Physics puzzle could rewrite sub-atomic rule book

The preliminary results of the two experiments suggest that there may be something wrong with the basic way physicists think the universe works.

The smallest particles do not do exactly what they are expected to do when they orbit around two different long-term experiments in the United States and Europe.

The confounding results reveal a major problem in the rulebook that physicists use to explain and understand how the universe works at the elementary particle level, if proven to be correct.

Matthew McCullough, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, said that unraveling the mystery could “beyond the current understanding of nature.”

The rule book called the Standard Model was developed about 50 years ago.

Experiments conducted over decades have repeatedly confirmed that the description of particles and the forces that make up and control the universe have been largely noticeable until now.

“New particle physics, new physics may go beyond our research,” said Alexei Petrov, a particle physicist at Wayne State University.

“It’s fascinating.”

The US Department of Energy’s Fermilab announced Wednesday the results of 8.2 billion races along railroad tracks outside Chicago. For most people, physicists are worried. The magnetic field around the fleeting subatomic particles is not what the Standard Model should say.

This follows CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a new result announced last month that discovered a surprising proportion of particles in the aftermath of fast collisions.

Petrov, who was not involved in either experiment, was initially skeptical of the LHC results when the hint first appeared in 2014.

With the latest and more comprehensive results, he now says he is “carefully ecstatic.”

The point of the experiment is, as David Kaplan, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University, explains, pulling the particles apart and seeing if “something interesting is happening” in both the particles and the seemingly empty space between them. Is to find out.

“Secrets aren’t just living in problems. They live in something that seems to fill all of space and time. These are quantum field theories,” Kaplan said.

“We put the energy in a vacuum and see what comes out.”

Both sets of results contain strange, fleeting particles called muons.

Muons are the heavier cousins ​​of electrons that orbit the center of an atom.

However, muons are not part of the atom, they are unstable and usually only exist for 2 microseconds.

After being discovered on cosmic rays in 1936, it confused scientists, and a well-known physicist asked, “Who ordered it?”

“From the beginning, I was worried about physicists,” said Graziano Venanzoni, an experimental physicist at an Italian laboratory called Muong-2, one of the top scientists at the Fermi Institute in the United States. I am.

In the experiment, the muon is sent around a magnetized track and the particle remains present for enough time for the researcher to scrutinize the particle.

Preliminary results suggest that the muon’s magnetic “spin” is 0.1 percent away from what the Standard Model predicts.

It may sound less, but it’s huge for particle physicists, more than enough to overturn current understanding.

Researchers will need an additional year or two to complete the analysis of the results of all laps around a 14-meter track.

If the results do not change, it will be counted as a major finding, Benanzoni said.

Separately, at CERN’s largest atomic crusher in the world, physicists collide protons with each other to see what happens afterwards.

One of several separate experiments on particle colliders measures what happens when particles collide, called beauty or bottom quarks.

The Standard Model predicts that collisions of these beauty quarks should result in the same number of electrons and muons.

Chris Parks, head of beauty experiments at the LHC, said it was like throwing a coin 1000 times and getting about the same number of heads and tails.

But that’s not what happened.

According to Syracuse University experimental researcher Sheldon Stone, researchers scrutinized data from years and thousands of collisions and found a 15% difference with far more electrons than muons.

Neither experiment has yet been called an official finding, as the results are still unlikely to be statistical quirks.

According to researchers, running the experiment many more times (both planned) could reach very stringent statistical requirements for physics to praise it as a discovery in a year or two. There is.


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