In “Is ‘the new physics’ here? Atom smashers get a big surprise” (MSNBC, November 17, 2011), Clara Moskowitz reports,
The world’s largest atom smasher, designed as a portal to a new view of physics, has produced its first peek at the unexpected: bits of matter that don’t mirror the behavior of their antimatter counterparts.
Now researchers at the accelerator’s LHCb experiment are reporting that some matter particles produced inside the machine appear to be behaving differently from their antimatter counterparts, which might provide a partial explanation to the mystery of antimatter.
From the experiment, the researchers found a 0.8 percent difference in the probabilities that the matter and antimatter versions of these particles would decay into a particular end state.
Possible significance? If the result holds up, by the end of 2012,
… it would be a big deal, because it would mean the reigning theory of particle physics, called the Standard Model, is incomplete. Currently the Standard Model does allow for some minor CP violation, but not at the level of 0.8 percent. To explain these results, scientists would have to alter their theory or add some new physics to the existing picture.
With luck, “new physics” means new physics, not a further outlier of crackpot cosmology. Stay tuned.
See also: Just in: Faster than light neutrinos confirmed for now, contra Einstein
“Seismic” new paper on quantum mechanics?
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