers.

        • So not seeing anything is far from a failure...but that does not make it a good result. Indeed I have always referred to it as the LHC nightmare scenario: we find the Higgs and absolutely nothing else which leaves a lot of unanswered questions and no certainty that we will be able to build a machine to find the answers.

          The next machine will be (would have been?) so expensive there's good reason to doubt anyone would pay for it regardless of what the LHC found that would grab headlines. I get what you are saying... results justify the spending... but diminishing returns are inevitable when scaling up the same experiment. We're going to have a hard time funding science that applies to daily life in the near-term globally... pure theoretical science doesn't need major discoveries, it needs new believers.

          • We're going to have a hard time funding science that applies to daily life in the near-term globally.

            You seem to be assuming that high-energy particle physics research can't apply to daily life in the near-term globally, but you cannot support that assumption. You can't know what useful technologies may come out of the new physics discovered until the new physics has been discovered.

            • I think the burden of proof would be on the person claiming that high-energy particle physics does indeed apply to daily life. The null hypothesis would be to assume that any given scientific discovery doesn't have near-term, global, daily life applications. Several people can successfully live their life assuming a flat earth at the center of the universe. Most can get away with assuming a spherical earth with constant gravity and no quantum effects. One famous American didn't even have to know how tides w
              • I think the burden of proof would be on the person claiming that high-energy particle physics does indeed apply to daily life.

                The exact same argument applies to this position: You can't know what the effect is until you know what the results are. Claims in either direction do not, and cannot, have any validity.

            • by lgw ( 121541 )

              Particle physics is becoming more distant from daily life as time passes. Not to say there haven't been some cool knock-off technologies from the work to create the LHC in the first place, but it's increasingly unlikely as energies increase that we'll discover something productizable.

              There are other reasons to fund science, of course, but the LHC wasn't exactly cheap. I think the best hope for a higher-energy collider in the future is if the cost of building it decreases due to automation/robotics. And t

              • Particle physics is becoming more distant from daily life as time passes.

                You're making the same erroneous assumption as the GP, that you can predict the utility of as-yet-undiscovered science.

                it's increasingly unlikely as energies increase that we'll discover something productizable

                Not if the product requires LHC-like energies to create, but there's no reason to believe that's necessarily the case.

                • by lgw ( 121541 )

                  You're making the same erroneous assumption as the GP, that you can predict the utility of as-yet-undiscovered science.

                  Flawed argument. If you can't predict it will be valuable, don't fund it all at. Burden of proof is on the person asking for money that there will be some ROI.

                  But then, I think you can make some predictions based on the trends from the past 100 years.

                  Not if the product requires LHC-like energies to create, but there's no reason to believe that's necessarily the case.

                  The farther away you have to go from the conditions we face in order to find unanswered questions, the less useful those answers are likely to be.

                  • If you can't predict it will be valuable, don't fund it all at. Burden of proof is on the person asking for money that there will be some ROI.

                    That's not really how fundamental science works. It usually takes 50+ years to become useful but knowing exactly which bits will be the useful ones or how they will become useful is completely impossible to predict. However in order to be useful at all you do have to discover something so generally we make funding decisions based on how likely an experiment is to make a discovery which will advance our knowledge.

                  • > usefullnes

                    Wrong gauge to measure fundament research by. It's about knowledge, in and of itself.

                    Any "useful" application with or without a "ROI" is a welcome distraction, a cherry on top, but nowhere near the core of argument pro research.

                • by Altrag ( 195300 )

                  you can predict the utility of as-yet-undiscovered science.

                  To an extent, you can. I mean there's always the risk that your prediction is wrong (and you'd never even know it,) but you can make some probabilistic arguments given the enormous energy and cost the LHC requires. I mean confirming the Higgs does exactly what? Makes Peter Higgs the happiest dude on the planet for sure, and makes a lot of scientists everywhere pretty pleased that their work seems to not be complete bunk..

                  But in terms of real-world applicability? We're going to need a heck of a lot bette

                  • Greater understanding of quantum physics means greater understanding of chemistry and material science. Observing potentially habitable planets in other systems gives us more understanding of planets in general, which we may find handy sometime.

                    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

                      Yep, as I said its still possible that something will come out of it. Just highly unlikely.

                      Of course as others have mentioned, the spinoffs are often incentive enough to consider the ridiculous scientific experiments. Countless things have been derived from and developed based on technology invented for the space and nuclear programs back around the middle of last century even though none of us are running around with personal reactors or living on the moon.

                      Similarly, development of the LHC produced a lot

                    • Knowing more about how planets work could be useful in countering global warming or other such issues.

                      Knowing about the Higgs means we know a little more about quantum physics, which means we'll be able to do materials science and chemistry a little better, which means someone might develop an exotic new material or chemical reaction, and that could become important. It's quite a few steps from knowing about high-energy particle physics to a better video display or whatever, but it's a plausible course

                  • I mean confirming the Higgs does exactly what?

                    It confirms the presence of a new, fundamental field in nature which is all around us. The last time that happened it was the EM field and that discovery has lead to a huge number of applications. You are absolutely right that manipulating the higgs field at the moment requires a huge amount of effort but in the mid-19th century manipulating EM fields was not so easy either (although still a lot easier than the higgs).

              • Particle physics is becoming more distant from daily life as time passes.

                That's not really true. Fundamental physics' applications are generally typically 50+ years away. Early particle detector technology and understanding is only just now becoming useful in medical physics with hadron therapy as well as detector technology being used in medical physics.

                Go back to the development of quantum mechanics in the early 20th century and it was ~50 years before this was applied to materials and led to the understanding of the transistor and integrated circuits. Even further back an

            • You seem to be assuming that high-energy particle physics research can't apply to daily life in the near-term globally, but you cannot support that assumption. You can't know what useful technologies may come out of the new physics discovered until the new physics has been discovered.

              My post is about the politics of getting a future collider approved. The opponents and competing priorities of that project don't have to prove it's philosophically impossible for that project to produce useful results. It's not implausible, and neigh, it's impossible for you to show that future promising cutting edge science won't be up against very highly irrational views of science, including funding for projects that try to prove that great-flood arks were feasible with pre-industrial technology, or tha

              • Which is why I say we need more believers of fundamental science. You aren't going to convince them with arguments like "you can't prove we won't change the world!"

                We're in agreement there. I misunderstood your previous post to be saying that LHC isn't going to produce anything that affects daily life, which we can't know. But I absolutely agree that trying to convince people to fund even larger projects with the argument that they might produce something practical is unlikely to be successful.

        • Dark Matter is old physics, well over a century.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You've managed to completely ignore the several other 2~4 sigma anomalies which all suggest violation of lepton flavour universality in B decays. This result doesn't exist in a vacuum. If it were the only one, you wouldn't be hearing about it, just like the first few weren't news.

    • by Lord Crc ( 151920 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @05:56AM (#54261899)

      Now we're faced with a 2 sigma anomaly and the shouts of new physics are once again repeated. This is even more likely to be noise.

      From what I understand the main difference between the 750GeV bump and this anomaly is that the 750GeV was a single bump which did not have a nice-fitting theoretical explanation while still being compatible with existing measurements.

      This anomaly might only ~2 sigma so far, but it is ~2 sigma in several channels, so not just "one bump", and it seems one can rather easily and naturally extend the theory to match observations.

      https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.09189 [arxiv.org]

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      There's a lot of desperation at work here. It's sad.

      lol. Don't worry Donald, they'll be alright. This desperation is only in your head, after all. There was the small matter of the Higgs boson. The Higgs is about as new fucking physics as you can get, and is the newest physics for at least 30 years.

      Do enlighten us what would count to you as 'something'.

    • It was a major justification for the promotion of the LHC project. Nothing has been found.

      Naw, nuthin' 'cept for the Higgs boson and verification of its properties to a confidence level sufficient for most to accept the field as existing.

      Clearly the diphon excess means that nothing interesting will ever come from the LHC!

    • Actually journalists have been proclaiming new physics. Physicists have just been stating what they have detected. Happens all the time. Could be a mirage of statistical fluctuations or could be a new discovery. More runs will be needed in order to confirm. Standard operating procedure.
  • Wish (Score:5, Funny)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @01:46AM (#54261477) Journal
    I'll be honest, I wish I understood this, but I don't.
  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @08:21AM (#54262239)

    There's 73 posts and no mention of Professor Farnsworth's Smell-O-Scope [wikia.com]?

  • They make up everything.
  • ... the discovery of a loose cable.

Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. -- Russell

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