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Could there be a new particle hiding in 1990s-era data?


From Jesse Emspak at LiveScience:

From 1989 to 2000, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) operated an atom smasher called the Large Electron-Positron Collider (LEP), in which particles were sent crashing into one another at near light speed.

A restudy of the data from the now-dismantled LEP collider could prove a hint or just a fluke.

When the original LEP experiments were done, the muons were produced in particle collisions (also called “events”) that occurred at certain energies. A graph of particle mass (expressed as energy, per Einstein’s famous E = mc^2) against the number of events per billion electron volts, or GeV, shows a peak at about 10 to 15 GeV and a long “tail” that trails off pretty smoothly to near zero. Given the known physics, Heister said, that’s what physicists would expect to see — that is, if no new particles popped up.

However, he found that the graph showed a “bump” at about 30 GeV. If it is real, it means that some mystery particle must have about that amount of mass (expressed as energy), Heister said. More.

It could be merely a statistical fluctuation but it does keep life from getting dull.

See also: Mathematics: “Particle collisions are somehow linked to mathematical ‘motives.’”  “There is a connection from nature to algebraic geometry and periods, and with hindsight, it’s not a coincidence,” said Dirk Kreimer, a physicist at Humboldt University in Berlin.

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