Dec 16, 2015

Supercharged LHC finds hints of entirely new particle

Posted by in category: particle physics

Two separate teams of physicists working with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have identified signs of a new fundamental particle of nature. While hypotheses abound as to what exactly this particle could be — if it exists at all — the most popular opinion seems to be that it’s a heavier version of the Higgs boson, the particle that explains why other particles have mass.

“I don’t think there is anyone around who thinks this is conclusive,” one of the researchers, Kyle Cranmer from New York University, told The New York Times. “But it would be huge if true.”

After a hiatus of more than two years, the LHC was fired up again in June to continue smashing particles together — this time at record-breaking energy levels of around 13 trillion electron volts. (In case you’re wondering, an electron volt is a unit of energy equal to approximately 1.602×10-19 joules, and 6.5 trillion electron volts is twice the energy level used to detect the Higgs boson for the first time in 2012.)

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