New Particle Discovered in Illinois Collider?
by Chuck Larlham, GATHER, April 07, 2011 06:30 PM EDT
The new particle is not the "God Particle," as the popular press is wont to call the long sought "Higgs Boson." The physicists at the soon-to-be-retired Tevatron Particle Collider in Illinois think they have found a particle so new that it will change all of physics... or not. While tossing protons and anti-protons at each other at near the speed of light, the physicists at the Tevatron were doing an experiment for which they knew the results. As do all good scientists, they were trying to prove themselves wrong... and boy did they ever!
The results of the experiment are analyzed statistically, using a program that measures mass against the number of particles produced. The experiment is repeated continually with the same material until the entire miniscule mass of experimental material is used up. The result is always a near-perfect statistical curve, except for that odd little 'bump' in the data that couldn't possibly be there... but it was. It was the perfect "Now, that's funny..." moment that every scientist spends his or her career hoping for. The data and results are reliable to "three sigmas," a statistical term that means there's about one chance in a thousand that the "bump" is just a statistical anomaly. But this bump looks very real, and if it is... all of physics changes.
If this bump is real, all of physics changes because the only way this "bump" can exist is if it shows the existence of a whole new particle. And if it does, the only way that new particle can exist is if there is a "fifth force" in the universe. Physicists have been trying to come up with a "Unification Theory" for the known four forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. This one would be similar to the strong nuclear force, but operate at much higher energies.
About 20 years ago, a couple of Fermilab physicists predicted such a force, and a "slew of particles" to go with it. The science is just a tad esoteric for the non-physicists among the readers, for what the physicist called the "Technicolour Force." The upshot is that it may render the Higgs Boson unnecessary, but it will not provide the basis for a unifying theory that brings all the forces together. It will just make that effort more difficult.
Tevatron data suggests new, unknown particle—but not - Ars Technica
Strange Particle Created; May Rewrite How Matter's Made
FermiLab Physicists May Have Found New Particle - NYTimes.com
Exotic new particles reported found
Fermilab Physicists Have Detected A Possible New Particle or New Force