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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Technology News: Science: Tevatron Experiment Could Send Particle Physicists Back to the Drawing Board

Tevatron Experiment Could Send Particle Physicists Back to the Drawing Board

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Tevatron       Experiment Could Send Particle Physicists Back to the Drawing       Board

If the existence of a previously unknown particle is confirmed, it would be the first particle that does not fit into the standard model of particle physics, said UC Riverside physics and astronomy professor John Ellison. The standard model of particle physics is a theory of three of the four known fundamental interactions and the elementary particles that take part in these interactions. These particles make up all visible matter in the universe.

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Experiments conducted at the Tevatron particle accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois seem to indicate that a new particle has been found.

A paper posted on the laboratory's website Monday brought out this point.

Stripped of the scientific terminology ("the invariant mass distribution of jet pairs produced in association with a W boson using data collected with the CDF detector which correspond to an integrated luminosity of 4.3 fb....), it says there's a bump in mass.

That could point to a new particle, possibly a non-standard boson.

If a new particle has indeed been discovered, it would mean that most of our ideas about what is beyond the standard model of elementary particle physics are wrong, Lawrence M. Krauss, foundation professor at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, told TechNewsWorld.

The discovery "would be a very fundamental discovery in particle physics," said John Ellison, professor and vice chair of the department of physics and astronomy at the University of California Riverside.

Fermi Labs did not respond to TechNewsWorld's request for comment by press time.

Things That Go Bump in the Tevatron

The experiment consisted of banging together a proton and an anti-proton at about 2 TeV of energy, according to a blog post by Flip Tanedo on the USLHC website. USLHC consists of U.S. scientists participating in the CERN Large Hadron Collider experiment.

One TeV is the amount of kinetic energy a flying mosquito produces, so we're looking at the Small Bang here.

The collision gave off energy particles and excess mass. Apparently, the excess mass is not described by current theoretical predictions within the statistical and systematic uncertainties, according to the paper posted on Fermi Labs' website.

After plotting the data, a second bump was found that peaks around 150 GeV, Tanedo wrote.

One GeV is a billion electron volts. In physics, an electron volt is the amount of kinetic energy gained by a single unbound electron when it accelerates through an electric potential difference of one volt. The electron volt is not an SI unit, and its value must be obtained experimentally. It's commonly used with SI prefixes such as "G" for giga.

Deviations and Inferences Therefrom


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