A handful of measurements of decaying particles has appeared barely off-kilter for years, intriguing physicists. Now a brand new decay measurement on the Giant Hadron Collider in Geneva has amplified that curiosity into tentative enthusiasm, with theoretical physicists proposing that bizarre new particles might clarify the outcomes. Scientists with the LHCb experiment reported the brand new consequence on April 18 in a seminar on the European particle physics lab CERN, which hosts the LHC.
“It’s extremely thrilling,” says theoretical physicist Benjamin Grinstein of the College of California, San Diego. The brand new measurement is “an extra trace that there’s one thing new and surprising taking place in very elementary interactions.”
Different physicists, nevertheless, are extra cautious, betting that the sequence of hints won’t result in a brand new discovery. “One ought to at all times stay suspicious of an impact that doesn’t present up in a transparent manner” in any particular person measurement, Carlos Wagner of the College of Chicago wrote in an e-mail.
Taken in isolation, not one of the measurements rise past the extent that may be defined by a statistical fluctuation, that means that the discrepancies might simply disappear with extra knowledge. However, says theoretical physicist David London of the College of Montreal, there are a number of unbiased hints, “they usually all appear to be pointing at one thing.”
The measurements all contain a category of particle referred to as a B meson, which will be produced when protons are smashed collectively within the LHC. When a B meson decays, it will probably produce a kind of particle referred to as a kaon that’s accompanied both by an electron and a positron (an antimatter model of an electron) or by a muon — the electron’s heavier cousin — and an…