Preliminary results from two experiments suggest that something is wrong with the fundamental way physicists think the universe works – an opportunity with the field of particle physics both puzzled and excited.
The smallest particles rarely do what they expect when they spin around two different long-term trials in the United States and Europe. The confusing results – if proven to be correct – reveal a key problem that physicists use laws to explain and understand how the universe works on a subatomic scale.
Matthew McCullough, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, said that unraveling the mystery could “exaggerate our current understanding of nature”;.
A rule book called the Standard Model was developed about 50 years ago.Decades of experiments have been confirmed over and over again that the descriptions of the particles and forces that make up and regulate the universe are quite fair. On the sign until now.
“New particles, new physics may be beyond our research,” said Alexey Petrov, a particle physicist at Wayne State University.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab announced results Wednesday that there are 8.2 billion races along routes outside Chicago, while most people have had physicists monitor: the magnetic field around the fleeting sub-particles is not what the Standard Model tells you. This is the result of new research published last month from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider that found a surprising proportion of particles after a high-speed collision.
Petrov, who was not involved in any of the trials, initially was skeptical of the Large Hadron Collider’s results when it was first hinted in 2014 with more recent results that were more comprehensive. Carefully “
The point of the experiment, explains Johns Hopkins University theoretical physicist David Kaplan, is to pull particles apart and see what “funny things happen” to both the particles and the seemingly empty space between them.
“The secret is not only in matter. They live in something that seems to fill all space and time. This is a quantum field, ”Kaplan said.“ We’re putting energy into a vacuum and looking at what comes out.
Both results involved a strange, fleeting particle known as the miwon. Miuons are heavier relatives of electrons orbiting the center of the atom. But muons are not part of atoms, they are unstable and usually only exist for two microseconds. After being discovered by cosmic rays in 1936, a famous scientist was so confused that a physicist asked, “Who ordered it?”
Graziano Venanzoni, an experimental physicist from the Italian laboratory who is one of the leading scientists in the United States’ Fermilab experiment called Muon g-2, said from the beginning.
The experiment sent the muon around a magnetic track, allowing the particles to persist long enough for the researchers to look closely. Preliminary results suggest that the Mion’s magnetic “spin” is 0.1% higher than what the standard model predicted. That might not sound like much. But for physicists, that particle is huge – more than enough to raise the current understanding of it.
It took the researchers another year or two to complete the analysis of the results of all laps around the 50-foot (14-meter) track.If the results had not changed, it would count as a major finding, Venanzoni said.
Separately, at the world’s largest atomic strike at CERN, physicists bumped against each other there to see what happened afterwards. One of the separate experiments of multiple collider particles measured what happens when particles called cosmetology or lower quarks collide.
The standard model predicts that crashes of these beauty quarks are likely to result in the same number of electrons and muons, says Chris Parkes, head of the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment, it’s like a 1,000 coin flip. And received the same number of heads and tails, said Chris Parkes, head of the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment.
But that’s not what happened.
The researchers poured data from years and only a few thousand and found a 15% difference, with significantly more electrons than muons, said experimental researcher Sheldon Stone at Syracuse University.
Neither experiment has been called an official discovery, as there is still a small chance that the results will be statistically quirky, the researchers said, performing as many trials as planned in both cases could be done internally. A year or two to the incredibly stringent statistical requirements for physics to hail it as a discovery.
If the results are possible, they will leverage “other calculations made” in the world of particle physics, Kaplan said.
“This is not a nonsense factor. This is unusual, ”Kaplan said.
He explained that there may be some undiscovered particles or forces that could explain both of these bizarre results.
Or it could be a glitch.In 2011, there was a strange discovery in which particles called neutrinos appear to travel faster than light, threatening the model. But it turned out to be a result of a loose electrical connection problem in the experiment.
“We checked all of our cable connections and we did what we could to verify our data,” said Stone. “We are very confident, but you never know.”
Jamey Keaten, an AP writer in Geneva, contributed to this report.
Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter @borenbears.
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