Researchers working with the Large Hadron Collider were shocked to discover a mysterious collision that turned current particle theory on its head.
Physicists found themselves scratching their heads following the latest study at the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world. According to a report from Phys.org, a recent strange bump appeared in the LHC’s signal, prompting speculation about one or possibly two new types of particles.
The collision completely flies in the face of the Standard Model, the basis of the majority of particle physics theories. According to Adam Martin, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, physicists began brainstorming informally about what the bump in the signal could possibly mean ahead of the official study’s release on December 15.
“It was so weird that people were forced to chuck their favorite theories and start from scratch,” he said. “That’s a fun area of particle physics. We’re looking into the unknown. Is it one new particle? Is it two new particles?”
The new study suggests four possible explanations for the blip in the LHC data. One theory is that a new particle, much like a heavier version of the infamous Higgs boson particle, caused the bump. While it would be groundbreaking to confirm the discovery of a new type of particle, further examination of the data may lead to a more conventional explanation.
While the data point has led to a large amount of speculation and theorizing, physicists remain hesitant to sound the alarm about the discovery of a new type of particle just yet. “People are still cautiously optimistic. Everybody knows that with more data, it could just go away. If it stays, it’s potentially really, really, really exciting,” says Martin.
LHC researchers will continue to investigate the cause of the data discrepancies, but it may be some time before the existence of a new type of particle is confirmed. Until then, the mysteries of the universe remain just that – mysteries.
A press release from Notre Dame describing the details of the recent discovery can be found here.