Have we discovered a new force of nature? New results from CERN

Have we discovered a new force of nature New results.jpgsignature857c0737b56b40a6b377df3419458a05

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) sparked worldwide excitement in March when grain physics reported strong evidence for a new physics - perhaps a new force of nature. Now, our new product, which has not yet been peer - reviewed, from Cern's gargantuan incinerator seems to further support the idea.

The best current theory of grains and forces is called the conventional model, which describes all that we know about the physical material that makes up the world. around us with uncertain certainty. The standard model is, without a doubt, the most successful scientific theory ever written and yet at the same time we know it must be incomplete.

Most famously, it describes only three of the four fundamental forces - the electromagnetic force and the strong and weak forces, leaving gravity. There is no explanation for the dark matter that astronomy tells us dominates the universe, and we cannot explain how matter came to life through the big bang. So most physicists are confident that more cosmic ingredients still need to be discovered, and studying a combination of basic grains called beauty quarks is a very promising way to find out. what else could it be.

Beauty quarks are basic elements, sometimes called bottom quarks, which in turn make up larger particles. There are six flavors of quark which are named up, down, weird, charm, beauty / base, and truth / top. Up and down quarks, for example, make up the protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus.

Beauty quarks are unstable, living on average just for about 1.5 trillion seconds before they penetrate other grains. Items or other fundamental forces can strongly influence the way beauty decays. As a beauty quark shrinks, it transforms into a set of lighter grains, such as electrodes, through the influence of the weak force. One of the ways in which a new force of nature could make itself known to us is by slightly changing the frequency with which a beauty quark reduces to different types of grains.

The March paper was based on data from the LHCb test, one of four large particle detectors recording the results of the LHC's ultra-high energy crash. (The “b” in LHCb stands for “beauty”.) He discovered that beauty goblets were shrinking into electricity and their heavier cousins ​​called muons at varying degrees. . This was a real surprise because, according to the standard model, peat is a carbon copy of electricity - equivalent in all respects except to be around 200 times heavier. This means that all forces should pull on electrons and muons with the same force - when a quark leaves beauty into electrons or muons through the weak force, it should do so. just as often.

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Instead, my colleagues found that muon decay occurred only about 85% as frequently as the electrical decay. Because the result is correct, the only way to explain such an effect would be if a new force of nature that pulls on electricity and muons in a different way hinders the way beauty is decline.

The result caused great excitement among grain physicists. We have been looking for signals somewhat beyond the standard model for decades, and despite ten years of work at the LHC, nothing has been found so far. So it would be very difficult to discover a new force of nature and it could finally open the door to unraveling some of the deepest mysteries facing modern science.

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    New results

    While the result was appealing, it was not certain. All measurements come with a degree of uncertainty or “error”. In this case there was only about one in 1,000 chance that the result was the result of a random statistical shift - or “three sigma” as we call it in parlance of grain physics.

    One in 1,000 may not sound like much, but we do a large number of measurements in particle physics so you might expect a small handful to throw up outside just by chance at random. To be sure the effect is real, we had to get to five sigma - corresponding to less than one in a million chances that the effect would be due to statistically significant flu.

    To get there, we need to reduce the size of the error, and to do this we need more data. One way to accomplish this is to simply run the test longer and record more rot. The LHCb test is currently being updated to be able to record accidents at a much higher rate in the future, which will allow us to make much more accurate measurements. But we can also extract useful information from the data we have already recorded by looking for the same type of decline that is more difficult to see.

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